There’s so much more to Mexican cocktails than just the margarita! Here are more drinks that are worth adding to your repertoire.
There’s more to Mexican cocktails than the margarita! Of course, the Classic Margarita is a thing of beauty (as are its endless variations). But if you’re looking for other options for Mexican drinks: there are so many to try! Make sure to have a big bottle of tequila at the ready.
Just what is considered a Mexican cocktail? This list of favorites contains the following main categories of drinks:
Authentic Mexican drinks that are popular in Mexico, like the Paloma, margarita, chelada, and michelada
One of the most classic Mexican cocktails is the Paloma! This easy bubbly cocktail combines tequila with grapefruit to make a simple sour that’s sweet tart and refreshing. It’s perfect for happy hour drinks, or water it down and it could be a brunch drink too. The Paloma is traditionally made with grapefruit soda, but this recipe uses grapefruit juice and soda water.
Ingredients: Tequila, grapefruit, lime, simple syrup, soda water
Of course, the margarita is the best known of all Mexican cocktails! Did you know the classic recipe has no added simple syrup? Here's the classic way to make it: with three ingredients and a salt rim. It's true perfection. Try all our margarita recipes (Mezcal, Skinny, Jalapeno, Mango, and more).
The Michelada is a spicy Mexican beer cocktail made with beer, tomato juice, lime juice and hot sauce. Consider it a sort of combination between a Bloody Mary and a beer margarita! The best part is the glass rim: a mix of Old Bay, chili powder and celery salt brings a salty, savory flair to the front end of this refreshing drink. The flavor is just right for lots of occasions, from summer afternoon drinks or a Mexican-themed brunch.
Love a good margarita or Paloma? Here’s a Mexican cocktail that you’ll adore: the Cantarito! This tasty tequila drink is similar to a Paloma, but it’s got more citrus juices like orange, lemon and lime juice. Layer it in a traditional clay cup, and the effect is stunning: it’s a light and refreshing drink that tastes even better sipped out of a cold clay rim. Don’t have one? You can serve it in a highball glass too.
Ingredients: Tequila, orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice, grapefruit soda
Want a refreshing beer cocktail that’s as irresistible as it is easy to mix up? Try a Chelada! The Chelada is another type of cervesa preparada: a beer cocktail or “prepared beer” in Spanish. A Chelada features Mexican lager with lime, versus the Michelada which is like a Bloody Mary made with beer. Top it off with a salty rim and it’s ideal for anytime: a laid back brunch, cocktails on the patio, or a dinner of shrimp tacos.
Here's a Mexican cocktail that's an after dinner drink: the Carajillo! This cocktail is popular in Spain and Latin America, but it’s probably most famous in Mexico where you’ll find it made with Licor 43. One sip and you’ll taste sweet vanilla, chocolate and citrus notes from the Licor and the bitter, rich notes of the coffee. It’s truly a match made in heaven!
This Mexican cocktail is bold, it’s bubbly, and it’s ready to spice up your next gathering! It's not a traditional Mexican drink, but this tequila spin on the Moscow Mule is absolutely worth making (and might be even better than the classic). The way the bite of the tequila combines with spicy ginger and zingy lime makes it impossible not to immediately take another sip. Here’s how to make this classy spin on the classic.
Want to mix up your standard margarita repertoire? Try the Mexican martini! An American invention created in Texas, it takes the best of a classic martini and a classic margarita in the same glass! Like a good margarita, it’s seriously tangy, not too sweet and citrusy. Then it’s got a hint of dry vermouth like a martini, and it’s garnished with an olive.
And don’t forget that salt rim! It’s the perfect unique cocktail to impress a load of guests, or down as you inhale a basket of chips.
Here’s a variation on the classic Irish coffee, and it’s a stunner: Mexican Coffee! It's not traditional Mexican but a tequila-based spin on a classic, much like the Mexican mule or the Bloody Maria. Sure it’s basic, but it’s darn delicious. Mix two Mexican liqueurs into coffee — tequila and Kahlua — and you get an irresistibly delicious spin on spiked coffee. Top it with cinnamon, and it’s hard to beat.
Another non-traditional Mexican cocktail that's a spin on a classic. The Bloody Mary is a classic vodka cocktail, but swap out the liquor for tequila and you've got a Bloody Maria! This Mexican-style spin on the classic is absolutely worth trying: it's tangy, spicy, and perfectly seasoned. The tequila brings a bright nuance to the drink, where vodka can get lost.
Ingredients: Tequila, tomato juice, horseradish, lemon, Tabasco, Worcestershire, celery salt
What tequila to use
Many of these Mexican cocktails use tequila…because it’s the national spirit! Made from the agave plant, tequila is made in the region around the Mexican city of Tequila in the state of Jalisco. Here are a few notes about the tequila to look for:
Buy a good tequila! A cocktail is only as good as the alcohol you use. Look for a mid-price range tequila (or above): this is typically directly related to quality.
Tequila blanco (or “new” tequila) has been aged less than 2 months and has a strong, straightforward flavor. Use in easy drinks like a Frozen Margarita.
Tequila reposado (“rested” in Spanish) is aged longer, from 2 to 12 months. It has a more nuanced flavor, with notes of oak and vanilla. Use in classy drinks like the Classic Margarita or Cadillac Margarita.
Flaky sea salt & grapefruit wedge, for the garnish
For the Mexican Mule
2 ounces tequila
½ ounce fresh lime juice
4 ounces ginger beer
For the garnish: lime slice
For the Margarita: Cut a notch in a lime wedge, then run the lime around the rim of a glass. Dip the edge of the rim into a plate of salt. Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with 4 ice cubes and shake until cold. Strain the margarita into the glass with the salted rim. Fill the glass with ice and serve.
For the Paloma: Cut a notch in the grapefruit wedge, then run the grapefruit around the rim of a glass. Dip the edge of the rim into a plate of flaky sea salt. To the glass, add the tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, syrup and stir until combined. Fill the glass with ice (clear ice if you want to get fancy!). Top with soda water and serve!
For the Mexican Mule: In a copper mug or glass, pour in the tequila, lime juice, and ginger beer. Add ice and garnish with a lime slice. Serve immediately.