Ranch Water

Ranch water is a Texas-style tequila highball drink made with lime, tequila and Topo Chico! This bubbly cocktail is all about cooling off on hot days.

Ranch water

Move over, Aperol spritz. There’s a new bubbly cocktail that’s ready to take over the summer. Meet Ranch Water! Yes, Ranch Water is the unofficial drink of West Texas, essentially a tequila highball made with lime juice and Topo Chico. One of our dearest friends, a Texan, suggested we try this drink…and after one sip it blew us away! It’s like a bubbly, lighter version of the classic margarita, with all the tangy lime but less sweetness and booze. Could there be anything more refreshing? (We think not.)

What’s Ranch Water? Why is it called that?

Ranch Water is a tequila highball cocktail that hails from West Texas. No one knows exactly how it came to be, or even how it got the name. Some people say a Texas rancher invented it in the 1960’s. Whatever the case, Ranch Water was a word-of-mouth drink until around 2010, when bartenders in Texas started adding it to their menus. The ingredients in Ranch Water are:

  • Tequila
  • Lime juice
  • Topo Chico mineral water

Die hards of this drink claim it’s not Ranch Water unless it’s made with Topo Chico, that Mexican mineral water brand sold in the distinctive bottles. Of course you could make it with another brand: but Topo Chico seals the deal for us.

Ranch water

How to make Ranch Water

There’s really no science to Ranch Water! Because it was a word-of-mouth cocktail for so long, it’s more about vibe than anything. Really, you can use as much lime, tequila, and soda water as you’d like. Keep those bubbles on hand to refresh your drink, when you need it. Here’s the art to making Ranch Water:

  • Place 2 shots of tequila in a glass (3 ounces).
  • Mix in the juice of 1 lime (that’s about 1 1/2 ounces).
  • Fill the glass with ice and top it off with Topo Chico (about 1/2 cup).

What tequila to use

The better the tequila, the better the drink! Ranch Water isn’t the most sophisticated of cocktails, so we wouldn’t require pulling out the top shelf stuff. Try finding a mid-price range tequila: typically this correlates to the quality of the alcohol. You can use either tequila blanco (“new” or un-aged tequila) or tequila reposado (aged) here. The aged tequila has more nuance in flavor, and makes for a more interesting drink.

Ranch water

More great highball cocktails to beat the heat!

What’s a highball? A highball cocktail is a family of mixed drinks that combine alcohol with a larger percentage of non-alcoholic mixer. There are lots of famous highballs like the good old gin and tonic or vodka cranberry. Here are a few more highballs that are perfect for hot weather:

  • Vodka Tonic or Vodka Soda The easiest mixed drinks of all time! These two-ingredient cocktails are bubbly, and citrusy
  • Gin Rickey A tasty classic 1920’s cocktail featuring gin, soda water and lime.
  • Whiskey Highball Tall, bubbly, and all about the spirit! A refreshing way to enjoy your favorite whiskey.
  • Sea Breeze A classic highball that’s easy to make! Starring vodka, cranberry, and grapefruit on lots of ice, it’s ultra refreshing.
Topo Chico

When to serve Ranch Water

Ranch Water is a carefree highball drink that’s perfect for sipping as a:

  • Summer drink
  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
  • Birthday celebration drink (Happy Birthday, Dan!)
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Ranch water

Ranch Water (Best Summer Cocktail!)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (182 votes, average: 4.02 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Ranch water is a Texas-style tequila highball drink made with lime, tequila and Topo Chico! This bubbly cocktail is all about cooling off on hot days. 


  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) tequila
  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) Topo Chico or other sparkling mineral water
  • For the garnish: lime wedge
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice!)


  1. Add the tequila and lime juice to highball glass and stir.
  2. Fill with ice and top with sparkling water. Garnish with a lime wedge.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Mixed
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Ranch Water, Tequila Highball

A few more tequila drinks

If you love tequila, we’ve got a few more tequila cocktails to try:

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    Dalton Lee Gregory
    June 26, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    Tried this. My wife who drinks Topo Chico all the time, hated it. I had to add some simple syrup to it.

    • Reply
      Jake Imber
      November 13, 2020 at 6:32 pm

      1/4 oz of simple syrup did it for me.

  • Reply
    Chris Applen
    July 11, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    So I created the Cadillac Ranch Water (maybe it’s a thing but I haven’t found it anywhere). Just add Grand Mariner to the recipe.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      July 13, 2020 at 9:10 am

      Love it!

  • Reply
    Julie Corlew
    August 14, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    Husband and I just tried it. This drinks tastes like absolute garbage. 😂 And he bought really good tequila?! 😂😂 We couldn’t stop laughing it was so bad…it is so hyped up on the intranets that’s we ignorantly expected something magical.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      August 15, 2020 at 9:24 am

      Sorry you didn’t enjoy it! It’s definitely not a complex drink :)

  • Reply
    September 8, 2020 at 11:14 am

    Didn’t have Topo Chico. No Tequila either. Used Mezcal instead which gave it that smoky nuance. The ratio of lime makes this so refreshing. We don’t like sugary drinks so this is perfect for our tastes. Loved it!

  • Reply
    G Sandridge
    September 23, 2020 at 2:22 am

    This is a blatant rip off of Agua Preparada popularized by Mexican food vendors in Laredo TX, wtf is Ranch Water anyway? It sounds unappetizing.

  • Reply
    October 1, 2020 at 2:53 pm

    This was absolutely delicious! I don’t like sweet drinks at all so this was perfect

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