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 One of the easiest mixed drinks of all time! This two-ingredient cocktail is bubbly, citrusy, and refreshing.
  • 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 (74 votes, average: 4.16 out of 5)

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

Description

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. 


Scale

Ingredients

  • 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!)

Instructions

  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.

1 Comment

  • 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.

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