What Is Ranch Water?

Three simple ingredients come together to make ranch water, your new go-to summer cocktail. 

There’s no shortage of options when it comes to tequila cocktails. And while margaritas, tequila sunrises and bloody Marias are always great drinks, on scorching hot summer days there’s one cocktail that reigns supreme: ranch water.

Legend has it that ranch water was first mixed by ranch hands in west Texas in the 1960s to quench their dry throats after a long day of work. Since then, ranch water has become a staple in Texas and can be found in just about any dive bar, cocktail lounge or poolside bar in the state.

What Goes into Ranch Water?

Ranch water is a simple cocktail that’s a mix of 100-percent agave tequila, fresh lime juice and Topo Chico sparkling water, served over ice. The Topo Chico is essential as it gives the drink a kick of earthy mineral flavor and tons of bubbles. Plus, many Texans don’t consider it a proper ranch water recipe unless the cocktail is made with Topo Chico.

The result is a cocktail that’s light, refreshing and free of added sugar or any sticky, sweet ingredients, so you can easily sip it all day long.

The best part, though, is that ranch waters are so easy to make. With just three ingredients and no tools needed, you can get a quality cocktail in a minute flat.

How To Make a Ranch Water Cocktail

Ingredients

Instructions

Step 1

Fill a highball glass about two-thirds full with ice. Pour in the tequila and squeeze the lime into the glass.

Editor’s note: Since it’s such a prominent ingredient, good quality tequila is important in this recipe. If you don’t already have a go-to brand, check out our picks for the best tequilas.

Step 2

Top the glass with chilled Topo Chico and give the cocktail a quick stir.

Step 3

Garnish the ranch water with a lime wedge and enjoy!

Make It Your Own

While a ranch water recipe is hailed for its simplicity, there are a few variations you can make on this refreshing cocktail.

  • Rim the glass: Add texture and sharpness by running a slice of lime around the edge of your highball glass and rolling it in some kosher salt or tajin.
  • Add grapefruit: For a cross between a ranch water and a paloma, add a splash of grapefruit juice to your cocktail.
  • Change the tequila: While white or silver tequila is the traditional choice for a ranch water, you can also use reposado tequila, or even mezcal. Here’s more on the different types of tequila.
  • Change the citrus: Substitute the fresh lime juice with lemon or orange juice for a different citrus profile.

Where to Find Canned Ranch Water

Canned alcoholic drinks—like the best hard seltzers—are a summertime favorite, so it’s no surprise several brands are canning their own version of ranch water for a ready-to-drink beverage. Here are our picks for the best canned ranch water cocktails:

While these cans are great for a day at the beach or park, they aren’t made with Topo Chico mineral water, so the flavor will be a bit different. Luckily, Topo Chico has its own line of hard seltzers with flavors like lemon lime, tropical mango, strawberry guava and pineapple.

Now that you know how to make ranch water cocktails, learn everything you need to know about margaritas.

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Caroline Stanko
As Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.