20 Cocktails That Goes Well With Tequila


National Tequila Day is July 24, so it’s only natural that we mark this somewhat dubious “holiday” by celebrating the world’s most popular agave-based spirit.

We all know about basic tequila-spiked cocktails like margaritas and palomas. But how about tequila in drinks that traditionally aren’t with tequila? From sturdy favorites like the martini and TRADITIONAL to fanciful build cocktails being whipped up at bars across America.

What role tequila play in beverages that aren’t typically contain with it? Relating to Johnny Swet, head mixologist at Skylark in Manhattan, it’s a match made in cocktail heaven.

“Tequilas are wonderfully complex with some amazing notes and flavors,” he says. “I often alternative tequila in cocktails that call for rye or bourbon. I tend to use metallic tequilas in juice and fruit-forward cocktails. But I prefer the aging of reposado and anejo as much as for stirred and boozy cocktails.”

Jonathan Shock, bartender at Detroit’s Primary + Proper, says tequila’s complex vegetal notes make it a solid substitute for gin in a drink just like a Negroni. Also, “It provides a rich and complex flavor profile while also having the grace to play well with other substances without bullying them.”

“It’s no surprise that tequila has had the most dramatic sales growth of any spirit over the last ten years,” says pub manager Kaitlyn Fischer at South Boston’s Loco Taqueria & Oyster Pub.

“I honestly think you can swap out tequila for almost any other spirit. Making maybe minor changes to other ingredients, and craft a great tasting cocktail. The versatility of tequila and its variance in taste profile makes it special.

From clean and bright blancos to anejos with a hint of smoke or caramel. That really promotes bartenders to be playful and think outside the box when coming up with new ingredients that mix with tequila. Almost anything is fair game.”

With that in mind, here are 20 common cocktails that are even better by substituting tequila for other spirits. Bottoms up, people.


Cadillac Anejo Martini – The Skylark, NYC – created by Johnny Swet

  • 2 oz Don Julio anejo
  • 1 oz Carpano Antico Bianco
  • 4 dashes of Chuncho bitters

Add all ingredients into a mixing glass and stir. Strain into a martini glass rinsed with Grand Marnier. Garnish with an orange twist.

Parkeroo – BlackTail, NYC – Jesse Vida

  • 1.5 oz green pepper-infused Cabeza tequila
  • .75 oz Don Amado mezcal
  • .75 oz fino sherry
  • .25 oz Falernum
  • .25 oz pineapple cane syrup
  • 1 Tsp yuzu cane syrup
  • 2 dashes Boston Bittah’s

Stir ingredients together over ice, strain into cocktail glass.


Dueling Sangria – The Regal, NYC – created by beverage director Steve Escobar

  • 2 oz Mezcal Joven
  • 1.5 oz silver tequila
  • 1 oz Berentzen’s apple liqueur
  • .75 oz peach puree
  • .5 oz grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 4 oz white wine

Combine in punchbowl and serve over ice.


Jalisco Sour – Hotel Chantelle – created by beverage director Steve Escobar

  • 1 oz Ilegal Mezcal Joven
  • .75 oz Blue Nectar reposado tequila
  • .25 oz Amaro Montenegro
  • .5 oz orange juice
  • .75 oz lime juice
  • .5 oz egg white

Dry shake, wet shake, strain over rocks. Add dehydrated lime and cayenne pepper as a garnish.


Rainbow Dragon – Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar, South Boston – created by bar manager Kaitlyn Fischer

  • 2 oz Cabrito reposado tequila
  • .5 oz triple sec
  • .75 oz fresh lime juice
  • .25 oz simple syrup
  • .5 oz orgeat syrup

Shake ingredients together, pour into cocktail glass and garnish with an orange wedge.


Hop Sea Negroni – Cassia, Santa Monica

  • 1.5 oz Cimarron blanco tequila
  • .75 oz Punt e Mas
  • .75 oz Cocchi Americano, citra hops-infused

Spray and rinse rocks glass with oyster shell-infused Union mezal. Serve on the rocks with a cucumber or salmon roe garnish, spray garnish with Union mezcal.

Jaliscan Spring – Milkwood, Louisville – created by Stacie Stewart

  • 1.5 oz tequila
  • .75 oz Aperol
  • .75 oz Dolin Rouge

Stir over ice in shaker, and pour into collins glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Blanquita – Prime + Proper (opening soon), Detroit – created by Jonathan Shock

  • 1 oz tequila
  • .75 oz Suze
  • .75 oz blanc vermouth
  • pinch of salt

Combine tequila, Suze, blanc vermouth, and pinch of salt into a coupe glass. Stir, and garnish with lemon and rosemary.


Burdeos Old Fashioned – Patron Tequila

  • 2 oz Gran Patron Burdeos
  • 2 oz Angostura bitters
  • Orange zest
  • Dememera syrup or sugar

Express orange zest into double Old Fashioned glass. Combine tequila, sugar, and bitters in glass. Add large ice chunks and stir ten times. Express second orange garnish over surface of drink, garnish with orange peel.

Oaxacan Old Fashioned – I|O Godfrey, Chicago – created by Nate Cayer

  • 1.5 oz cocoa and chili-infused Roca Patron tequila
  • .5 oz orange-infused mezcal
  • .5 oz agave syrup
  • dash of mole bitters

Combine ingredients and stir over ice. Strain and serve neat or over ice.

Tequila Old Fashioned – The Mixing Room at JW Marriott, Los Angeles LA Live

  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • 1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
  • 2 cubes sugar
  • splash of water

Muddle all into a mixing glass, add 2 oz Tapatio Blanco and .5 oz Tapatio Anejo. Stir and strain over fresh ice and garnish with an orange peel.


Distrito Federal – JIMMY at the James – created by Johnny Swet

  • 2 oz anejo or reposado tequila
  • 1 oz Carpano Antica
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Mix ingredients with ice. Pour into a chilled martini glass, and garnish with an orange twist.


El Mexicano – Temerario, NYC – created by Danny Vasquez

  • 1.5 oz Cocci Americano
  • .5 oz Cocci Vermouth Di Torino
  • .5 oz Aperol
  • 1.5 oz Espolon blanco tequila
  • 2 splashes club soda

Stir ingredients together, garnish with a lemon peel.

Boston Strongboy – Green River, Chicago

  • 1 oz yellow chartreuse
  • 1 oz papaya-infused El Tesoro platinum tequila
  • .75 oz Aperol
  • .75 oz lime juice
  • .25 oz kirsch
  • 2 drops hickory smoked salt solution
  • 1 dash fennel tincture

Build all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake and strain into coupe glass with one ice cube. Spray with tincture.

Pale Blue Dot – Dear Irving – created by Tom Richter and Dave Anderson

  • 1.5 oz blanco tequila
  • 0.5 oz blanc vermouth
  • .5 oz Quina D’oro
  • Half oz Fino sherry

Build in rocks glass, stir in big rock. Add two drops blue curacao. Garnish with lime disc.

Blood Orange Mule – Dos Caminos, NYC

  • 2 oz Don Julio blanco tequila
  • 1 oz blood orange puree
  • .25 oz lime juice
  • 3 oz ginger beer

Combine first three ingredients in shaker and shake. Pour over ice and top with ginger beer. Garnish with an orange wedge.

Spanish Cosmo – Sunriver Resort, Bend, OR

  • 1.5 oz silver tequila
  • .5 oz triple sec
  • .25 oz lime juice
  • 2 oz cranberry juice

Combine in cocktail shaker and shake for 15 seconds. Strain into chilled martini glass with salted rim. Garnish with lime.

Mexican Mule – Casa Vega, Los Angeles – created by Christy Vega

  • 1.5 oz Don Julio blanco tequila
  • .5 oz lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon agave or cranberry syrup
  • .5 cups ginger beer

Add ice to mug and pour ingredients in. Stir to combine. Garnish with rosemary leaves and sugared cranberries.

Monte Cristo – Nelson’s at Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

  • 1 oz Don Julio Blanco
  • .75 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
  • .5 oz Giffard Orgeat syrup
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz Meyers’ dark rum (float)

Stir ingredients together, strain over rocks. Garnish with lime wheel and banana chips.

Paco Martinez – Jimmy’s An American Restaurant & Bar, Aspen, CO – created by Jimmy Yeager cocktails

  • 2 oz Suerte reposado tequila
  • .5 oz sweet vermouth
  • .25 oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
  • dash orange bitters

Stir until chilled in a mixing glass, serve up (classic way) or on a BFIC (big fucking ice cube, Jimmy’s way) with an orange twist.


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