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Exciting Tequila Cocktails To Celebrate National Tequila Day

As if you needed another reason to drink tequila this summer, July 24th is National Tequila Day. While we celebrate this agave-based, Mexican spirit every day of the year, this Sunday is the one day of the year that’s all about tequila. Drink it neat, on the rocks, paired with lime and salt, or any way you like it. Just enjoy nuanced and delicious tequila this Sunday.

Whether you enjoy blanco, joven, reposado, añejo, or extra añejo, a well-made tequila cocktail is always a good call as the weather heats up. And while there’s no disputing the refreshing nature of a classic ranch water and the zesty flavor of a margarita, we suggest you try something a little more exciting this year.

To help you out, we asked a handful of well-known bartenders to tell us their picks for the best, most exciting tequila cocktails to celebrate National Tequila Day. Keep scrolling to see all of the sweet agave, fruity, and fresh cocktails. Though be warned, a few of these take some serious skill and bespoke ingredients. Choose your at-home tequila cocktail to try wisely!

Black Magic

Black Magic
The London West Hollywood

“Black Magic is the perfect drink for a tequila lover who loves a tequila mule but wants to take it to the next level. This drink is both refreshing and sweet (with the muddled blackberries) but also offers that little bite everyone loves from the ginger beer. The look alone is IG ready.”Matthew Cato, bartender at The London West Hollywood in West Hollywood, California

Recipe:

  • 1.5 oz. Don Julio Reposado
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • .5 oz. Luxardo Marachino Liquor
  • 1 oz. Turbinado simple syrup
  • 8 blackberries
  • 2 oz. ginger beer
  • 1 dash saline

Preparation:

In a pint glass, add blackberries and muddle completely. Add spirits and the rest of the ingredients, except the ginger beer. Add ice, and shake hard for 10 seconds. Double strain into Collins glass, and add ginger beer. Garnish with two skewered blackberries.

El Jardinero

El Jardinero
Kimpton Surfcomber

“This cocktail was inspired by the farmers’ intense desire of creating a cocktail that is as healthy and equally tasty with a kick.” – Fernando Velazques, bartender at Kimpton Surfcomber’s High Tide Beach Bar & Grill in Miami Beach, Florida

Recipe:

  • 1.5 oz. Casamigos Reposado Tequila
  • 0.5 oz. Cointreau
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 0.75 oz. simple syrup
  • red bell pepper
  • Serrano pepper
  • cucumber
  • spicy rim

Preparation:

Muddle slices of peppers and cucumber in a shaker. Add all ingredients and ice, shake, and pour over ice in a rocks glass with the spicy salty rim.

Hot Lava

Hot Lava
Jenna Murray

“The Hot Lava is in essence a spicy margarita that incorporates the classic Asian flavor combination of nuttiness and spice. The seasoning comes from a very specific Pasilla Chili distillate made by our friends at Empirical Spirits, as well as a bit of hot honey, everyone’s current favorite topping. This is rounded out with fresh pineapple for brightness and a bit of Spanish vermouth for texture and depth.” – Will Krepop, bartender at Wiggle Room in New York City

Recipe:

  • 1 oz. Blanco tequila
  • .5 oz. Mata Bianco Vermouth (Spanish Vermouth)
  • .5 oz. Empirical Spirits Ayuuk (Pasilla Chili Distillate)
  • 3 dashes toasted sesame tincture
  • .75 oz. pineapple juice
  • .5 oz. lime juice
  • .5 oz. salted hot honey syrup

Preparation:

Shake all ingredients vigorously in a shaker. Strain into a chilled glass. Enjoy.

Cyan-Siam

Cyan-Siam
Forsythia

“Sweet, sour, spicy, and bitter with a hint of salinity, this cocktail is a clarified milk punch, using coconut milk to create a mild coconut flavor while remaining light and easy to drink.” – Shawn Miller, beverage director at Forsythia in Philadelphia

Recipe:

  • 4.5 oz. tequila
  • 2 oz. Cynar
  • 1 oz. green Thai curry tincture (.5 oz. green curry paste soaked in 1.5 oz. vodka overnight and strained)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 oz. chai tea

Preparation:

Mix all ingredients, then add two ounces of coconut milk. The mixture will immediately curdle. Let sit for twenty minutes then strain through cheesecloth, then a coffee filter. Served chilled over ice. It makes three cocktails, but the recipe can be multiplied to make a larger batch.

Red Hot Mama

Red Hot Mama
Miranda Densford

“Whenever I think of tequila cocktails, my mind almost immediately goes to spicy. I love drinking tequila cocktails and enjoy it even more if it makes me sweat in the heat of summer. I’m excited to be working with a variety of pepper we grow here on Hermitage Farm. I challenge myself to use the same pepper for a drink in different ways (like pickles, infusions, salts, and syrup) to highlight the different textures and spice levels that pepper has. The Red Hot Mama has a surprising texture from the piquillo juice.” -Miranda Densford, beverage director at Barn8 Restaurant and Bourbon Bar in Goshen, Kentucky

Recipe:

  • 1.5 oz. Fresno pepper-infused Tres Agaves Blanco Tequila
  • 1 oz. fresh charred piquillo juice
  • .75 oz. ounce lime juice
  • .5 oz ginger syrup*

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake to chill and dilute. Serve over Kentucky Straight Ice, or a large ice cube, in a rocks glass. Garnish with a thinly sliced tomatillo and pickled Fresno pepper.

  • *Ginger Syrup ingredients:
  • 1 large ginger root (peeled and chopped finely)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water

Preparation:

Warm the water and add sugar. Stir until dissolved. Add ginger and syrup into a blender and blend until smooth. Let sit for 1 hour and strain.

PaLima

Palima
Bryan Canales

“The Paloma is a staple tequila cocktail. It’s refreshing and incredibly tasty. This simple three-ingredient cocktail is a must-have, especially on hot summer days. Delicious and easy to make, it’s a no-brainer. The key here is quality tequila and mixers with fresh pressed juice to give it the bright and balanced flavor that has made this cocktail a true classic and has upheld the test of time. The classic calls for tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda. This version, the PaLima, inverts the ingredients using fresh grapefruit juice and lime soda instead.” – Bryan Canales, bartender at Baby Jane in Miami

Recipe:

  • 1.5 oz. Tequila Ocho Plata
  • 1 oz. fresh pink grapefruit juice
  • Top w/ Lime Jarritos

Preparation:

Rim the glass, if desired, with salt or spice blend of choice. Build inside of a high ball or Collins glass over ice beginning with the grapefruit juice, Tequila Ocho Plata, and finish by topping it off with Jarritos Lime Soda. Garnish with grapefruit wheel inside of cocktail and a lime wedge on the side.

Wana Bana

Wana Bana
Rosewood Mayakoba

“This cocktail features the most famous Mexican spirit, tequila, but infused with lemongrass that adds an exponential flavor. We also add freshly pureed guanabana, a tropical fruit that carries the creaminess of banana with the kick of citrus. The combination is fresh, lightly floral, and very smooth.” – Joshua Monaghan, bartender Zapote Bar at Rosewood Mayakoba in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Recipe:

  • .5 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. Soursop Purée
  • 1 teaspoon agave syrup
  • 2 oz. Wana Bana Batch (Cointreau, Tío Pepe, and peach liquor)
  • Garnish: pasilla chili salt, small dry apricot, mint

Preparation:

Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake vigorously to incorporate ingredients. Add the pasilla chili salt to the rim of a small old-fashioned glass filled with ice, then strain in the cocktail. Garnish with the dried apricot and mint.

Watermelon Del Sol Margarita

Watermelon Del Sol Margarita
Rosa Mexicana

“We came up with the Casa Del Sol Watermelon Margarita as an ode to summer. Fresh, vibrant, and refreshing, with the vanilla and sweet tobacco aromas of Casa del Sol Reposado tequila, this combination makes for a delicious cocktail that is best sipped at the Golden Hour.” – Chef Manuel Trevino, vice president of culinary for Rosa Mexicano in New York City

Recipe:

  • 2 oz. Casa del sol Reposado Tequila
  • 2 cubed 2-inch squares of fresh watermelon
  • 2 pieces of fresh mint
  • 1.5 oz. organic agave nectar
  • 1.5 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice

Preparation:

Build a cocktail inside a shaker tin. First, muddle the mint and fresh watermelon together. Build the cocktail over ice with all mixed ingredients and shake vigorously. Pour it over fresh ice and enjoy.

La Mariposa

La Mariposa
Hawksmoor

“Our La Mariposa is both complex and refreshing at the same time. The combination of stone fruit and tequila works incredibly well and is all tied together with a little earthiness from the mezcal.” – Adam Montgomerie, bar manager at Hawksmoor in New York City

Recipe:

  • 2 dashes of saline solution (10:1)
  • 1 teaspoon of Empirical The Plum I Suppose
  • .25 oz. sugar syrup (2:1)
  • .5 oz. lime acid blend*
  • .5 oz. Merlet Apricot Liqueur
  • .5 oz. Del Maguay Vida Mezcal
  • 1.25 oz. Olmeca Altos Blanco Tequila
  • 1.5 o.z Fever Tree Tonic Water
  • 3 oz. club soda

Preparation:

Build all ingredients in a highball glass over a single spear of ice and garnish with a lime wedge.

*lime acid blend recipe:

  • .5 grams of kosher salt
  • 2 grams of ascorbic acid
  • 8 grams of malic acid
  • 20 grams of citric acid
  • 500 grams of water

Preparation:

Mix ingredients together and stir until dissolved. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.

Zona del Este

Zona del Este
Huntress San Diego

“This variation on an Eastside is the perfect summer refresher to enjoy for National Tequila Day. The light barrel notes of the Izo Cristalino tequila are complemented by the cucumber and mint. If you are looking to stay hydrated, this is the perfect tipple to sip by the pool or at your backyard fiesta.” – Joree Weatherly, IZO Spirits Mixologist for Huntress in San Diego

Recipe:

  • 2 oz. IZO Cristalino Tequila
  • .75 oz. lemon
  • .75 oz. honey syrup
  • muddled cucumber and mint

Preparation:

Add ingredients to shaker tin, muddle, add ice, shake, and fine strain into a coupe. Garnish with cucumber.

El Rey

El Rey
Costa Palmas

“The name was chosen after Jose Alfredo Jimenez, an iconic mariachi composer and singer that was named “El Rey” (the King) of the Mexican song. He was known for spending his time at the cantina drinking tequila, singing, and writing songs. The cantina is where he found his inspiration, so El Rey was the first cocktail that we created for our nightclub.” – Luis Fernando Garcia, mixologist at Costa Palmas Nightclub in La Rubera, Mexico

Recipe:

  • 2 oz. Santanera blanco añejado
  • 1 oz. Antica Formula Vermouth
  • 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • 1 bar spoon Luxardo syrup
  • 3 pieces of pink peppercorn
  • 1 Luxardo cherry

Preparation:

Add all ingredients to an ice-filled mixing glass. Stir until combined. Strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a Luxardo cherry.

Sun Clap

Sun Clap
Chinola

“The star of this cocktail is the Chinola passion fruit liqueur. It mixes perfectly with the tequila and the pineapple sage juice adds just another tropical element that makes this drink a crowd pleaser.” Aura Cocina in Brooklyn, New York

Recipe:

  • 1 oz. Chinola Liqueur
  • 1.75 oz. EL Tesoro Tequila Blanco
  • 1 oz. fresh pineapple sage juice*
  • .75 oz. turmeric honey syrup**
  • .75 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • pineapple wedge

*Infuse fresh pineapple juice with fresh sage for three hours; refrigerate and strain before serving.
**Add a dash of turmeric powder to honey syrup and stir until well blended.

Preparation:

Pour Chinola, tequila, pineapple sage juice, turmeric honey, and lime into an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a wine glass and fill with ice. Garnish with a fresh pineapple wedge.

Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu
Sama Street

“At Sama Street we are always looking for new ways to put Asian ingredients in cocktails in interesting ways. We draw inspiration from our travels and experiences and sometimes even from our guests. The original idea for our Lucy Liu cocktail came from one of our regulars, Isabella. Growing up Filipino, she always loved drinking lychee with coconut. We decided to use a pina colada template to showcase these flavors. Swapping the pineapple for lychee juice keeps the Lucy Liu super light and refreshing. We use a combination of Filipino rum, which gives a great vanilla note, and a blanco tequila that has been fat washed with chili oil. The resulting drink is refreshing, creamy, and has a little kick. Perfect for hot summer afternoons.” – David Muhs, head bartender at Sama Street in Brooklyn, New York

Recipe:

  • 1.5 oz. chili oil washed blanco tequila* (or 1.5 oz. blanco tequila and 5 dashes of a chili tincture)
  • .5 oz. Filipino rum (preferably Don Papa)
  • 2 oz. lychee juice
  • .5 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. Cream of Coconut

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients into a shaker and shake until chilled, strain into a hurricane glass, and top with crushed ice. Garnish with an Orchid.

*Chili Oil Washed Blanco Tequila preparation:

Combine three ounces of Chili Oil, one broken dried Puya Chili, one broken dried Thai Chili, and one liter of blanco tequila in a container. Let sit at room temperature for two hours while stirring occasionally. Freeze for 24 hours so that the chili oil freezes solid over the tequila. Remove the layer of chili oil from the top of the tequila and strain the tequila before using it.

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