Ranch Water Cocktail

4.99 from 54 votes

Ranch Water is the light tequila cocktail you’ve been dreaming of! This refreshing drink is here to help you cool off this summer.

a Ranch Water cocktail on a wood coaster

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Classic Ranch Water recipe

One of the contenders for the cocktail of the summer is Ranch Water.

Especially this summer, where the hot days have been many and sweltering.

Ranch Water is the light and refreshing cocktail you’ve been waiting for. (And I promise, there’s no ranch dressing!)

While Ranch Water is not a margarita, it is similar thanks to many common ingredients — lime juice and tequila, and simple syrup if you’d like some sweetness.

But there’s one ingredient that isn’t the same: sparkling water.

Most often people use Topo Chico, but the Ranch Water drink is a casual one. Use whatever sparkling water you like.

Why you’ll love this recipe

Bubbly and effervescent, the Ranch Water is utterly refreshing and I think you’re going to love it.

  • Ranch Water is a sophisticated cocktail and it’s perfectly light for a hot summer day.
  • It goes well with appetizers or dinner, or you can enjoy it solo on a warm afternoon or for happy hour.
  • There’s no hard and fast recipe. You can make it your own by switching up and adding ingredients.
the Tajín rim of a Ranch Water drink

What is Ranch Water?

Ranch Water is the name for a tequila cocktail featuring lime juice and sparkling mineral water.

They are very simple, delicious cocktails, that are easy to customize if you wish. Sometimes the Ranch Water has salt on the rim or a little bit of Cointreau or simple syrup added to sweeten it.

Nicknamed the unofficial drink of West Texas, the cocktail is said to originate at the White Buffalo Bar at the Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas. Eloise Bryan, the lead concierge told The Washington Post, “A bunch of people out here refer to it as the Ranch Water because cowboys are out there working hard all day, and they want good water, but they want it a little bit spiked.”

It is different from a classic margarita because it uses more booze, less or no sweetener and has the addition of sparkling water. You could liken to a skinny margarita, though those recipes usually contain artificial sweeteners.

There are also some canned brands of this bubbly cocktail on the market, most notably by Ranch Rider Spirits. They carry a few flavors, including Jalapeño Ranch Water.

a bottle of topo chico


The Ranch Water is a 3-ingredient cocktail made with simple ingredients you can find at the grocery store.


Although I mention a few types of tequila in my Tequila 101 crash course, the best tequila for this cocktail is blanco tequila (AKA silver tequila). This clear-colored spirit will give the cocktail its “water”-like appearance.

However, if you’d like to use gold, reposado or añejo tequila, go for it. This cocktail doesn’t have any hard and fast rules.

My favorite tequila brands right now are El Jimador, Lunazul, Espolon, Patron and Casamigos.

Lime juice

I always recommend fresh lime juice if you have it on hand, but it’s okay to use a good quality lime concentrate in a pinch.

But if you are going the store-bought route, look for fresh-pressed lime juice for the freshest flavor in your Texas Ranch Water.

To get more juice out of fresh limes, use room-temperature citrus. I use one of these citrus squeezers to get the most juice out of my limes:

Sparkling mineral water

Topo Chico mineral water is most people’s pick (especially Texans’) for Ranch Water because its extra carbonation makes it sparkly and effervescent.

It’s okay to use any kind of sparkling water here. Club soda, seltzer and flavored sparkling water would all be fine and will provide plenty of extra fizz.

mineral water pouring into a cocktail

How to make Ranch Water

The Ranch Water is a pretty simple cocktail to make.

First, rim a glass with salt or chili lime seasoning. (Totally optional, too.)

Then, fill the glass with ice.

Add tequila and lime juice. Top with sparkling water.

Garnish with a piece of lime.

The amounts can easily be halved for a smaller cocktail glass. Simply use a 2:1 ratio of tequila to lime juice.

two Ranch Water cocktails with a bottle of topo chico

Ways to customize Ranch Water

Ranch Water is a great cocktail because it’s a simple drink that can be customized in a few ways. Try a few variations on this easy cocktail recipe to find your new favorite summer cocktails.

  • Add a dash of Cointreau or Grand Marnier.
  • Rim the glass with margarita salt or Tajín.
  • Substitute jalapeño-infused tequila to make a spicy Ranch Water drink.
  • Add a splash of lemon juice or grapefruit juice.
  • Garnish it with a few jalapeño slices.
  • Add Topo Chico’s Hint of Lime or Hint of Grapefruit flavor instead of plain.
  • Sweeten it with simple syrup, agave nectar or a flavored syrup like jalapeño simple syrup.
  • Make it boozier with the addition of hard seltzer.

More tequila cocktails

Tajín seasoning on the rim of a cocktail

Ranch Water Cocktail

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
The Ranch Water is an effervescent, light and utterly quaffable cocktail that is perfect for hot days and warm nights.
4.99 from 54 votes
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  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1 ounces lime juice
  • ½ ounce Cointreau optional
  • ½ ounce simple syrup optional
  • 2-4 ounces Topo Chico mineral water
  • salt for rim optional


  • First, rim a glass, if desired. Place salt on a plate. Rub a lime wedge around the edge of the glass. Roll the rim of the glasses in the salt to coat the rim.
  • Then, fill the glass with ice.
  • Add tequila and lime juice. Top with sparkling water.
  • Garnish with a piece of lime.


Nutrition calculated with tequila, lime juice and mineral water.
The amounts can easily be halved for a smaller cocktail glass. Simply use a 2:1 ratio of tequila to lime juice.
For a low-carb cocktail, skip the Cointreau and simple syrup, or use sugar-free syrup.

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 cocktail

amount per serving:

Serving: 6ounces Calories: 220kcal Carbohydrates: 17g Protein: 0.1g Fat: 0.1g Saturated Fat: 0.02g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g Sodium: 11mg Potassium: 47mg Fiber: 0.1g Sugar: 15g Vitamin A: 14IU Vitamin C: 9mg Calcium: 14mg Iron: 1mg
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