Tequila Mockingbird

5 from 1 vote

If you’re a fan of classic literature and inventive cocktails, the Tequila Mockingbird drink is for you. Whether you’re sipping it on a summer evening or curling up with a good book, this literary-inspired libation is a true treat with a refreshing blend of tequila, lime, and just a hint of sweetness

Two glasses of pink-colored watermelon beverages with ice cubes and garnished with watermelon slices. A plate of watermelon slices is visible in the background.

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About this Tequila Mockingbird drink

I love a cocktail with a funny or silly name. There’s the Fuzzy Navel. Then there’s the Painkiller. And there’s the Spaghett.

The Tequila Mockingbird is perhaps my favorite: It’s a play on the Harper Lee novel “To Kill A Mockingbird.” English majors and my fellow literary lovers will love this one!

This slightly spicy cocktail is a spin on the watermelon margarita with a hint of spicy jalapeño, sweer agave nectar and lots of melon flavor. It’s sophisticated and it serves as the ultimate summer sipper.

More tequila recipes: Ranch WaterMexican Martini Paloma Cocktail

Two glasses of pink cocktail garnished with watermelon slices, a cocktail shaker, and a plate with additional watermelon slices.

Why you’ll love this recipe

You’ll love the Tequila Mockingbird cocktail, for a few reasons:

  • These delicious drinks feature a flavor explosion of sweet, sour and spicy. It’s Incredibly refreshing and thirst-quenching.
  • Home mixologists will find it’s easy to make with simple ingredients. Nothing fancy here!
  • The base recipe is versatile and customizable to your tastes.

This drink is perfect for readers and anyone with literary knowledge. It would also be a good one for book clubs! Try it tonight when you cozy up with a novel.

Two glasses of a pink, iced beverage garnished with wedges of watermelon, placed on a white surface with a plate of additional watermelon pieces in the background.

What is a Tequila Mockingbird?

The Tequila Mockingbird is a name for a sweet and spicy tequila cocktail with fresh jalapeño and watermelon.

“Tequila Mockingbird” is also the name of a popular cocktail book by Tim Federle filled with clever drinks inspired by history’s most beloved books. (And there are companion books too! “Gone with the Gin” has movie cocktails and “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margarita” has more book-inspired drinks.)

There are other recipes online for other concoctions, including one with crème de menthe and another with

This recipe is based on the most popular one published in Liquor.com. Bartender Gregory Seider and author of the book, “Alchemy in a Glass,” created the Tequila Mockingbird at New York City’s The Summit Bar.

Tools & glassware

To make the Tequila Mockingbird, you’ll need a few basic bar tools.

Grab a cocktail shaker to mix up the drink. You’ll first muddle the fresh ingredients, then shake them up with ice. You’ll also need a cocktail strainer to strain out the solids.

Serve up the drink in a rocks glass. You might want to prepare some large ice cubes or large ice spheres. These melt more slowly, letting your drink stay stronger for longer. You could also use regular ice cubes.


You only need a few simple ingredients to make this recipe. Here’s what to grab at the grocery store:

  • watermelon
  • jalapeño
  • tequila
  • lime juice
  • agave nectar or simple syrup
A clear glass filled with a pink beverage, ice cubes, and garnished with a small piece of green and white fruit.


Finish of the drink with a piece of watermelon. I used a spear of watermelon a little taller than my glass, but you can use a melon baller to make small spheres or cut up small wedges. (This Watermelon Mimosa is a good example of a wedge garnish.)

The fragrances of spicy garnishes can enhance the drink. You could also finish it off with a jalapeño slice or even a sprinkle of freshly-cracked black pepper. A salt rim works too.

Ice can be a garnish too. Opt for large ice cubes or spheres to minimize dilution and keep your drink at full strength longer. Regular ice cubes work too though.

Best tequila

A blanco tequila, AKA silver tequila, is crisp and has a clear color, perfect for mixing in this cocktail. We like Tito’s and Lunazul lately.

You could also use a reposado tequila for a little more complexity or a smoky mezcal for even more layers of flavor.

Don’t miss Tequila 101 where you can learn more about which bottles to buy.

Two glasses of watermelon juice with ice and a small watermelon slice garnish, next to a plate of watermelon wedges.

Substitutions & variations

Mix things up with one of these variations:

  • Spicier: You can add more jalapeño slices if you want a spicier drink. Add some hot sauce too if you like!
  • Less spicy: Don’t add all of the jalapeño seeds to the shaker for a milder cocktail.
  • More flavors: Muddle some fresh basil leaves when muddling, or add in some cucumber.
  • Other melon: Try other melons like honeydew or cantaloupe for a fun flavor swap.
  • Non-alcoholic: Use a zero-proof spirit like Ritual tequila alternative or Seedlip Grove 42.


You can make this Tequila Mockingbird recipe in a few simple steps:

A hand holding a slice of jalapeno pepper above a textured glass cup with ice inside it on a white background.
A hand using a black muddler to crush ingredients in a textured glass on a white marble surface.

First things first, grab your cocktail shaker and a muddler. Add in some fresh watermelon chunks and a slice or two of jalapeño.

Using the muddler, gently mash and muddle the watermelon and jalapeño until their juices are released and the flavors mingle together.

A hand is pouring liquid from a small measuring cup into a clear, textured glass that already contains red liquid.
A hand pouring a creamy beige liquid from a small container into a glass containing a pink beverage.

Next, pour in your favorite tequila and some fresh lime juice.

A hand pours liquid from a small metal cup into a glass containing a pinkish drink on a white surface.
A hand holding a gold-lidded glass cocktail shaker with a pinkish-red liquid inside.

Then add some agave nectar for a touch of sweetness. Top them off with fresh ice cubes.

Now, it’s time to shake things up! Secure the lid on the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for a good 10-15 seconds. This will help blend all the flavors and chill the cocktail nicely.

A hand pours a pink liquid from a gold cocktail shaker into a clear glass.
A hand uses gold tongs to place a large ice cube into a glass of pink liquid, with a cocktail shaker in the background.

Strain the shaken cocktail into a rocks glass over a large ice cube. (Regular ice cubes work too.)

Finally, for a gorgeous garnish, dip in a little watermelon spear or skewer a small wedge onto the rim of the glass. Not only does it look inviting, but you can snack on it as you enjoy your cocktail!

Leftover watermelon? Make watermelon lemonade.

A hand placing a watermelon slice into a glass filled with a pink beverage and ice cubes.

Tips & tricks

Here are some tips and tricks for making this recipe:

  • Use a ripe, juicy watermelon for maximum flavor and sweetness. The riper the melon, the more intense the flavor will be.
  • Don’t skimp on the jalapeño. That little kick of heat balances out the sweetness perfectly. Adjust the amount to taste preference. (But if you have to, use less seeds.)
  • To make a large batch, use jalapeño simple syrup instead of agave nectar and store-bought watermelon juice, about 2 ounces per cocktail.
Two glasses of pink cocktail with ice and watermelon garnish, next to a brass jigger and a textured jar with a gold lid on a white background.

Food pairings

Enjoy this margarita-like cocktail with other Mexican recipes, like chips and fresh guacamole or some cheesy queso fundido.

You could also enjoy it with watermelon dishes like watermelon salad or chicken with watermelon salsa.


What type of tequila works best?

Most recipes call for blanco (silver/white) or reposado tequila. But you can use your preferred type as long as it’s 100% agave tequila.

Why is it called a Tequila Mockingbird?

The name is a play on words referencing the classic Harper Lee novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.” It’s a clever, literary-inspired way to name the cocktail.

Can I make it in advance for a party?

It’s best to shake and serve the Mockingbird fresh. Use jalapeño simple syrup instead of agave nectar and store-bought watermelon juice, about 2 ounces per cocktail.

More watermelon cocktail recipes

— Did you make this recipe? —

Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

Two glasses of pink-colored watermelon beverages with ice cubes and garnished with watermelon slices. A plate of watermelon slices is visible in the background.

Tequila Mockingbird

Yield: 1 drink
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Perfect for parties or a relaxing evening, this easy-to-make drink offers a unique fusion of flavors that will delight your taste buds. Make this Tequila Mockingbird with our step-by-step recipe.
5 from 1 vote
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  • 3 cubes watermelon juice about 1 inch
  • 1 slice jalapeño
  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1 ounce agave nectar
  • 1 large ice cube
  • watermelon spear for garnish


  • In a cocktail shaker, muddle watermelon and jalapeño until the juices are released.
  • Add tequila, lime juice, agave nectar and ice to the shaker. Shake well.
  • Strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube.
  • Garnish with a piece of watermelon.


Make it spicier: You can add more jalapeño slices if you want a spicier drink. Add some hot sauce too if you like! 
Less spicy: Don’t add all of the jalapeño seeds to the shaker for a milder cocktail. 
More flavors: Muddle some fresh basil leaves when muddling, or add in some cucumber. You can also do a salt rim if you like! 
To make a large batch: Use jalapeño simple syrup instead of agave nectar or use jalapeño tequila for the tequila. Instead of muddling watermelon, use store-bought watermelon juice or purée your own. Use about 2 ounces per cocktail.

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 drink

amount per serving:

Serving: 1oz Calories: 271kcal Carbohydrates: 33g Protein: 1g Fat: 1g Saturated Fat: 0.1g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g Sodium: 1741mg Potassium: 300mg Fiber: 3g Sugar: 26g Vitamin A: 2105IU Vitamin C: 28mg Calcium: 33mg Iron: 2mg
did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #feastandwestrecipes!
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