Everyone’s heard of swapping out the vodka in a Bloody Mary for tequila to make a Bloody Maria, but Bloodies aren’t the only cocktail worthy of a tequila cameo. The agave-based spirit can brighten up heavier cocktails traditionally made with whiskey or rum, or add vegetal depth to cocktails ordinarily made with vodka or gin. Here, seven classic cocktails that you need to try making with tequila.
7 Classic Cocktails to Remake With Tequila
Since lime and tequila are already a perfect match, you can’t go wrong with this refreshing twist on a classic. The mint in a Mojito highlights the herbaceous notes of blanco tequila, while the tequila itself cuts through the sugar, making for a drier, more complex version of the drink.
Those who view the Negroni as perfection-in-a-glass may yell, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” But just ignore them. Using blanco tequila in place of gin in a Negroni gives the cocktail an earthiness that complements the bitterness of Campari. Add even more complexity by rinsing the glass in mezcal before pouring in the cocktail.
It may seem unconventional, but using reposado tequila in place of rum in a Piña Colada makes for a much more interesting drink that tastes a lot less like dessert. The Acapulco and Baja Gold prove that pineapple and tequila are awesome together, and coconut ties the whole drink together in tropical bliss.
To maintain a Manhattan’s strong, sultry nature, you need to use a spirit that’s as bold as the whiskey you mean to replace. Barrel-aged añejo tequila’s smooth, oaky flavors are reminiscent of the rye’s rich woodiness. You’ll get those familiar honeyed, spice notes you expect from a classic Manhattan, with an added hint of cinnamon and citrus.
Made simply with vodka and fresh grapefruit juice, the Greyhound sometimes receives criticism for being too basic. Using grassy blanco tequila in place of neutral vodka is a great way to amp up this easy cocktail—no extra effort required. As evidenced by the Paloma’s popularity, the combination of bittersweet grapefruit and blanco tequila is a no-brainer.
Since we’ve already played matchmaker for tequila and grapefruit, it’s time we take their relationship to the next level by adding some lime juice and maraschino liqueur to the mix. Golden reposado tequila will yield a cocktail with more depth and less sweetness than the rum-based Hemingway Daiquiri, meaning Hemingway himself (a renowned sugar-hater) might have actually enjoyed drinking one.
Fresh Lime Juice
Fresh Grapefruit Juice
The Bee Sting is already an edgier twist on the sweet Bee’s Knees, thanks to muddled jalapeño slices, but using tequila instead of gin officially makes it one of the baddest cocktails in the game—in a good way. If you can handle the heat, infuse your tequila with more jalapeños ahead of time for an even spicier take on the Bee Sting.