Tequila has, perhaps unfairly, gained a reputation as a party spirit – mainly due to its role in two performative bar favourites: the ‘lip-sip-suck’ salt-tequila-and-lime shot sequence beloved of stags and hens the world over; and the Tequila Slammer, as first publicly imbibed by one Elvis Aaron Presley in the 1963 film Fun in Acapulco*.
However, it’s also a brilliant cocktail standard with a unique and herbal flavour profile that’s particularly well suited to fruity, zesty combinations. Here are a few of our favourite tequila-based cocktails.
There are many recipes for a classic Margarita, but most revolve around a trio of basic ingredients: silver tequila, triple sec, and lime juice in a 3:2:1 ratio, perhaps with a little agave nectar for sweetness. Shaken with ice and served in a salt-rimmed coupe, it’s pretty hard to beat – although it’s worth playing around with other citrus flavours. Our Kumquat Margarita is fresh and fragrant – a playful twist on a Mexican classic.
If you’d like your Margarita fresher and fruitier, try this long-time Mexican favourite. A Paloma adds grapefruit juice to the blanco tequila, lime juice and agave nectar combo, before being poured over ice in a highball glass, topped with soda water (grapefruit flavour if you can get it) and garnished with a citrus slice. Edmunds’ Paloma uses premium El Rayo tequila and is ready to serve – just add soda.
Capable of instantly transporting you to every beach holiday you’ve ever had, the Tequila Sunrise is summer in a glass. Blend a 50ml measure of reposado tequila with half the quantity of triple sec and the juice of a large orange in an ice-filled shaker. Put a splash of grenadine in the base of a tall glass, add ice and carefully strain the tequila mix over the rocks, being careful not to disturb the grenadine layer. Garnish with a cocktail cherry and umbrella, natch.
A twist on the popular Moscow Mule, this tequila ‘buck’ combines reposado tequila with lime juice and ginger beer in a refreshing 4:1:8 ratio. Traditionally served over ice in a copper mug or lowball glass and garnished with a slice of lime.
*Fun fact: film producers had to use a stunt double for the star’s location shots because Elvis was banned from entering Mexico due to a misquote by a gossip columnist in which Elvis supposedly trash-talked the country. (Spoiler: he hadn’t – it was part of an elaborate, and frankly unbelievable, revenge plot by a jilted politician).