ranch water cocktail with lime on wooden table with bar tools

Ranch Water Recipe: Dive Into This Refreshing Drink

The name might give an unpleasant mental image of a Hidden Valley product mixed with wasted tequila; thankfully, the delicious cocktail known as Ranch Water is a wonderful Texan invention with a lot of upsides. Perfect for a hot summer afternoon or a night spent kicking your feet up and enjoying the evening, Ranch Water is a versatile drink that is light on calories and still wonderfully refreshing.

In recent years, the Southern beverage has become a nationwide sensation. Bars and taverns from the Pacific Northwest to the tip of Maine now sport the invigorating and deceptively smooth drink, and its popularity will only grow in the coming years.

For those who want to enjoy the sunset on their porch with the company of a comfortable concoction with a gentle kick, we will be going over how to make Ranch Water below.

What Exactly Is Ranch Water? An Overview

Ranch Water is a straightforward drink to make, with most people quickly measuring out a cup with no more than a discerning eye and careful pours. Outside of the tequila blanco itself, which is entirely up to the individual, the drink is cheaply made and won’t break the bank. All that is needed is tequila blanco, lime juice, Topo Chico, and a few sliced limes. On a uniquely sweltering day, don’t be afraid to toss in a heavier hand of ice as well!

It comes across like a well-decorated adult seltzer, especially when the sizzling Topo Chico makes an appearance. The taste is a bit more sour, and the lime does an excellent job of containing the stronger kick that most tequila offers. It is a fizzy, foggy silver that is nearly transparent in glass and is usually decorated with a salt rim and garnished with a lime wheel.

What Does a Ranch Water Taste Like?

The usual Ranch Water recipe is not going to come with a delirious sugar crash a few hours later, and that is reflected in its restrained flavor. It has a gentle bite muted by the smoother sip of blanco tequila, with the mixture of lime and Toco Chipo taking the forefront of flavor.

It is commonly associated with a seltzer beverage with a kick of fruity lime flavor, though alternatives offer a bit more taste should a person prefer it. Two common alterations are adding a splash of grapefruit juice to give a bit of sweetness or dropping a few pickled jalapenos at the bottom for a bold, spicy bite. Therefore, it's similar to Kentucky Mules and Moscow Mules as well.

What Is the Alcohol Content of a Ranch Water?

Ranch Water typically utilizes Tequila Blanco, which sits anywhere from 35% ABV (alcohol by volume) to 55%. For those who intend to enjoy a few throughout the night, tread carefully. The drink goes down surprisingly smooth, and before you know it–you’ve had several shots within a few easily consumed glasses.

What Is the History of a Ranch Water?

Ranch Water originates from Texas, and like most stories of the unclaimed frontier, there are several different beginnings for this popular concoction. The most mystical is the story of the lone Texan who threw a few ingredients together and drank enough Ranch Water to take him fifty-four miles away.

The second story is likely where the idea originated, though it may not be where the drink was born. Several ranchhands would finish a hard day of labor under the Texan sun and visit their favorite hole in the wall, where they would chase down Tequila with seltzer and lime.

1998 is when most people consider the drink to have become a known item in the Southern state. It started to be featured in bars around the state, and while a few different people have claimed to coin the drink, its origins are likely shrouded in as much mystery as many other Texas tales.

For a drink that has originated in a state known for its spicy foods and larger-than-life personas, the drink is surprisingly refreshing, easy to take in, and well-loved by anyone who tries it. The beverage is usually consumed by people looking for an easy adult beverage to wind down the evening or for outdoor events with friends.

How to Make a Ranch Water

The cocktail combines tequila Blanco, Toco Chipo, lime juice, and a lime wheel garnish. Grab a couple of highballs or Collins glasses for you and a few friends, and get ready to enjoy a Southern favorite.

Ingredients Needed:

  • Bottle of Tequila Blanco
  • Container of lime juice
  • Topo Chico
  • A lime sliced into wedges
  • Some crushed or cubed ice
  1. Fill half the glass with ice.
  2. Pour 1.5 ounces of tequila blanco (one shot) into the glass.
  3. Pour a tablespoon of lime juice (more if you prefer) into the glass.
  4. Pour Topo Chico to the brim of the glass.
  5. Garnish with a lime wheel or wedge.
  6. Lightly stir to mix the ingredients.
  7. Kick your feet up and enjoy!

The drink does not have to be precise and can easily be replicated by eye alone. In fact, it is easily made by leaving the ingredients out for everyone and allowing everyone to make it themselves after a quick demonstration. The drink can also be made with seltzer if you can’t get your hands on Topo Chico, though you run the risk of being called a Yankee by your Southern friends.

How to Serve a Ranch Water

The drink is typically made with a Collins or highball glass, though it can easily be combined with anything you have lying around, and few people will complain. It is typically served with a handful of ice and will require little more than a few glasses, a couple of limes, and the ingredients listed.

The Topo Chico should be chilled beforehand, though it won’t ruin the drink if the ice has to do the heavier lifting for temperature. However, it is essential to ensure the beverage stays cold, as half of its appeal is in how refreshing it can be during hotter months. A room-temperature Ranch Water, plainly speaking, will not give the drink its proper due.

When to Drink Ranch Water

The drink is excellent during calm, balmy afternoons all the way to the high heat of mid-day and was made to cool down workers after a long, laborious shift. Ranch water is great for outdoor parties with clear, comfortable weather and is intended to be a summer and spring refreshment. As the night winds down and the weather cools, it will be less desired by guests.

What Are Some Ranch Water Variations?

Like most increasingly popular recipes, Ranch Water has had a few worthwhile alterations made since its inception that are as delicious as the original. Because of the simplicity of the recipe, there are a lot of little additions that can make a big splash (not literally) in the little drink. The most notable is switching the Tequila for those wanting a more potent bite.

While Tequila Blanco is the intended liquor, a reposado will give a more familiar Tequila flavor that some will find preferable. Similarly, a mezcal can also fit in the drink quite well depending on the taste of the person or people consuming the cocktail. Some folks also enjoy salting the rim or even adding a pinch of salt to the beverage itself.

If you want to spice up the drink’s flavor, add a few pickled jalapenos to the bottom of the glass to give it a bit more taste and a manageable amount of warmth. Contrarily, throwing in a bit of grapefruit juice before adding the Topo Chico can bring the drink alive and add a bit of color and sweetness to the foggy cocktail.

Wrangling in Ranch Water

ranch water cocktail on bar with black background

Ranch Water is a fantastic summer beverage that can wash away the day and comfortably and calmly wind down the evening. It is smooth to sip, light on calories, and loved by just about everyone who has the pleasure of trying it. Even better, it’s wonderfully easy to make and can easily be altered with several different creative additions.

That doesn’t mean you won’t get some side-eye from those who prefer the more original recipe, especially if you abandon Topo Chico for an alternative seltzer.

It is very easy for those looking to try the drink to get the ingredients, though Topo Chico may have to be ordered online for those in the northern part of the lower forty-eight. It is also a relatively inexpensive drink, depending on the tequila you purchase, and can be replicated quickly at home or a social gathering.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.