22 Tequila Cocktail Recipes That Go Way Beyond Margaritas

From a classic Paloma to a newfangled Negroni, here’s how to make the agave spirit shine.

By SAVEUR Editors

Updated on July 20, 2024

While there’s always a time and place for a classic margarita (or one of its many highly drinkable variations), there’s so much more you can do with tequila. There are also more varieties of each style, from añejo to reposado to blanco, available in the United States than ever, thanks to the agave spirit’s meteoric rise in the past 20 years. In fact, more tequila is now sold in the U.S. than in any other country, including Mexico. Why not make the most of all this agave abundance by getting creative behind the bar? From underrated classics like Palomas and Tequila Sunrises to refreshing riffs on the Negroni and Old-Fashioned, here are the best tequila cocktail recipes.

Photo: Julia Gartland • Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

Our take on this iconic Mexican cocktail swaps out the sugary soda for fresh lime and grapefruit juice, yielding an ultra-quaffable drink bursting with citrus flavor. Get the recipe >

Photo: Linda Pugliese • Food Styling: Christine Albano • Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

A cross between a Paloma and a Moscow Mule, this refreshing fuschia cocktail pairs tequila blanco with ginger beer, grapefruit and lime juice, and a homemade hibiscus infusion. The result is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the tongue. Get the recipe >

Andy Sewell

Tequila, orange juice, and grenadine create the eponymous sunrise in this ’70s icon that actually started out as a classic Prohibition-era cocktail. Get the recipe >

Vanessa Jane Lamb

Named for the flower in the daisy family, the Caléndula is a riff on the daisy cocktail, which is said to be a precursor to the margarita. Brightened with fresh lime and pleasantly herbal from the inclusion of bitter liqueurs, it’s the ideal summer party drink. Get the recipe >

Grace Ann Leadbeater

We perfected this tequila-cucumber cocktail for our 30th anniversary party and have been finding any excuse to make it since. Bolstered by delicate aloe liqueur and two types of vermouth, it’s the perfect showcase for your favorite tequila. Get the recipe >

Jeslyn Chanchaleune

This savory tequila-based cocktail, developed by Oklahoma City restaurant Ma Der Lao Kitchen, channels the flavors of jeow som, a fish sauce- and chile-spiked Lao dipping sauce. Get the recipe >

Thomas Payne

With a split base of tequila and mezcal, this lively drink shines with zippy pineapple and tart key lime. Get the recipe >

Matt Taylor-Gross

Swap out gin for tequila, then add the usual Campari and sweet vermouth to make this satisfying snack-sized Negroni from New York City’s iconic Long Island Bar. Get the recipe >

Eric Medsker

If summer had an official mascot, it would be a toss-up between fireflies, sprinklers, hot dogs, and lemonade. This version of the latter is rendered boozy and smoky-sweet with the juice of grilled lemons and limes, toasted simple syrup, and tequila. Get the recipe >

Honey has a unique ability to temper spice. In this refreshing but fiery tequila-based drink from New York City’s Little Branch, it tames the heat of both cayenne pepper and Cholula hot sauce. Get the recipe >

Matt Taylor-Gross

Exceedingly well-balanced, this juicy cocktail gets its sweetness from yellow watermelon, herbal freshness from Chartreuse and basil, and an astringent kick from tequila. Get the recipe >

Matt Taylor-Gross

Homemade árbol chile-spiked grenadine brings smokiness and a touch of heat and sweetness to this otherwise classic grapefruit-, tequila-, and soda-based cocktail. Get the recipe >

Matt Taylor-Gross

Spanish for “little blood,” sangrita is a traditional Mexican accompaniment for tequila. Bolstered with Clamato and Worcestershire sauce, this tomato-based version is like a super-savory deconstructed Bloody Maria. Get the recipe >

Matt Taylor-Gross

This punch is basically a sherr-ified large-format margarita. Unexpected but natural lovers—oloroso sherry and tequila—are married together with lime, sugar, a splash of Averna, and a grating of nutmeg for a rich, autumnal sour. Get the recipe >

Farideh Sadeghin

Inspired by the famed California beach city, this refreshing tequila cocktail is infused with grapefruit and pisco (a South American brandy), then softened with floral Lillet Blanc. Get the recipe >

Matt Taylor-Gross

A blood-colored tequila and beet cocktail, the Moradita (“Little Death”), is a bracing, almost healthy-tasting drink with some real body and just a hint of richness. Get the recipe >

Matt Taylor-Gross

Sweet cantaloupe is a natural partner for tequila. Here, agave nectar and fresh lemon juice are used to adjust the sweetness level, then the whole thing is finished with a melon ball and chia seed garnish. Get the recipe >

Matt Taylor-Gross

While you've got the cantaloupe out, try shaking it up with tequila, cointreau, lime juice, and orgeat for this cocktail named after calavera catrina (“dapper skull”), an essential symbol of Día de los Muertos. Get the recipe >

Matt Taylor-Gross

This vibrant, summery cocktail starts with a tea made from dried hibiscus, then adds tequila, a rosemary-infused simple syrup (romero is Spanish for rosemary, hence the name of the drink!), and fresh lime juice. Get the recipe >

Farideh Sadeghin

Aged reposado tequila adds smooth vanilla notes to this light, citrusy twist on a classic Old-Fashioned. Get the recipe >

Farideh Sadeghin

This refreshing, fragrant drink mixes grassy tequila with spicy ginger beer and a syrup infused with bergamot-flavored Earl Grey tea. Get the recipe >

Matt Taylor-Gross

Floral, piney green cardamom and smooth tequila make for an unexpected, but sophisticated, flavor combination in this citrusy cocktail. Get the recipe >

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