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5 Best Tequila & Mezcal Cocktails To Drink This Summer

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5 Stellar Tequila & Mezcal Cocktails To Drink This Summer

June 24, 2019

With their herbaceous grassy flavor, tequila and its cousin mezcal are the ideal spirits to sip on during the balmy summer days and nights. Both of these spirits offer fantastic foundations for refreshing cocktails to keep you cool when the occasion calls for something boozy. If you need a little cocktail inspiration, no worries. We have you covered. These are the must-mix tequila and mezcal cocktails to drink while the warm weather is still with us.


Tequila Vs. Mezcal

Before we get started with cocktail recipes, here's a quick rundown on the difference between the two spirits. Most of you will be familiar with tequila and its flavor profile. Mezcal (also spelled mescal) is similar to tequila in many ways, but there are a few key distinctions. Tequila is made solely from the blue agave while mezcal can be made from upwards of 30 different types of agave. Both spirits hail from Mexico but are produced in different regions.

In terms of how it's made, tequila and mezcal are both made from the piña or heart of the agave. Where the piñas destined for tequila get steamed, those mezcal producers roast their piñas, giving the spirit its characteristic smoky flavor.


Before You Start

Before you roll up your sleeves and start mixing, one word of advice: always use fresh ingredients when you can. Fresh juices, in particular, make all the difference between mundane and marvelous when it comes to cocktails. There are a few different types of tequila and mezcal. For cocktails, opt for blanco or silver tequila and joven mezcal.


Classic Margarita

The traditional margarita is the go-to for many cocktail drinkers come summer. While you can add any number of other flavors to it in the form of fresh fruit or purees, sometimes a classic margarita just hits the spot. Bonus? They're easy to batch if you're having friends over.

Ingredients & Instructions

4 ounces blanco tequila
1 ½ oz Cointreau
1 ½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice
Garnish with salt rim

Run a lime wedge over the rim of the glass and dip into a plate with salt. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well then strain into a glass with fresh ice.


Take a bit of grapefruit juice, mix it with tequila and a bit of soda and you get Mexico's favorite cocktail, the Paloma. In our opinion, the fizz in this tipple places the Paloma ahead of the Margarita in the race for the Summer's Most Refreshing Cocktail.

Ingredients & Instructions

2 oz blanco tequila
1 oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
½ oz fresh squeezed lime juice
Grapefruit soda
Garnish with a slice of pink grapefruit

Pour the tequila, lime, and grapefruit juices into your ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake well and strain into a highball glass with fresh ice. Top up with grapefruit soda and garnish.

Bloody Maria

Having a boozy brunch? Jazz things up with a Bloody Maria. As you've probably guessed, this cocktail is simply a Bloody Mary made with tequila. That said, the tequila flavor really adds an extra punch to this drink, making it a favorite brunch cocktail for many.

Ingredients & Instructions

2 oz blanco tequila
* 5 oz tomato juice
1 tsp fresh horseradish
4 dashes Worchestershire sauce
3 dashes Tobasco sauce
Pepper and celery salt to taste
½ fresh lime juice
Garnish with celery, lemon wedge, and cocktail olives
*You can use Bloody Mary mix if you must, but making it from scratch will taste much, much better.

Break out your cocktail shaker. Put ice in the tumbler then add the ingredients. Give the shaker a good shake then strain into a glass with fresh ice. Garnish and enjoy.

Smoky Paloma

This one's easy – it's a regular Paloma with mezcal in lieu of tequila. The drink remains refreshing but takes on an extra layer of complexity thanks to mezcal's inherent smokiness. If you want to enhance that flavor, you can coat the rim of your glass with a salt mixed with a little smoked paprika.

Ingredients & Instructions

2 oz mezcal
1 oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
½ oz fresh squeezed lime juice
Grapefruit soda

Optional smoky salt rim:

4 tbsp fine salt
½ tsp smoked paprika

If you decide to go for the salt rim, mix the salt and paprika together and pour the mixture out on a small plate. Run a wedge of grapefruit around the rim of the glass then dip it into the salt-paprika blend. For the cocktail, add the mezcal and two juices to a shaker filled with ice. Shake it well then strain over fresh ice into the glass. Top up with grapefruit soda and get sipping.

Mezcal Negroni

The smokiness of mezcal adds a layer of complexity in this easy spin on the classic Negroni. If you're in the mood for a drink before dinner, this makes the perfect aperitif.

Ingredients & Instructions

1 oz mezcal
1 oz Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth
Garnish with orange peel

Add the ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir gently then strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with fresh ice. Squeeze the orange peel over the contents of the glass, run it around the glass's rim, and enjoy.

Written by Camille Berry for Knockaround.


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