Most of us wish we had a more fully-stocked bar; a stash with all the major spirits plus essentials like Cointreau and Campari, sweet and dry vermouth. But sometimes you don't have a ton of bottles at the ready, so many cocktail recipes are out of reach.
If your bar is down to just one bottle of tequila, we've got your back. These 14 drink recipes don't need Grand Marnier or Aperol, St. Germain, or Green Chartreuse: just your bottle of tequila and a quick trip to the market for fresh supplies like citrus and herbs.
The Paloma is a highball everyone should know: just mix tequila with grapefruit soda, lime juice, and maybe a pinch of salt. This variation on the classic is just a touch more complicated, but it pays off in flavor. The addition of fresh orange and grapefruit juice makes for a well-rounded sweet-tart cocktail that's wonderfully bright and refreshing.
Strawberry-Balsamic Tequila Sour
It may sound strange to put balsamic vinegar in a cocktail, but we urge you to give it a try. Here, balsamic adds a tangy caramel depth to the layered acidity of sweet-tart strawberries and lime. Tequila takes the edge off of those sour notes, but leaves that vibrant hue intact. With some muddled mint added to the mix, it makes for a delightfully summery, colorful refreshment.
Bitter Salty Perro
There's nothing wrong with a Salty Dog, but if you're looking to mix up your brunch drink routine, this tequila-spiked version should be on your list. It's made with fresh pink grapefruit juice, plus tonic to up the bitter / savory factor.
Tangerine Ginger Margarita
Most margaritas need two bottles: your tequila and your triple sec. But this drink gets its sweetness from fresh tangerines and tangy pomegranate juice. Ginger adds vivid flavor and a little heat.
We've never had super-delicious watermelon liqueur, but watermelon is great in cocktails if you use the fresh stuff. Here it's smashed up and mixed with lime and tequila for a drink that's fruity and refreshing, perked up with a spicy ancho chili rim on the glass.
Cara-Carry Me Away
We love the blush color of cara-cara oranges, as well as their mellow flavor. Here, they're mixed in a taco-night favorite, with fresh grapefruit and lime, plus the essential dose of tequila. Topped up with club soda, these are fun to serve in Champagne flutes.
If you like a Bloody Mary with your brunch, this Clamato-based tequila cocktail is one you should definitely make. It's somewhere between a Bloody and a Paloma, lightened with lemon juice and a splash of grapefruit soda. It's a little spicy (add more hot sauce if you wish), but don't worry: it doesn't taste like clam juice.
Mango-Ginger Cocktail With Cilantro
The intensely concentrated flavor of fresh-pressed ginger juice is the key to this spicy-sweet drink. Add your tequila and some lemon juice to balance the robust flavor of the mango, and you're good to go. But if you want to go from good to great, then toss in some fresh cilantro for a bright vegetal twist.
Chamomile Tequila Sour
Good tequila tends to have floral and herbal flavors that are wonderful with a little sweetened chamomile tea. Add in fresh lime and a salted rim and you have a delicious change-up from your standard margarita.
Tomato Margarita with Fennel Salt
How best to get the fresh, delicate flavor of tomatoes into a drink? Make tomato tequila! It's easy, we promise: you just combine the tomato and the booze in a blender and pulse it to form a purée, and then strain out the extra pulp. Mix your naturally-flavored tequila with agave nectar and lime (plus a fennel salt rim) and you're in for a delicious drink.
A spicy variation on the Bee's Knees straight from Texas, this easy cocktail is shaken with lemon juice, honey, and jalapeno for earthiness and heat. The richness of aged reposado tequila latches in nicely with the honey.
Strawberry Rhubarb Fields
We are so excited for the arrival of sweet red strawberries and tangy rhubarb, we can hardly contain ourselves. We'll be making pies and tarts soon, but first, this spring celebration requires a cocktail. Tarragon adds a gentle hint of anise to the mix of tequila, strawberries, tart lemon, and rhubarb.
Quick and Easy Margarita Shandy
Fresh juice is the way to go when you're mixing one or two cocktails, but if you're hosting a bash and you want a quick pitcher full of drinks for a thirsty crowd, frozen limeade comes in handy. Here, it's mixed with rich reposado tequila and beer for the slightest effervescence and savoriness that makes your mouth water. We recommend serving in salt-rimmed glasses.
If you like your drinks tall, cool, and tart, use your tequila in this recipe, which calls for muddling savory celery and cucumber with a pinch of salt. A generous dose of fresh lime and a top-off of seltzer make this cocktail super easy-drinking.