5 Essential Tequila Cocktails


Agavoni, a tequila Negroni. [Photo: Robyn Lee]

There are endless cocktails in the world, and new ones invented every day, but how many of these drinks are true essentials? In this series, we're discussing drinks everyone should know—five essential drinks for every major category of spirits.

This week, we're talking about tequila-based cocktails. In a future article, I'll discuss the history and manufacture of everyone's favorite collegiate bad decision, but for now, let's just get straight to the drinking: 5 tequila drinks you should know.



[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

We start with a cocktail that's a classic for a reason. A well-made margarita is one of the finest beverages on earth. Whatever you do, though, please don't use bottled mixes. If you can't squeeze citrus, you don't belong in a kitchen. SE's recipe czar, Kenji, posted a great formula for pitcher margaritas, perfect for a party.

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[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

Don't confuse sangrita with sangria. There's no fruit salad or cheap wine in sangrita, for starters. Sangrita's not so much a cocktail as it is an accompaniment to tequila. The idea is, you take a sip of tequila and then a sip of sangrita.

Sangrita is also a topic that sparks debate: namely, does it include tomato juice or not? Jeffrey Morgenthaler, bar manager at Portland's Clyde Common, makes a strong argument against the tomato, and provides a recipe without it. Here at Drinks, we offer a version with tomato juice. Since sangrita's so delicious either way, and since a great tequila is an excellent sipper, I suggest you try it both ways and make up your own mind.

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Tequila por mi Amante


[Photograph: Jennifer Hess]

Another entry that bends the idea of a cocktail, Tequila por mi Amante is an infusion of strawberries into tequila. It's also one of the most delicious things that will ever cross your lips. You can use it as a cocktail base, or you can just drink it over ice.

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[Photo: Robyn Lee]

Because the world always has room for Negroni variations. This one, starring tequila, is a delicious cocktail that reminds you of spring. And with much of the Northeast experiencing unseasonably warm temperatures lately, I think right the heck now is an excellent time for an Agavoni.

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Spiked Hot Chocolate


[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Spring may be arriving a little early this year, but I can't be the only one to notice our nights still have a bit of a chill in them. Tequila pairs well with both spices and cooling mint, so you have a couple of options. Take advantage of the cool nights while they last with these yummy spicy cocoas; the first one calls for mezcal, but you can also use tequila—your choice.

Spicy Aztec Hot Chocolate »

Tequila Mint Hot Chocolate »

So, what did I miss? (Don't worry, we've covered the Paloma here before.) What's your favorite tequila cocktail?