Ranch Water

Ranch Water Cocktail Recipe

Ranch Water is a refreshing cocktail made with tequila, Topo Chico sparkling water and lime. A perfect summertime drink.

Ranch Water.

Just the name evokes images of wide-open Texas skies, dusty trails, and those cowboy boots I’ve always wanted to wear but never had the guts to buy. This unassuming cocktail, which has been quietly bubbling up in popularity, is the perfect antidote to the overly complicated, pretentious drinks that often dominate the mixology scene.

Ranch Water

If you’re looking for a simple, refreshing drink that doesn’t require a degree in molecular gastronomy to enjoy – Ranch Water, y’all, is your drink.

A Brief History of Ranch Water

Let’s take a little jaunt down memory lane, shall we?

Ranch Water is said to have originated in the far reaches of West Texas, where the rugged landscape and scorching heat demanded an ice cold, straightforward and unfussy cocktail.

There are stories that ranchers concocted this refreshing beverage to beat the relentless Texas sun. It’s the kind of story that fits neatly with the no-nonsense spirit of the drink itself.

Ranch Water

There is also a story that its origination has been traced back to a restaurant owner named Kevin Williamson in Austin, Texas that opened in 1998. Apparently Williamson spent a good bit of time hunting with his dad, and had a habit of packing a thermos with ice and tequila. He loved how the tequila tasted after some of the ice had melted, so when he opened his restaurant he knew he was going to offer a tequila-water cocktail on the menu.

The Recipe

You don’t need a fancy bar cart or a meticulously curated collection of bitters to whip up Ranch Water. All you need are three ingredients:

  1. Tequila: The soul of Ranch Water. Go for a good quality blanco tequila, something that doesn’t taste like regret mixed with rubbing alcohol. Remember, this is a drink that values simplicity and quality. My choice – Teremana Blanco. It’s good tequila; I could even drink a shot of it. I recently found out that tequila is poured at room temperature to serve as shots. I don’t understand this at all. It has to be ice cold for me to be able to tolerate it, but that’s just me. Another one I like is 
  2. Topo Chico: The holy grail of sparkling mineral water. The effervescence of Topo Chico gives Ranch Water its characteristic crispness. Other sparkling waters can work, but purists will tell you it’s not the same.
  3. Fresh Lime Juice: This is where the magic happens. Freshly squeezed lime juice adds the perfect amount of zing.

Ranch Water

The Method:

  1. Fill a glass (preferably a highball) with ice.
  2. Pour in a couple of ounces of tequila.
  3. Add the juice of half a lime.
  4. Top off with Topo Chico.
  5. Give it a gentle stir and garnish with a lime wedge if you’re feeling fancy.

Ranch Water

Why Ranch Water is So Popular

Ranch Water has become the unofficial drink of summer, and it’s not hard to see why. Its appeal lies in its simplicity and versatility. You don’t need to be a cocktail wizard to mix one up, and it’s light enough to enjoy whether you’re lounging by the pool, grilling in the backyard, or pretending to do yard work while secretly people-watching your neighbors.

Moreover, Ranch Water is refreshingly low in calories compared to many other cocktails. It’s practically a health drink if you squint hard enough and ignore the tequila. Plus, it’s gluten-free, sugar-free, and carb-conscious—buzzwords that make it almost sound like it should be sold at a yoga studio.

While the classic Ranch Water recipe is a testament to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy, there’s always room for a little experimentation. Want to add a splash of grapefruit juice? Go for it. Want some heat? Infuse your tequila with jalapeños for a spicy kick. The beauty of Ranch Water lies in its adaptability.

Ranch Water

You can see where I added a little spicy salt concoction on on the rims of my glasses, which is of course optional. The original recipe doesn’t call for anything on the rim, but I like it. This is a combination of coarse sea salt, lime zest and chili powder.

If you want to make a pitcher of Ranch Water for a dinner or get together, combine the tequila and lime but wait to pour the Topo Chico until time to serve. As a matter of fact, I would serve the lime/Tequila from a pitcher and have Topo Chico in individual bottles on ice, so guests can add it to their glass as they wish.

In a world where cocktails can sometimes feel like a competitive sport, Ranch Water is a breath of fresh air. It’s unpretentious, easy to make, and incredibly refreshing—a trifecta that’s hard to beat. The next time you find yourself parched and pondering what to drink, channel your inner Texan, grab a bottle of tequila, and pour a Ranch Water. 

Here’s your printable – 

Ranch Water

Ranch Water Cocktail

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

A simple, unpretentious but refreshing cocktail made with tequila, Topo Chico and lime.


  • 2 oz. tequila blanco (white or silver)
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 12 oz. bottle Topo Chico sparkling mineral water


  1. Fill a glass (I use a highball) with ice.
  2. Pour in tequila.
  3. Add the juice of half a lime.
  4. Top off with Topo Chico.
  5. Stir gently and garnish with a lime wedge.

Recommended Products

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated websites.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Cheers to keeping it simple, flavorful, and delightfully Texan!


  • Shea

    Shea Goldstein is a writer and the voice behind Dixie Chik Cooks. She's also a recipe developer and brand ambassador. She has been published in several media platforms such as Redbook, Parade, Food Blogger Magazine and more. She has been developing recipes and writing since 2009. Shea is a Southern Belle Who's Thinking About What's For Dinner While Eating Lunch

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.