We Asked A Pro How To Master The Art Of The Ranch Water Cocktail

Ranch water cocktail with lime
Ranch water cocktail with lime - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Among the many cocktails you have to order this summer, a ranch water might be your go-to if you enjoy tequila. With its simple recipe of tequila blanco, lime juice, and sparkling mineral water, ranch water is a cocktail that's a breeze to assemble, and it has its roots in Texas. To make a top-notch version of this southern-style cocktail at home, who better to learn from than a successful bar and event space owner in Austin?

Justin Lavenue, owner and operator of Austin's The Roosevelt Room and The Eleanor, shared some essential tips with Daily Meal about crafting top-notch ranch water cocktails. "Use a high-quality tequila with a sweeter, silkier body/flavor profile," he suggests. "This will help balance out the acidity of the lime juice and the carbonic acid of the sparkling water."

When preparing this refreshing drink over ice, Lavenue advises adding tequila and lime juice first, then slowly topping the mixture with sparkling water before giving it a gentle stir. For individual ranch water cocktails in glass bottles, start with approximately 10 ounces of sparkling water. Since most standard-sized bottles come with 12 ounces, either take a few sips or pour some out before adding the other two ingredients. Lavenue suggests adding the tequila and lime juice slowly and steadily to prevent the mixture from fizzing up past the neck of the bottle. Cover the opening with your thumb, turn your bottle upside down to mix, and voila! You've just made a delicious ranch water cocktail.

Read more: The Ultimate Vodka Brands, Ranked

Should Ranch Water Only Be Made With Tequila Blanco?

Tequila blanco poured in shot glass
Tequila blanco poured in shot glass - Igor Normann/Shutterstock

When consulting the beginner's guide to tequila, you'll find that all tequila is made primarily from the blue agave plant. Yet, tequila blanco only ages for roughly two months, giving this spirit a brighter, more citrusy flavor than other varieties. But is it the only option for making the best ranch water? Event space owner and bartender Justin Lavenue doesn't think so. "I prefer mine with a Cristalino or Añejo Claro, since those tequilas have the body and sweetness of an Añejo, but the character and appearance of a blanco tequila," he shared.

Añejo and Cristalino tequila lie on the opposite end of the aging spectrum from blanco tequila and sit for 1 to 3 years before bottling. However, the darker colors are filtered out, removing more robust flavor notes but retaining some of the brighter flavors associated with blanco tequila.

In addition to Lavenue's preferences, he points out that any spirit mixed with lime juice and sparkling water will do just fine; if you use another liquor, the drink is known as a traditional Rickey. As long as you enjoy the taste of the main ingredient and "adjust the ratios enough to balance the alcohol," Lavenue says you can use whatever type of spirit you like, given that the chosen preference is considered at or above "mid-shelf" quality.

Use The Crispest Sparkling Water To Make The Best-Tasting Ranch Water Cocktails

Bottle of Topo Chico sparkling water
Bottle of Topo Chico sparkling water - Agave Photo Studio/Shutterstock

Many Texas dwellers who rely on classic ranch water to get through those hotter summer months swear by Topo Chico sparkling mineral water when making this simple cocktail. Justin Lavenue agrees with the majority, stating, "Topo Chico has some of the best carbonation and bubble structure of any sparkling water on the market."

While you can make ranch water with any brand, Topo Chico is naturally carbonated. Better yet, more bubbles are added to retain supreme effervescence. Topo Chico is also bottled in Mexico, and as Lavenue states, "what grows together goes together," making this variety a favorite among Southerners.

If you need more convincing, Topo Chico has expanded its cocktail lineup with three brand-new flavors to enhance the underlying flavor of your favorite summertime drinks.

Lavenue showcases some essential ways ranch water can be upgraded with just a few minor adjustments. Use citrus peel, fresh berries, mint, or even chopped jalapeño for an extra spicy kick. Add a hint of grapefruit with Combier Pamplemousse rose liqueur or orange with Grand Marnier. With the help of cocktail master Justin Lavenue, who suggests, "Infuse your tequila with one of your favorite ingredients," you're on your way to making more delicious ranch water cocktails that exude a colorful range of depth and flavor.

Read the original article on Daily Meal