Tequila is an extremely versatile spirit, with many styles and flavours to explore. Likewise, the world of classic cocktails with tequila is equally full of variation. Whether you like a bit of zing or straight up sugary delight, there's a tequila cocktail here for everyone! 

Let's explore the six best classic tequila cocktails... 

1. Paloma

Paloma cocktail with grapefruit and rosemary garnish

Ask a Mexican their favourite cocktail, they may just reply with the Paloma. Sophisticated and refreshing, it's great to enjoy alongside some spicy fajitas to soothe your tongue. This recipe can be adapted to use grapefruit soda over the juice and soda water. The Mexican brand 'Jarritos' make a delicious pink grapefruit soda which is often used in Mexico to make Palomas.


  • 50ml tequila
  • 10ml fresh lime juice
  • 60ml fresh pink grapefruit juice
  • Soda water to fill


Step 1 – Pour the tequila, lime juice and pink grapefruit juice into a mixing glass filled with ice.

Step 2 – Stir the mixture each way for 30 seconds.

Step 3 – Pour into a serving glass and top with soda water.

2. Margarita

Margarita cocktail with lime slice

Margaritas are perhaps the most famous tequila cocktail, reflected in their global popularity. This simple classic tequila cocktail is zingy, zesty and sweet all at the same time. The best thing about Margaritas is not just their salty rim but also their versatility. Popular variations of the classic Margarita use passion fruit, tamarind and hibiscus these days. Delicious! 


  • 40ml tequila
  • 20ml Cointreau
  • 30ml fresh lime juice
  • 10ml sugar syrup (simple syrup)


Step 1 – Prepare the Margarita glass by rubbing a lime wedge around the rim. Then dip into salt, so that the salt sticks to the glass rim.

Step 2 – Add all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well for 30 seconds. 

Step 3 – Strain into the prepared glass and serve.

NOTE: Fresh lemon juice is also a popular main ingredient for Margaritas in bars these days. The lemon juice adds more of a bite than lime does, so it's perfect for those preferring that palate. Other great twists on the classic include adding in a bit of ginger beer to the original recipe, creating a Mexican Moscow Mule! 

Alternatively, you could go completely 'left field'. There is a burning, fiery mezcal vs tequila debate within the industry. Some love the idea of adding a little mezcal to a Margarita. With the right balance, it can create a lovely smoky cocktail with a tangy bite. Try it out, you might like it... 

3. Tequila Sunrise

2 Tequila Sunrise cocktails with straws

The Tequila Sunrise is certainly one of the best cocktails for beginners out there. It's just three simple ingredients and an equally easy method to make the iconic drink. This is perfect for any occasion requiring a quick alcoholic fix. Imagine you've been busy all day making these mazing nachos and dips for a Mexican spread. Put the cocktail shaker and Mexican Elbow away! Get pouring and layering with this classic and there'll be no problems! 


  • 40ml tequila
  • 10ml grenadine
  • Fresh orange juice to fill


Step 1 - Pour the tequila into a glass filled with ice and top with the orange juice, leaving some space for th grenadine. 

Step 2 - Place a straw into the drink and carefully pour the grenadine down the straw. This lets the grenadine sit nicely at the bottom of the drink. Serve up and enjoy! 

Learn more about cocktails in our 'what is a cocktail' article. You'll find history, recipes and so much more about cocktails...

4. El Diablo

El Diablo cocktail with lime garnish

Normally, lists of tequila cocktails only contain the blanco version of tequila. However, this is the first of two that need a different style... reposado! If you're into tequila tasting, you might now what this tequila is. For those who do not, however, here's a quick explanation. This is a slightly aged style of tequila, with a copper-coloured hue. It gives a much more punchy flavour of smoke and wood. If you're looking for a smooth, fruity and spicy cocktail, this is the one for you! 


  • 30ml reposado tequila
  • 10ml crème de cassis
  • 10ml fresh lime juice
  • Ginger ale to fill


Step 1 - Place the tequila, crème de cassis and lime juice into an ice-filled serving glass.

Step 2 - Fill with ginger ale to the top and serve.

Discover tequila for yourself on our authentic Tequila and Mezcal Expedition in Jalisco, Mexico. You'll get an amazing tour of the Mexican culture, food and (of course) the alcohol! Come back inspired... 

5. Matador

Matador cocktail with pineapple garnish

Enjoy a Piña Colada but want something with a little more bite? Try the Matador. It's a little similar to a Margarita too, so if you're a fan of both of these cocktails then you'll definitely love a Matador. If you imagine the Piña Colada minus the coconut and creamy vibes, then this is basically it. It's super refreshing, just like its other tequila brothers on this list! 


  • 60ml tequila
  • 30ml Triple Sec
  • 30ml fresh lime juice
  • 70ml pineapple juice


Step 1 - Add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake well for 30 seconds.

Step 2 - Strain into a glass with ice and serve.

6. La Rosita

La Rosalita cocktail with orange twist

If you're having a sophisticated evening then this is the tequila cocktail for you. With its Italian influence, La Rosita is the best balanced cocktail here. Inspired by a Negroni, it's great as a digestif after a big Mexican meal of tacos, nachos and corn! This is also the other reposado cocktail on our list, making it super unique and niche. Hipsters of the world unite and try this Mexican Negroni. 


  • 45ml reposado tequila
  • 45ml Campari
  • 45ml extra dry vermouth
  • 15ml sweet vermouth
  • Angostura bitters


Step 1 - Add all of the ingredients except the bitters into a glass with ice.

Step 2 - Stir gently for 30 seconds each way around the glass edge.

Step 3 - Finish by adding a couple dashes of Angostura bitters on top and serve.

What's the best type of tequila to use?

Blanco tequila. This is the most commonly used of all the types of tequila out there. It's incredibly easy to balance and still retains the iconic tequila flavour in cocktails. Other styles like reposado and añejo can overpower the other subtle flavours in a tequila cocktail. Get the lowdown on what is tequila, so you can learn yourself the differences and become a tequila master. 

To finish, we'd like to make a special acknowledgement to those popular tequila cocktails that didn't make our list. From the Bloody Maria with tomato juice and hot sauce, to the lighter Tequila Fizz and Tequila Mojito. They're all winners in our eyes and are proudly great tequila cocktails too.

Inspired to master tequila behind the bar, in all its styles and forms? Look into our bartender course and learn from experienced professionals. Start your bartending journey with us today...