This former ranch water recipe has soared to widespread favor in recent years and is ideal for beating the oppressive West Texas heat. Even though this cocktail’s ingredients include only tequila, lime, and Topo Chico mineral water, it is everything but basic. Tequila pairs perfectly with ultra-effervescent water, which enhances its earthy, mineral overtones while still letting the spirit’s personality emerge.
- 12-ounce bottle Topo Chico, chilled
- 1 ½ ounces Blanco tequila
- ½ ounce fresh lime juice
- Pour out (or consume) two ounces of the Topo Chico first.
- To the Topo Chico bottle, first, add the tequila, then the lime juice.
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Is Ranch Water a specialty of Texas?
Ranch Water is a Texas specialty, yes. According to legend, ranchers in West Texas created the cocktail as a quick on-the-go happy hour after drinking Topo Chico and adding tequila and lime juice to cool off after a hot day in the sun.
Does Ranch Water require Topo Chico?
Topo Chico is necessary to create an authentic Ranch Water cocktail; according to many Texans, the sparkling water brand is an important ingredient.
Ranch Water’s History:
There are several hypotheses floating about as to the real origins of the popular drink among West Texans. The most popular story contends that West Texas farmers who would sip Topo Chico in the sweltering late-afternoon heat would top it off with tequila and have an on-the-go happy hour invented the cocktail. Given West Texas’ proximity to the Mexican border, it makes perfect sense that the Mexican spirit would be combined with the reviving mineral water from Monterrey, which is said to have cured an Aztec princess of a sickness no doctors could treat.
Another hypothesis contends that the beverage’s name comes from the popular Bourbon and Branch cocktail, now more widely known as Bourbon and Branch Water. President Lyndon B. Johnson is credited with drinking the cocktail once a day. It is made of bourbon and cool, flat water and served in a highball glass. Given that the Bourbon and Branch Water is consumed with flat water, it’s possible that ranchers in West Texas named their carbonated water and tequila concoctions the Ranch Waters during the LBJ administration. Many Texans remember drinking ranch waters without even knowing the cocktail’s actual name. It wasn’t until 2010 that the rumored “Ranch Water” beverage was added to the renowned White Buffalo Bar.
Ranch Water has been consumed by several individuals over the years in a variety of ways. When Kevin Williamson used Topo Chico to top off the Margarita he was consuming, he claims that this is when he came up with his variation. Ranch 616 is an Austin restaurant and bar. Later, he changed the recipe, using silver tequila instead of gold reposado, and added fresh lime juice. Even a tiny bit of orange cordial is added to his version to give it a stronger flavor. To provide customers the choice to customize the intensity of their drink, Williamson serves his rendition of the Ranch Water in a glass with tequila, lime juice, and orange cordial.
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