20 best Tequila cocktails

Words by Simon Difford

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With its earthy herbaceous flavours, tequila makes for both a versatile and characterful base spirit in cocktails. Contemporary pairings with tequila include sherry, elderflower, pamplemousse (pink grapefruit) liqueur, gentian liqueur, and my favourite, lavender. Follows my pick of the 20 best tequila cocktails on Difford's Guide, including a few of my own.

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Almond Old Fashioned (tequila based)
With: Reposado tequila, amaretto, agave syrup and orange bitters.
We say: One to please fans of both tequila and the Old Fashioned drinks genre with amaretto adding the headline hint of almond.

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Bermondsey Minute
With: Reposado tequila, Antica Formula, maraschino liqueur and lavender sugar syrup.
We say: Tequila and lavender are a match made in heaven, made more complex with herbal wine notes from the vermouth, aromatised by delicately fruity maraschino cherry.

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Californian Margarita
With: Blanco tequila, triple sec, lemon juice, falernum liqueur and saline solution.
We say: A classic Margarita but with more complex sweetness, and spice.

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Corpse Reviver No.4
With: Absinthe, reposado tequila, Lillet Blanc, triple sec, lemon juice and sugar syrup.
We say: Beautifully balanced with lemon acidity cleansing and offsetting sweet orange with subtle herbal tequila.

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Dama Blanca
With: Blanco tequila, triple sec, lemon juice, agave syrup and egg white.
We say: A delightful drink softened and smoothed by egg white.

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Dried Meadow Flower
With: Reposado tequila, elderflower liqueur, gentian liqueur, lemon juice and soda water.
We say: Floral elderflower and tequila with a hint of bittersweet gentian and refreshing lemon.

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Honey Margarita
With: Reposado tequila, lime juice and honey syrup.
We say: Strictly speaking, this one should be termed a "Honey Tequila Sour" and is very tasty.

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La Perla
With: Reposado tequila, manzanilla sherry and pear liqueur.
We say: Simple yet complex, this is a beautifully balanced cocktail with faint saltiness, delicate pear fruit and fortifying tequila.

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Margarita on the Rocks (Difford's recipe)
With: Reposado tequila, triple sec, lime juice, agave syrup, salt and Difford's Margarita Bitters.
We say: This is how we prefer our Margaritas to be served. Tangy citrus and tequila with a hint of balancing sweetness and a faint salty undertone.

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Marguerite No.2 (modern)
With: Reposado tequila, grapefruit juice, fino sherry and maraschino liqueur.
We say: Tequila laced with rich maraschino balancing sour grapefruit and dry sherry - a very refreshing aperitif.

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Mexico City
With: Reposado tequila, cognac orange liqueur, lime juice, cranberry juice and sugar syrup.
We say: This pinky-red Margarita benefits from a hint of cranberry.

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Oaxaca Old Fashioned
With: Reposado tequila, mezcal, agave syrup and chocolate bitters.
We say: An agave-based old-fashioned with a wonderful hit of smokiness from the mezcal.

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Palo Negro
With: Reposado tequila, palo cortado sherry, dark rum, cognac orange liqueur and demerara sugar syrup.
We say: Tequila, rum, sherry and orange liqueur combine harmoniously in this complex spirit-led, after dinner/late night sipper.

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Pastry War
With: Reposado tequila, mezcal, amaro, elderflower liqueur, lime juice and salt.
We say: Mezcal, amaro, elderflower liqueur and salt add attitude and complexity to this Margarita-styled cocktail.

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With: Reposado tequila, triple sec and lime juice.
We say: The name might be more masculine but it still tastes just like a classic Margarita.

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Picante de la Casa (Soho House Tonic)
With: Red jalapeno, coriander, reposado tequila, agave syrup and lime juice.
We say: Best described as a Tommy's Margarita with added chilli spice and coriander.

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Sandy The Showgirl
With: Añejo tequila, mezcal, maraschino liqueur, agave syrup and lavender bitters
We say: Tequila based with complex mezcal smokiness, rich maraschino cherry and floral lavender bitters. It's a drink that likes dilution so consider serving on the rocks.

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Smokestack Lightning
With: Reposado tequila, Islay single malt Scotch whisky, agave syrup, lime juice and Difford's Margarita Bitters.
We say: Margarita-like with a wisp of Islay smoke.

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The Dante
With: Blanco tequila, green Chartreuse, kummel liqueur, sugar syrup and lime juice.
We say: Citrusy fresh and herbaceous, particularly caraway from the kummel, with tequila providing the backbone.

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Tommy's Margarita
With: Reposado tequila, lime juice, agave syrup and Difford's Margarita Bitters.
We say: The flavour of agave is king in this simple Margarita, made without the traditional orange liqueur.

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