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
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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Azalea Margarita
With: Blanco tequila, triple sec, pineapple juice, lime juice, and grenadine.
We say: Grenadine adds a delicate pomegranate note to this well-balanced Pineapple Margarita.

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Bermondsey Minute
With: Reposado tequila, aged sweet vermouth, 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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Cadáver Reviver
With: Blanco tequila, triple sec, aromatised wine, lemon juice, and absinthe.
We say: The tequila and triple sec combo make this Corpse Reviver remarkably Margarita-like, but with additional complexity.

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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 a few tweaks," including falernum which adds complex spiced sweetness to balance lemon (rather than lime).

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Corpse Reviver No.4
With: Absinthe, reposado tequila, aromatised wine, 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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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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Dead Man's Handle
With: Blanco tequila, Italian aperitivo, lime juice, and orgeat syrup.
We say: Tequila charged, delicately bittersweet undertones nestle with rich almond notes.

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Ernest + Rita
With: Blanco tequila, elderflower liqueur, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and sugar cane syrup.
We say: A relatively low-alcohol, floral, grapefruit-laced and aperitivo-style Margarita.

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Last Palabra
With: Reposado tequila, Green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, lavender syrup, lime juice, and lavender bitters.
We say: Tequila replaces gin in this Last Word riff with the amount of maraschino reduced to accommodate the introduction of lavender syrup, in turn is also balanced by a dash of lavender bitters.

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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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New York Minute
With: Reposado tequila, aged sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, sugar syrup, and whisky barrel-aged bitters.
We say: Honeyed tequila and aromatic maraschino with complex herbal vinous notes.

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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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Paloma
With: Blanco tequila, pink grapefruit juice, lime juice, agave syrup, and pink grapefruit soda.
We say: Reminiscent of a long fruity Margarita with refreshing effervescence.

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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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Rosalia Margarita
With: Blanco tequila, Italian bitter red liqueur, lemon juice, and rose syrup.
We say: Delicately bittersweet with balancing citrus sourness and rich floral rose which combine brilliantly with tequila's agave notes.

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Silk Stocking
With: Blanco tequila, white crème de cacao, grenadine, and cream.
We say: so smoooooooth but with a bite of tequila and hints of chocolate and fruit.

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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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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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