The Tequila and Soda Is Coming for Hard Seltzer's Throne
Agave, sparkling soda and a touch of citrus. What's not to love?
It’s National Tequila Day. Is that a real holiday? Not really. Is it a good excuse to drink tequila nonetheless? Of course, not that you needed one.
While I’d usually suggest sipping something elevated today, it’s so damn hot out that you should try the most fun, simple and refreshing drink in the agave canon: the tequila and soda.
Don’t roll your eyes. First, when I say tequila and soda, I’m not discussing palomas or batangas — tequila with either grapefruit soda or Coke and lime will always make for a fantastically easy hot weather drink.
I initially thought the combination of tequila and carbonated water sounded like only a small step up from the deservedly maligned vodka and soda (the world’s dullest drink) and even a step down from a skinny margarita, which is at least trying to imbue flavor.
But I’ve been shown the light by — surprise — several new tequila-and-soda canned cocktails that mix convenience with actual refreshment. Each of these ready-to-drink cans (or RTDs) takes the two-ingredient T&S concept just a bit further, so you’re not just imbibing a diluted agave tipple. You’re getting something — to steal a beer term — sessionable and light without hiding the grassy agave notes of the tequila (and with an added hint of citrus). Plus, it’s a solid 7% ABV per can without sugar or carbs, giving you a nice buzz with a little less guilt.
“For our tequila soda, we were inspired by one of our go-to bar drinks, which goes by the name of ‘ranch water’ in the Southwest,” explains Yussef Cherney, the co-founder and Master Distiller at San Diego’s Cutwater Spirits (recently purchased by Anheuser-Busch). “That’s a simple cocktail made from tequila, soda water and lime. We wanted to create a high-quality and convenient version in a can with our own tequila.”
It helps that Cutwater — which releases nearly 20 different RTDs that cover classic vodka, rum, tequila and whiskey cocktails — also crafts their own line of spirits, which they use as their base ingredient in their canned drinks. (On the tequila side, they also have canned margaritas and palomas.)
As to why this is better than just pouring your own soda into tequila: it’s not only about the tequila, but also the carbonation. “To reach the high carbonation we need requires a proprietary process,” Cherney says. If you don’t have access to Cutwater’s cans (or their proprietary process), an alternative is to mix your tequila with Topo Chico, a beloved sparkling mineral water from Mexico that makes up the “ranch water” drink Cherney was inspired by. Add a sea salt or tangy/spicy Tajin rim and you’ve got a new summer classic.
A few other tequila-and-soda RTDs we dig, most of which just launched this summer and are available for direct purchase online …
A 100% blue agave tequila and seltzer with organic juices available in four flavors. It’s designed to be a more natural, agave-forward take on hard seltzer.
Easily the best looking of the tequila RTDs, the two flavors of this sparkling tequila beverage (which has actress Shay Mitchell as “Chief Brand Officer”) are ridiculously refreshing — and the grapefruit variation is a fizzier and lighter paloma alternative.
This one’s a little different; it’s five canned spirits (American whiskey, gin, blanco tequila, Caribbean rum, vodka) and five canned non-alcoholic mixers (margarita, Ginger Mule, Island Punch, tonic and soda water) in a pack that you mix and match.
A fizzy drink made of 100% blue agave tequila, sparkling water, agave nectar and fruit juice (with a touch of salt, which is a secret key ingredient). Their drinks arrive with a welcome hint of social conscience, too.