Growing up and living in Michigan, I have a huge blind spot when it comes to southern food and drink traditions.
One of those things that I had no idea about is a cocktail called Ranch Water.
Where I come from, Ranch Water sounds like watered down ranch dressing that is served at a Coney Island restaurant, but in the south, and it seems specifically Texas, Ranch Water is a cold and refreshing cocktail, that includes tequila, lime and a Topo Chico.
Learning what a Topo Chico is was also a new experience. I’ve had the hard seltzers called Topo Chico (my favorite hard seltzer by a mile), but there are also non-alcoholic Topo Chicos, that is a mineral water. I’m not 100% sure if Ranch Waters are made with the hard seltzer or the regular seltzer, but I’m assuming it’s the latter.
Apparently, Ranch Water dates back to the late ‘80s. The owner of a bar and restaurant in Austin, Texas claims to have invented and named the cocktail back then.
A friend of mine traveled to Texas recently, and they were shocked at how many bars and restaurants had Ranch Waters on their menus. Once he told me about this, I knew I had to try it. I couldn’t find any of the original Topo Chicos at any stores in Michigan, so I decided to make the cocktail with the hard seltzer.
It may not have been a true Ranch Water, but wow did I love it. I love tequila, so I kind of had a feeling I would like it anyway.
I filled my cocktail glass to the top with ice, added about two ounces of tequila, and topped the rest of it with the Topo Chico. For my Ranch Water, I used the lemon flavor, because I thought it would go nicely with the tequila. Once I added the Topo Chico, I squeezed in some fresh limes, and I was set!
It’s honestly the perfect summer cocktail right now. The lime juice and bubbles are refreshing, and they do a nice job of masking the tequila. Even if you’re not a fan of tequila, I’d still recommend this drink.
I’m hoping to get my hands on some regular Topo Chicos, but until then, I’ll be making this Texas-inspired cocktail for the rest of summer.
Is there a bar or restaurant that you love that makes that best Ranch Water? Let me know in the comments. I want to try an authentic one!