5 Authentic Tequila Cocktails That People in Mexico Actually Drink

Mixologist Alex Valencia, from the Jalisco region of Mexico himself, wanted to create “real” Mexican cocktails.

Photo by: Andrew Kist

Andrew Kist

As Cinco de Mayo celebrations gear up today in the United States, so does the imbibing of frozen lime margaritas. But in actuality, the margarita is hardly Mexican in origin, and the Fifth is not as widely celebrated in Mexico as it is in the United States.

Mixologist Alex Valencia, from the Jalisco region of Mexico himself, wanted to create “real” Mexican cocktails, inspired by his own personal history as well as some local insight into how tequila is actually enjoyed in the country.

Tepache Kid

Tepache, a traditional fermented pineapple drink in Mexico, has been consumed for hundreds of years — older than the actual country itself. This recipe embodies the history and traditions of our ancestors. My whole family used to drink tepache. Friends and I would enjoy it from the bicycle street vendor in front of my school before we’d go inside for class. It has deep roots in our culture, which was the inspiration behind creating this original recipe.

2 parts Tres Ag aves Añejo
1 part pineapple puree

1 part tamarind syrup (tamarind paste mixed with equal parts refined sugar and water)

2 dash Angostura bitters

Pour all ingredients into the shaker with ice; shake and strain on the rocks and garnish with pineapple wedge.

Jalisco Express

This cocktail was created and named in honor of the Tequila Express train in Jalisco, Mexico which took people to the agave fields in the lowlands of the Jalisco region.

2 parts Tres Agaves Blanco
3/4 parts lime juice
3/4 parts Tres Agaves Agave Syrup
1 slice of jalapeño (no seeds)
2 cucumber slices
Pinch of basil (6-8 small leaves)

Place basil first, then jalapeño and cucumber slices in shaker; add agave syrup and muddle. Add in rest of the ingredients and ice. Shake, double strain and serve over ice in lowball glass; garnish with a Tajin rim.

Mr. Agave & Ms. Tuna

This is a variation of the margarita; la tuna (prickly pear) is wildly harvested and eaten throughout Mexico and even in parts of the USA. You can see the cactus pear present on the Mexican flag, and it’s also the national fruit. The inspiration behind this spicy margarita cocktail is the love Mexicans have for indulging in anything spicy.

2 parts Tres Agaves Blanco
6 drops of habanero-infused tequila
3/4 parts lime juice
1/2 part prickly pear puree (such as Boiron)
3/4 parts Tres Agaves Agave Syrup

Add all ingredients in the shaker; add ice, shake and strain in coupe or martini glass.

El Gavilan

This is a variation on the classic Mexican cocktail, the Paloma. In Mexico, there’s a famous song which is named "Gavilan o Paloma" (sparrow or dove). This drink was named in tribute of the popular drink and song.

2 parts Tres Agaves Reposado
1/2 part grapefruit juice
3/4 parts lime juice
3/4 parts demerara syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
Mexican grapefruit soda (such as Squirt or Jarritos)

Add all ingredients except soda in the shaker; add ice, shake and strain over ice. Top off with Mexican soda and garnish with lime wheel; serve in highball glass.


This traditional Mexican drink incorporates a riff on the classic sangrita, but instead of the tequila and mix served side by side, it’s blended together and topped off with grapefruit soda.

1 1/2 parts Tres Agaves Tequila Reposado
5 parts sangrita*
1/2 part lime juice
Mexican grapefruit soda (such as Squirt or Jarritos)

Build the drink in the glass by first putting the tequila in the glass, then add the sangrita mix and top off with grapefruit soda; stir ingredients together in highball glass and garnish with grapefruit wheel.

*To make the sangrita, blend together the following ingredients: pinch of salt, hot sauce, the juice of 1 orange, the juice of 4 limes, the juice of 2 grapefruits and a touch of ground black pepper.

Photo: Tres Agaves
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