With over 10 years of experience creating cocktails at home, my specialty is putting new twists on classic cocktails. Watermelon ranch water is a must-try cocktail when the weather is heating up. This refreshing and simple cocktail is perfect for those hot summer days when you need something cool and flavorful to sip on. Using just three ingredients, including watermelon infused tequila and Topo Chico, you can create a beverage that is both easy to make and full of refreshing watermelon flavor.
Think of it like a tequila soda. Regular ranch water is made using tequila blanco, lime juice, and Topo Chico. This variation is super flavorful thanks to the watermelon infused tequila. It has a wonderful fresh and flavorful watermelon twist. The best part is, if you want to add a little sweetness, you can add in a bit of watermelon simple syrup.Jump to Recipe
💕 why you'll love this watermelon ranch water recipe
🍉 mega melon flavor. If you like watermelon, you’ll love this melon-forward cocktail.
🤌 simple & uncomplicated. You won’t need to worry about being taken away from your friends or party guests with this recipe. It’s so easy to make that you can whip it up in a matter of minutes.
☀️ summertime classic - ranch water is one of the classic tequila cocktails during the heat of summer, or when you’re craving warmer days. This cocktail works because the sweetness of the watermelon balances well with the tart lime juice. It truly brings the summer vibes!
- watermelon infused tequila - the base of this cocktail is watermelon infused tequila. Once you infuse a batch of tequila using fresh watermelon, it serves as the foundation for this simple and flavorful cocktail. If you don’t have time to infuse your own tequila, you can muddle some watermelon with tequila in a pinch. Check out the recipe card for this variation.
- limes - you’ll need fresh lime juice for this drink. Ranch water is not complex in flavors, so using the freshest ingredients possible is key. Take a look at the tips below for choosing the best limes. Limes are notorious for being sour, especially when they are nearing the end of their lifespan. You can also grab a few extra limes so you can garnish the cocktails with fresh lime wedges.
- Topo Chico - this one is non-negotiable among ranch water purists. Topo Chico is a mineral water that is made in Mexico, and it is super popular in the state of Texas, where ranch water is said to originate. If you can’t find Topo Chico, you can use another sparkling mineral water, and I promise I won’t tell. 😜 I do not recommend using tonic water in place of mineral water though, because the flavor will be very different. You can use seltzer water or club soda as an alternative, though.
- ice - ice is a necessity for this cocktail as well. It is not shaken, but stirred, over ice. Use larger cubes if you want the ice to melt slower, or try making clear ice for a really impressive presentation. I also love freezing fruit in the ice cubes to serve as an extra “flavor clue” to guests.
- watermelon slices - using watermelon as a garnish is an optional extra, but I love to use garnishes as flavor cues for cocktails.
🍋 how to choose the best limes
Citrus is tricky because you can’t tell how sour it’s going to be until you slice into it and juice it. Or can you?! Limes are notorious for being unpredictable in flavor, so it’s important to try to choose the best limes from the start. Like lemons and other citrus, limes do not continue to ripen after they are picked. Once you harvest them, they will start to deteriorate.
- weight - if a lime feels relatively heavy for its size, that’s a good indicator that it is full of juice. If it feels lighter, it may be dried out.
- feel - a ripe lime should have a bit of give to it when you gently squeeze it. If it is hard as a rock and almost impossible to squeeze, it’s likely past the prime of lime. The skin should be softer and more supple, not hard and rough like lizard skin. 🦖
- smell - give the lime a sniff! You can even gently scratch the surface (yes, like a scratch and sniff!) and if it smells citrusy, it’s a good sign that it is ripe.
- color - this indicator is tricky because limes vary in color from green to yellowish green. The one telltale color you want to avoid, though, is brown. Brown spots are a sign of spoilage. Darker green limes can tend to have more acidity to them. This is because limes actually turn yellowish green as they ripen on the tree!
Step 1: As an optional garnish, you can brush watermelon simple syrup on your cocktail glass and press it into some homemade lime salt.
Step 2: Fill your preferred cocktail glass with ice. For an extra special cocktail, use watermelon ice cubes.
Step 3: Pour in 2 ounces of watermelon infused tequila.
Step 4: Juice 1 lime per cocktail, to get 1 ounce of fresh lime juice.
Step 5: Add the lime juice to the watermelon tequila.
Step 6: Top the tequila-lime mixture with Topo Chico, until the glass is full.
Step 7: Garnish with a watermelon or a dehydrated lime wheel.
Step 8: Serve immediately.
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🍽️ serving tips
This cocktail is perfect for a hot summer night or a warm spring afternoon, for that matter. Here are a few serving variations:
- for a party - serve this cocktail in a pitcher for a party! Add the base of the watermelon tequila and lime juice to the pitcher, then allow each guest to top their drink with mineral water to their preference.
- as a mocktail - you can make a ranch water mocktail if you don’t drink, or if you have friends or family who want to join in the fun without drinking. It’s also a great mocktail for kids! Muddle fresh watermelon cubes with lime juice, then top with Topo Chico for a mocktail!
- garnish - get creative with your garnishes! You can rim the glass with homemade lime salt for a little extra flavor. I also love freezing fruit into ice cubes as a fun flavor clue for guests! This is called a “flavor echo!” Alternatively, you can garnish each glass with a slice of watermelon or a fresh lime wedge!
ℹ️ troubleshooting tips
Even though this watermelon ranch water is a simple-to-make cocktail, it’s possible things can go wonky flavor-wise.
- too sour or bitter - if your cocktail is too sour, chances are your limes were very acidic. Add in some more mineral water (or watermelon infused tequila 😜) to balance things out. You can also add in 0.5 - 1 ounce of watermelon simple syrup or agave.
- not enough flavor - if your ranch water doesn’t have much flavor, that’s okay! It’s actually supposed to be a mild cocktail. But, if you want more flavor, you can add more lime juice or more tequila!
⚖️ Scaling Tips
It’s super easy to scale this recipe up for a party!
- Mix the base of watermelon tequila and lime juice for as many cocktails as you’ll need. You can even pour the mix in a pitcher a few hours in advance. I do not recommend storing lime juice more than 48 hours though as it tends to get sour quickly.
- Add the mineral water to the cocktails just before serving, to maintain maximum bubbles!
🔆 top tip
If you don’t have time to make watermelon infused tequila, you can muddle together some fresh watermelon and tequila, then strain the watermelon pulp out of the mixture.
If you have the time, you can muddle watermelon cubes and allow them to steep in the tequila for a few hours before you need to make the drinks. Then, strain the pulp out before serving.
Missing an ingredient? No problem. Check out these tried-and-true substitutions, or comment below with your question. I’m here to help you troubleshoot!
- use a different tequila - instead of using watermelon tequila, you can use a different variety like reposado tequila or añejo tequila. You don’t need to use the best tequila you can find, but I wouldn’t go under $25 for a bottle. If you opt to use a gold tequila or aged tequila like reposado or añejo, the flavor will be much more pronounced.
- citrus - use lemons, oranges, or grapefruit instead of lime for a different citrus twist.
Feeling like a rebel?! 😈 Feel free to stray from the recipe card using these variations, or leave me a comment with your own!
- spicy - add a few slices of jalapeño for a watermleon-jalapeño kick!
- sweet - add in 0.5 - 1 ounce of watermelon simple syrup to sweeten up this cocktail, while also amping up the watermelon flavor!
- skinny margarita - for a cocktail that has more of a “margarita” vibe, add in a splash of orange liqueur. You can use up to an ounce of Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or triple sec!
🧰 equipment needed
- cocktail glass - ranch water is traditionally served in a highball glass. You can use any cocktail glass you have with at least a 12 ounce capacity. Of course, if you prefer your drink to be short rather than tall, and therefore stronger, you can use a smaller rocks glass. Since I like to garnish this cocktail with a watermelon slice, I like to use a wider glass than a highball glass. This makes it easier to drink the cocktail since the slice of watermelon fits better on a wider glass.
- cocktail spoon - a cocktail mixing spoon will help you give things a quick stir in the glass.
Since this cocktail is made with effervescent mineral water, it is best to enjoy it shortly after making it. These ingredients don’t hold up well to extended storage after you combine them.
Ranch water is a tequila-based cocktail that is said to be invented in Texas. Because of this, it is sometimes called Texas ranch water.
Ranch water contains only three ingredients: tequila blanco, lime juice, and mineral water. Because of this, the ingredients you use greatly impact the flavor. It is a very tequila and lime forward cocktail. You can dilute the flavors by adding more mineral water, though, or by using tequila that is infused, like with this watermelon ranch water variation.
Tequila blanco works best, because it’s the lightest in flavor, but I love using infused tequilas as well like this watermelon infused tequila.
Yes! Topo Chico is usually the one non-negotiable for ranch water, because it’s truly what is associated with the cocktail. In a pinch, you can use another mineral water, but it won’t truly be a ranch water in purist’s eyes.
Traditionally, tequila blanco (or silver tequila) is the best choice. Because ranch water has so few ingredients, it’s important to use a nice quality tequila. You definitely don’t need to go top of the line, but I don’t recommend spending less than $25 for a bottle of tequila.
If your ranch water is sour, chances are the limes were pretty acidic. Add in some simple syrup to balance things out. You can also add some Grand Marnier, or triple sec liqueur, to sweeten things up.
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Watermelon Ranch Water
- 1 cocktail glass
- 2 ounces watermelon infused tequila
- 1 ounce lime juice
- 6 ounces Topo Chico Sparkling Mineral Water
- As an optional garnish, you can rim your glass using simple syrup and homemade lime salt.
- Fill your chosen cocktail glass with ice.
- Pour in 2 ounces of watermelon infused tequila.
- Add 1 ounce of lime juice to the cocktail glass.
- Give the mix a stir with a cocktail spoon.
- Top the tequila-lime mixture with Topo Chico, until the glass is full.
- Garnish with a watermelon slice or dehydrated lime wheel.
- Serve immediately.
🧯food safety & other information
Food safety is an important ingredient in any recipe for success! Here are some tips to keep you safe in the kitchen!
- Always enjoy alcohol responsibly, and never give alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age. For more information about responsible alcohol consumption, click here.