It’s ranch water season. The simple and wildly refreshing cocktail shows best during the dog days of summer, when it’s piping hot and you need a drink in hand, sometimes even before it’s officially happy hour.
To be clear, Ranch Water is nothing fussy. It’s quite simply a mix of soda water, tequila (or a neutral sugar spirit, in the case of some canned versions), and citrus. Because on a sweltering day there’s really no need for a contemplative cocktail. What you want is pure, revitalizing goodness, with a kick of alcohol to keep you smiling.
Whether you’re gluten-intolerant, watching your waistband, or just thirsty, ranch water is a compelling beverage. Unlike a heavy stout beer or a big and bold red wine, this sprightly drink is built for the heat. It’s like water, only more interesting, and ranch-ier.
This is a drink worth stocking up on as it’s medicine for the next inevitable heatwave. Clear a shelf in your fridge or bust out your biggest cooler and ice, here are the five best canned options, ready to be guzzled.
Lone River makes a delightful and bracing ranch water, hit with key lime juice and some salt. There’s organic agave nectar to round things out, too. The original is a go-to, but the brand also makes three other options — prickly pear, spicy, and red grapefruit.
The new ranch water offering from beloved Texas brewery Karbach is worth the wait. It’s a balanced number, dialed-in at 4.5% ABV, and crushable morning, afternoon, or evening. And, as the brewery suggests, it’s not only great on blisteringly hot days, but alongside dishes like ceviche, fajitas, and chips and guac.
Based in Austin, Ranch Rider Spirits offers easily the best looking can of Ranch Water. Made with reposado tequila, sparkling water, and lime, it comes in at just 119 calories, meaning you can throw ’em back like nobody’s watching. In addition to the standard, it makes some great vodka seltzers as well as a Paloma.
This take on the drink is less session-able at 10% ABV but packed with flavor. The tequila, crafted in Jalisco, works wonderfully with the mineral water here. It’s perhaps the most authentic version of the drink, given the nature and quality of the base spirit and the end result, albeit a little hot in terms of alcohol content. Pour Epic Western over ice and stretch a few cans out all afternoon long.
Ranch water was born in Texas so it’s no wonder yet another Lone Star producer is on the list. Cantina makes a tidy one, a little tart and a little briny. The alcohol content is on par with a pale ale or lager but it’s much trimmer in terms of caloric content. You’ll enjoy sipping it as much or more as placing an ice-cold can on your forehead as the mercury rises.
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