What Is Ranch Water? (And Why Is It So Hot Right Now?)

updated May 20, 2020
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Ranch Water

Put down your can of White Claw, and forget about rosé — the drink you’re going to be sipping on this summer is ranch water. Don’t let the name mislead you: The beverage doesn’t have anything to do with salad dressing. It’s actually a Texas-style treat that’s been skyrocketing in popularity around the country, as the three-ingredient, low-alcohol sipper catches on with folks looking for something easy to make, and even easier to enjoy from the comforts of their own porch.

What Is Ranch Water?

At its core, ranch water is only lime juice, tequila, and sparkling water. In her recipe for ranch water, The Defined Dish says the ratios of the ingredients are based on preference (but she enjoys two parts tequila to one part lime juice). You can use any kind of tequila you like in this recipe, but you have to use Topo Chico for the sparkling water. It’s the only essential element for the recipe. “The excessively bubbly Topo Chico mineral water is what makes the drink — and no other sparkling water works here. It’s just not bubbly enough and does not do the trick,” The Defined Dish explains.

Topo Chico is everywhere in Texas, so it makes sense that this would be the sparkling water of choice for ranch water. National distribution of Topo Chico only recently started to ramp up. Even three years ago, it could be hard to find a bottle for sale in your average grocery stores in Seattle or St. Louis. In late 2017, though, Coca-Cola purchased Topo Chico, and with their distribution power, the beloved water made its way around the country.

Why Is Ranch Water So Popular Right Now?

In the last month or so, Google Trends show that searches for ranch water have absolutely skyrocketed, but it’s nothing new if you’re from Texas. In her blog post, The Defined Dish explains that this recipe is so common in Texas and so simple that locals might be wondering why she’d even bother to post about it. Well, for the rest of the country, this is all new.

Austin food writer Paula Forbes, who called the drink “basically a highball with a Texas accent” in her GQ piece on it, also points out that the drink doesn’t have that much alcohol, and does have a combination of ice, water, and lime juice that’s ultimately extremely refreshing. It’s the perfect drink to sip on outside, and it’s hard to mess up. What more do you want from a summer drink?

Now that Topo Chico is everywhere, anyone can fill a tall glass with ice, add a shot or two of tequila, squeeze in a half to a full lime’s worth of juice, and top it off with the Topo Chico. Suddenly, ranch water has a national audience. Because even if you’re not actually on a ranch, it seems like a pretty strong way to start your hot-weather cocktailing.

Try a recipe: How to Make Ranch Water from The Defined Dish