Monday is designated National Tequila Day. But lately, tequila has been having its day regularly in the U.S.
The spirit, made from Weber blue agave plant in certain parts of Mexico, has been on the rise over the past several years, with U.S. sales up 7.3% in 2022, and up 6% so far this year, according to Bump Williams Consulting of Shelton, Connecticut, which services the alcoholic beverage industry and uses NielsenIQ data.
Canned cocktails such as Jose Cuervo Sparkling Margaritas and tequila-infused seltzers from popular brands such as High Noon and Topo Chico have become the latest go-to in the surging ready-to-drink category, too.
So, why not celebrate with a National Tequila Day, even if there’s no historical significance to the date.
‘A great handmade margarita, it’s the best drink on the planet’
If there’s a National Tequila Day parade, well, its grand marshal would likely be Sammy Hagar.
The Red Rocker and one-time Van Halen lead singer founded Cabo Wabo tequila in the late ’90s and sold it to the Campari Group for nearly $100 million a decade later. Then, in 2017, Hagar brought to market Santo Mezquila, an 80-proof blend of mezcal and tequila (tequila is actually a type of mezcal made from blue agave).
Since then, Hagar has expanded the Santo lineup with a blanco tequila in 2019, then two years later, a reposado aged four to five months in American oak bourbon barrels. He and partner celebrity chef Guy Fieri have also just brought to market a Santo Tequila Añejo ($74.98), which is aged 24 months.
Tequila has “grown so big because so many people can tolerate it now,” Hagar told USA TODAY. And, there’s the margarita, of course. “A great handmade margarita, it’s the best drink on the planet.”
The super-hot premium tequila trend has fueled in part by celebrity brands, which Hagar says that does get consumers to try tequila.
He says some brands use additives such as sugar and coconut flavors “to make it taste better. … We make real tequila and it should be additive-free.” Consumers’ palates are changing and that’s driving the thirst for tequila – and quality will ultimately win out, he says. “But everybody has to start somewhere,” Hagar said.
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For your National Tequila Day observance, here are some deals, recipes and drinks to try.
Casa Dragones’ free shipping on National Tequila Day
For National Tequila Day, you can get complimentary shipping with code DRAGONES at casadragones.com.
The Austin-headquartered Tex-Mex restaurant chain Chuy’s has drink specials all day Monday including $5 top shelf tequila, $1 floaters to top off your drink, a limited time frozen raspberry margarita and $5 chips ‘n’ dips from 3-6 p.m.
TGI Fridays’ Dragon Fruit Margarita, plus $5 Tequila Sunrise
Drop into your favorite TGI Fridays for some special tequila cocktails including a Dragon Fruit Margarita or opt for a $4 Tequila Sunrise. There’s also a selection of other $4 cocktails, $2 beers and $5 wines. And when you dine-in, you can get $3 off any appetizer and get free chips and salsa.
Dad Water: A new way to enjoy tequila
One of the latest ready-to-drink cocktails is Dad Water, from the Indiana start-up that launched Mom Water, a line of non-carbonated fruity vodka drinks in 2019. Dad Water has several flavors: Lime & Tequila, Grapefruit & Tequila, Blood Orange & Tequila, and Pineapple Jalapeno & Tequila. Each 12-ounce can ($19.99, 8-can variety pack) weighs in with 5.25% alcohol by volume, 100 calories with no carbonation, carbs or sugar.
Guzman Y Gomez
You can get $3 frozen margaritas all day Monday at the three Illinois restaurants.
La Barca Cantina
Keep the tequila celebration going into the week at La Barca Cantina, the New York City cruising Mexican restaurant. Get $10 margaritas and half off tequila flights Tuesday to Thursday this week. Cruises start at 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Macayo’s margarita deal for National Tequila Day
The Arizona-based restaurant chain, which claims to be have founded the chimichanga, has $7 margarita flights on Monday.
Margaritas extends the National Tequila Day celebration all week
If you can’t celebrate Monday, Margaritas has you covered through Sunday with $2 upgrades to Casamigos Blanco tequila – it’s the brand George Clooney and friends sold in 2017 for up to $1 billion. Haven’t tried all of Casamigos’ tequilas? Margaritas has $16 tequila flights as a special, too.
MARGS: Another ready-to-drink margarita option
A fairly new line of canned cocktails, MARGS ($12.99, four-pack) tout only natural base ingredients: premium tequila, triple sec, sparkling water, and 5-6 grams of cane sugar. Margarita flavors include classic, mango, mezcal, spicy and coconut.
Naked Taco pouring $8.88 margaritas for National Tequila Day
The South Florida restaurants will be pouring $8.88 margaritas on Monday and Tuesday. That’s in addition to daily happy hour session of 3-6 p.m. and all-day specials for Taco Tuesday.
On the Border
The Dallas-headquartered Mexican casual dining chain is serving up $5.99 house margaritas and $9.99 Marky Margs, made with “Marky Marg,” featuring Mark Wahlberg’s Flecha Azul Tequila. Also available: $1.29 Meltdowns (a shot of your favorite tequila or liqueur added to your drink, plus ½ off appetizers all day.
Social Taco has a margarita special for National Tequila Day
Get a margarita made your way – house, spicy or frozen – for $6 all day on Monday at the East Peoria, Illinois restaurant.
Someburros has half off margaritas for National Tequila Day
This Arizona restaurant chain on Monday has half off all margaritas including its limited-time mango margarita.
How is tequila made? Everything to know about the spirit
Tacodeli’s canned tequila cocktail special
Get a bucket of Epic Western canned tequila cocktails, a $50 value for $35, at this regional Texas restaurant chain.
Adam Levine’s Calirosa tequila’s ‘Let’s Go Party, Barbie’ cocktail
Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine his wife Behati Prinsloo invested in the Real family distillery in Jalisco, Mexico and brought to market Calirosa tequilas, which are aged in California red wine barrels. Here’s a timely recipe from the distiller.
Kendall Jenner, Kevin Hart and more: We’re in the era of celebrity-backed booze
Sammy Hagar tells you how to taste tequila, improve your margarita
The first time you taste a tequila, “I like to put a little touch of salt on the end of my tongue … just to clear your palate because if you’ve been chewing gum or you’ve eaten pizza or whatever. Unless you’ve been eating chips and salsa, which is cool. Then you don’t need it,” Hagar said. “So you can really taste the tequila properly. Salt first, then I never do it again. I like salted on a margarita but not a lot.”
A tip to change up your margarita: Always use a blanco tequila. And try adding a splash of tangerine juice into your margarita shaker or a slice of orange peel. And, of course, some Santo Mezquila. “Mezcal goes much better with orange, in my opinion, than lime,” says Hagar, who also has Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum and Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail canned cocktails .
Cazadores Café coffee liqueur offers a tequila alternative
Just now hitting stores, Cazadores Café is a tequila-based coffee liqueur made with Cazadores Blanco tequila, coffee and agave nectar. It can be sipped straight over ice or in cocktails such as an espresso martini.
Herradura Ultra’s Sandia Fresca made with fresh watermelon juice
Here’s a National Tequila Day cocktail that mixes something aged and something fresh. The Sandia Fresca is made with Herradura Ultra, an añejo tequila aged up to four years, and freshly squeezed watermelon juice.
- 2 parts Tequila Herradura
- 1 part fresh watermelon juice
- ½ mezcal joven
- ½ fresh lime juice
- ¼ part agave nectar
Combine all ingredients and shake with ice to chill. Pour into a rock glass and garnish with a peel of watermelon.
Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila makes cocktails with ReserveBar
Kendall Jenner and her mom, Kris Jenner recently posted a cocktail making video in preparation for National Tequila Day, creating new twists on cocktails – the Cosmopolitan, the Tom Collins and the Old Fashioned – using Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila. Limited edition cocktail kits are available on ReserveBar.com.
If you can’t get a cocktail kit, here’s a recipe from 818 Tequila to try your own reimagining of a classic cocktail:
818 Tequila Cosmopolitan
- 1.5 ounce 818 Tequila Blanco
- 0.75 ounce orange liqueur
- 0.75 ounce Cheeky lime juice
- 0.5 ounce Cheeky cranberry syrup
Pour tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and cranberry syrup into a shaker with ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with lime.
LeBron James & co. have a drink recipe for National Tequila Day
Since hitting the market in 2020, Lobos 1707 Tequila has gained some big name partners including LeBron James, Drake, Lindsay Vonn, Issa Rae, Draymond Green and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Here’s a recipe for the Lobos 1707 Tequila: “Lobos Colada”
- 2 oz Lobos 1707 Tequila, Joven
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- 4 oz coconut water
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake for 10 seconds, fill a glass with pebble or crushed ice, pour into a glass with ice, garnish with grated nutmeg, pineapple leaf & pineapple slice (dehydrated or fresh).
Dwayne Johnson’s Teremana tequila
Michael Jordan’s Cincoro Tequila paloma spritz recipe
The paloma is often overlooked in favor of the more popular margarita. But Cincoro Tequila, the premium tequila brand launched in 2019 by Michael Jordan, Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeannie Buss and several other NBA execs, is delivering an assist on National Tequila Day.
Cincoro Paloma Spritz
- 1.5 oz Cincoro Blanco
- 1 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
- 0.5 oz Aperol
- 0.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
- 2 oz Pink Grapefruit Soda
- Top with Prosecco
Combine first five ingredients, stir and serve over ice in a long stemmed wine glass. Top with prosecco and garnish with an orange peel or a grapefruit slice.
JAJA Tequila and Gopuff Delivery team up on a Taquito-rita
Gopuff delivery and JAJA Tequila have teamed up on an over-the-top margarita called the Taquito-rita, made with Delimex Taquitos. You can have the ingredients delivered. If you are in New York, you can order the drink at the Refinery Rooftop from 5-7 p.m. ET. If you want to be an amateur mixologist and try this at home, the recipe, which includes sour cream foam, can be found here.
1800 Tequila Spicy Ranch Water recipe
- 1.5 oz 1800 Cucumber & Jalapeño Tequila
- 3 oz soda water
- Garnish: Tajin Rim, Lime Wheel, Jalapeño Slice
In a tajin-rimmed Collins glass, pour in 1.5 oz of 1800 Cucumber & Jalapeño Tequila. Fill the glass with ice and top with soda water. Quick stir to incorporate ingredients. Garnish with a lime wheel and jalapeño slice.
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.
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