Essential Liqueurs for the Perfect Tequila Cocktail -
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Essential Liqueurs for the Perfect Tequila Cocktail


Looking to up the ante on your homemade tequila cocktails? Here are five essential liqueurs to round out the bar cart. (Photo: Ancho Reyes)

If you’re a home mixologist, there’s a good chance you have a bottle of orange liqueur like Cointreau sitting on the shelf for your perfect margarita. But what of the many, many other liqueurs that you’ll find behind the counter at a tequila bar?

Here, we’ve put together a list of essential liqueurs that you’ll find repeated again and again in tequila and mezcal cocktail recipes across the Internet. Most can be nabbed for under $40.

Ancho Reyes (Chile Liqueur)


Invented in 2012, Ancho Reyes is a newer addition to the liqueur landscape but one that has quickly established itself as a staple among gourmet bartenders. Made from dried poblano peppers in Puebla City, Mexico, Ancho Reyes brings a subdued spice alongside darkened flavors of chocolate and cinnamon.

It’s a great addition to any “spicy” cocktail and regularly makes an appearance in the Mezcal Tini, Little Devil and Maria Verde.

Find Ancho Reyes at Total Wine.

Pamplemousse (Pink Grapefruit Liqueur)


It probably goes without saying that grapefruit liqueur works perfectly in many a tequila cocktail.

The sky is the limit — whether you’re making an extra boozy Paloma, Cantarito or Cazuela Voladora, grapefruit and tequila are time-honored best friends that work in pretty much any context. Unlike some of the other liqueurs on this list, Pamplemousse is easy to experiment with in your own homemade concoctions and will rarely disappoint.

Find Pamplemousse at Total Wine.

Campari (Bitter Herb Liqueur)


First invented in 1860, Campari and its little sibling Aperol are currently having their moment in the spotlight. Between The White Lotus, the TikTok-favorite Negroni Sbagliato and more, bitter red aperitifs have unexpectedly become viral sensations to the ire of bartenders across the country.

Naturally, Campari makes for an excellent ingredient in the Tequila Negroni. If you’re looking to change things up beyond the trends, you might also consider mixing it into a Rosita, Aperitini or grapefruit-tinged Siesta. It’s a spice-heavy acquired taste for sure, but a fan-favorite for good reason.

Find Campari at Total Wine.

St. Germain (Elderflower Liqueur)


The sweet, peachy flavor of elderflower liqueur is likely a key ingredient in your favorite pastel-hued cocktail. Often said to carry a similar flavor profile as lychee, this is a crowd-pleasing addition that can easily be sipped by itself.

Popular cocktail picks include the Flor de Piña, the St. Germain Margarita and the Champagne-twisted Jalisco Flower.

Find St. Germain Liqueur at Total Wine.

Crème de Cassis (Blackcurrant Liqueur)


Another centuries-old European liqueur, crème de cassis is said to have been invented in 1841 by French winemakers in Burgundy. The concoction is made from macerated black currants, lending it a darkly sweet flavor right at home in blackberry, blueberry and pomegranate cocktails.

By far the most famous crème de cassis-based tequila cocktail is the El Diablo, but other picks include the Mexico Rose and the Chimayó. If you’re feeling adventurous and have some spare time on your hands, crème de cassis is also an ingredient in the elaborate boozy dessert that is Texas Fruit Sorbet.

Find Crème de Cassis at Whiskey Caviar.

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Pedro Wolfe is the managing editor of Tequila Raiders. With several years of experience writing for the New York Daily News and the Foothills Business Daily under his belt, Pedro aims to combine quality reviews and recipes with incisive articles on the cutting edge of the tequila world. Pedro has traveled to the heartland of the spirits industry in Tequila, Mexico, and has conducted interviews with agave spirits veterans throughout Mexico, South Africa and California. Through this diverse approach, Tequila Raiders aims to celebrate not only tequila but the rich tapestry of agave spirits that spans mezcal, raicilla, bacanora, pulque and so much more.