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5 Modern & Classic Agave Cocktails for Cinco de Mayo

Image of a hand holding a tequila based cocktail

Agave’s contribution to the cocktail canon is well-revered. As versatile as it is distinct, agave spirits — like wine — are rooted in terroir, meaning each spirit is defined by its environment. While Tequila is universally known, Mezcal, Raicilla, Bacanora, and Sotol all derive from varietals of the agave plant species.

After distillation, agave spirits are either bottled as is or aged in American or French Oak barrels. From there, their wide-ranging flavors add precious distinction to cocktails worldwide. And given its delicious qualities, it’s no wonder that Tequila and Mezcal are one of the fastest-growing spirits, particularly in the premium and ultra-premium tier, with Tequila expected to surpass Vodka as America’s favorite spirit in the coming years. As more and more consumers choose agave-based spirits over Vodka and Whiskey, their appearance on cocktail menus will only become more ubiquitous.

In celebration of all things agave, we put together a list of five modern and classic agave-based cocktails that you should make at home or order at your favorite bar this upcoming holiday.

Discover Agave Spirits on Provi

El Diablo

This mid-century classic combines Tequila with Crème de Cassis (a sweet blackcurrant liqueur), lime juice and ginger beer. The drink first appeared in “Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink” in 1946 and lists Vic himself as the drink’s creator. There are two ways to construct this drink. One way is to combine all ingredients (except ginger beer) in a cocktail shaker, shake, strain and top with ginger beer. However, our personal favorite is to add Tequila and lime to a Collins glass, add ice, top with ginger beer, and then, placing the back of a bar spoon over the top of the glass, carefully pour the Creme de Cassis to create a “float.” It’s equally delicious as it is visually stunning.


  • 1½ oz. Reposado Tequila
  • ½ oz. Crème de Cassis
  • ½ oz. fresh lime juice
  • 2–3 oz. ginger beer
  • Garnish: lime wedge and fresh blackberry or candied ginger (optional)

  • Add Tequila, Cassis and lime juice to a cocktail shaker.
  • Add ice, cover, and briefly shake.
  • Strain into a Collins glass over cubed ice.
  • Top with 2-3 oz. of ginger beer.


While its origin is obscure, many credit its creation to Don Javier Delgado Corona, owner of La Capilla bar in the town of Tequila in Jalisco, Mexico. Refreshing as it is simple, the Paloma is an incredibly versatile and malleable recipe but at its core, it’s just Tequila and grapefruit soda. Feel free to swap Tequila for Mezcal, Blanco for Añejo, fresh grapefruit juice for Jarritos grapefruit soda, and even spice things up with a blended chili salt rim. Personalize this cocktail to your liking and enjoy it anywhere, anytime.


  • 2 oz. Tequila or Mezcal
  • 2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
  • ½ oz. fresh lime juice
  • ½ oz. simple syrup
  • Garnish: salted rim, grapefruit slice


  • Rim collins glass with salt and set aside.
  • Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
  • Add ice, cover, and briefly shake.
  • Strain into a Collins glass over cubed ice.
  • Top with sparkling water.

Naked & Famous

This sour, equal-parts Mezcal, Aperol, Yellow Chartreuse, and lime juice was initially created by Joaquín Simó when he worked at New York City’s famed cocktail bar, Death & Co. The preferred Mezcal is Del Maguey Chichicapa, which lends a definitive smokiness that complements the bitter and herbaceous flavors of Aperol and Chartreuse.


  • ¾ oz. Mezcal
  • ¾ oz. Yellow Chartreuse
  • ¾ oz. Aperol
  • ¾ oz. lime juice


  • Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
  • Add ice, cover, and shake well.
  • Strain into a coupe glass.


Complex, yet refreshing, the Rosita shows how simple ingredients can harmonize to create a well-balanced tequila-based cocktail. This rebellious riff on the Negroni includes a mix of both Sweet and Dry Vermouth to tame the powerful flavor profiles of bitter Campari and herbaceous Tequila. Referred to as a “modern classic” the Rosita cocktail first appeared in a 1988 edition of Mr. Boston's Official Bartender's Guide and has since debuted on cocktail menus worldwide. The Rosita is best served in a rocks glass, over a large cube but can be served up in a coupe glass as well.


  • 1 ½ oz. Reposado Tequila
  • ½ oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • ½ oz. Dry Vermouth
  • ½ oz. Campari
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Garnish: lemon twist


  • Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass.
  • Add ice, and stir until chilled.
  • Strain into a rocks glass over ice.
  • Express a lemon twist and drop the twist in the drink.

Oaxaca Old-Fashioned

The Old-Fashioned genre is far-reaching and incredibly diverse. Technically speaking, any spirit can be featured in an Old-Fashioned. It’s the build itself that stems from the classic cocktail we all enjoy today. However, this version is credited to Phil Ward during his stint at Death & Co. and includes aged Tequila, Mezcal, bitters and agave nectar as a sweetener. The best and most essential part of this drink is the flamed orange twist to cap it all off.


  • 1 ½ oz. Reposado Tequila
  • ½ oz. Mezcal
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 barspoon agave nectar
  • Garnish: flamed orange twist


  • Combine all the ingredients except the orange twist in an Old-Fashioned glass filled with one large ice cube.
  • Stir until chilled.
  • Top with a flamed orange twist, then drop the twist into the drink.


Corey Hines

Career bartender turned Content Marketing Manager at Provi, covering all things beer, wine and spirits.


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