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The Best Canned Ranch Waters, According to Drinks Experts

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Canned alcoholic beverages have only grown in popularity over the last few years. The budding category has exploded into craft hard seltzers, while ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails (especially those with tequila) are expected to trend through 2023. What better combination of the two than a canned version of the oh-so-popular Ranch Water?  

“It seems the younger crowd is still on White Claw and Truly, but customers seem to be gradually changing to canned cocktails with actual spirits like vodka and tequila,” says Kaylee Feldoot, the buyer and bartender at The Lantern in Naperville, Illinois.   

Jessica Bush, the lead bartender at the Acme Bar in Nashville, adds that sales of canned beverages like Ranch Water have increased two-to-one for guests over poured cocktails.   

I think people like [canned Ranch Water] for the flavor,” says Bush. “It’s not as sweet. It’s a clean, crisp and refreshing beverage instead of something too sugary. And of course, good weather also plays a big part in these sales.”  

But are there Ranch Water cans worth picking up? We asked the experts.  

What Is Ranch Water?  

At its core, Ranch Water is a simple tequila highball. It’s a mixture of tequila, lime juice and sparkling water, making it a tequila-based Rickey. Most recipes recommend using the Mexican mineral water brand Topo Chico for the most authentic flavor.    

It’s rumored to have been invented by West Texas ranchers, but Ranch Water has grown in popularity over the last year throughout the U.S. In fact, it was Wine Enthusiast’s most popular cocktail recipe of 2022. But whatever the true history of the drink, it’s a typically sugar-free, refreshing cocktail perfect for sipping on a hot summer day.  

What Is Ranch Water in a Can?  

Just like other canned cocktails, canned Ranch Water is everything you love about a sparkling, citrusy Ranch Water, but in a convenient can that’s ready for picnics or pool days. The ingredients vary, but typically include lime flavoring or juice, sparkling water and some kind of alcohol.  

The Best Canned Ranch Waters


Made the traditional way—with tequila, lime and seltzer—this canned Ranch Water is a 7%-abv pick with classic flavors.

“Ranch water is the perfect drink when you want refreshing daytime portability—picnics, BBQs, tailgates, riding Metro North to the Wine Enthusiast offices—but it’s depressing how many canned versions deviate so far from the basic recipe. Some don’t even use tequila at all,” says Nils Bernstein, Wine Enthusiast contributing food editor. “RANCH2O is the best I’ve had. There are no sneaky ingredients, and you can really taste the tequila.”  

$12.99 Total Wine & More

Painted Donkey  

A brand already well-known for its tequila, Painted Donkey also has a line of canned cocktails. Among them is a classic Ranch Water and a Spicy Ranch Water. Each can is made from 100% agave tequila, natural lime juice flavors and sparkling water.  

“Much like barbecue, the best Ranch Water is always made by a Texan,” says Gabriel Sanchez, general manager and cocktail expert at Midnight Rambler Bar in Dallas. “My favorite ready-to-drink Ranch Water is the spicy Ranch Water created by the Texans at Painted Donkey. It’s made with 100% agave tequila and sparkling water with a little spiciness in the finish.” He suggests sipping on it ice cold with a Tajin-rimmed glass over crushed ice and a squeeze of fresh lime.  

$14.99 Total Wine & More

Current Spirits   

Premium tequila, real lime juice and sparkling water make for simple decadence in Current Spirits Ranch Water canned cocktail. The drink’s 7% abv and low calories make it a win for those looking to get beach buzzed. 

“With the warm weather rolling back around, I am really looking forward to cracking open a can (or two) of Current Spirits Ranch Water,” says Marshall Tilden III, Wine Enthusiast chief revenue and education officer. “Crisp, clean and balanced, this beverage hits all the right notes of citrus and spice while maintaining freshness and fruit flavor. And it’s so much easier than having to squeeze that lime myself!”   

$ Varies Wine Searcher

Ranch Rider Spirits  

This reporter has never been as influenced by social media as I have with posts featuring Ranch Rider Spirits. Native Texas creator The Defined Dish invested in the company and regularly talks up the brand. I can confirm the flavors are fresh, the lime is perfectly acidic and the tequila actually tastes good. It’s my favorite summer sip to stash in my beach bag.   

And I’m not the only one. Eric Thornell, founder of El Hombre Taco, a Texas-based food truck, says it’s his favorite, too. “It’s made in Austin, Texas, and it’s the perfect blend of Tex-Mex,” Thornell says. “It’s clean and consists of actual tequila, not an artificial or natural-flavored drink that you find a lot of on the shelves… I have yet to find another Ranch Water cocktail that matches Ranch Rider’s quality and richness.” 

“It has reposado tequila, real lime juice and sparkling water as its only three ingredients,” Matt Garofalo, owner of The Oconee Cellar wine, beer and spirits shop in Greensboro, Georgia adds. “It is very clean, not too sweet and very convenient for people to put in coolers.” 

$14.49 Total Wine & More

Topo Chico   

When you think of Ranch Water, most people associate it with the crisp, clean flavor of Topo Chico mineral water. So, it’s no surprise that the brand has its own cult-followed canned version. 

“There are a lot of great brands out there, but when it comes down to Ranch Water itself, I gotta go with the brand that started it all,” says Darnell Holguin, co-founder of Silver Sun Group, a beverage and hospitality consultancy group. Bush agrees. “I prefer the Topo Chico Ranch Water,” she says. “They taste more like a true soda and less artificially flavored.”  

One thing to note, however: Topo Chico’s canned Ranch Water contains no tequila. Instead, it’s malt-based. 

$16.99 Total Wine & More

Lone River

Another popular malt-based pick among Ranch Water lovers is Lone River Ranch Water. The original flavor is made from carbonated water, alcohol, Key lime juice concentrate, organic agave nectar, natural flavors, citric acid and salt. But what people especially love about Lone River are its great flavors, which include spicy, Rio red grapefruit and prickly pear varieties.  

“My favorite Ranch Water flavor is Rio red grapefruit,” says Emily Garner, strategic partnerships manager at Acme Bar. “I like that it’s made from 100% organic agave, natural lime and Rio red grapefruit, making it really nice and light to drink.”  

$12.99 Total Wine & More


Immediately recognizable for its adorable branding (there’s a cute dog on the can), Javi’s Ranch Water is a top choice. The lime flavor is made with 100% agave tequila, sparkling water, lime and natural flavors. You can also opt for grapefruit and watermelon flavors, too.  

“My go-to is Javi’s Ranch Water grapefruit twist,” says Anna Warren, director of food and beverage at The Adolphus Hotel in Dallas. “It is one of the few canned Ranch Waters to be made with 100% agave tequila and just the right amount of citrus. Very easy to enjoy a few on a hot Texas day. Also, originally created by a few Texas bartenders.”  

$13.99 Total Wine & More

Waterbird Spirits  

Made with premium blanco tequila, sparkling water, real lime juice and natural flavors, this canned Ranch Water is a real crowd-pleaser.  

Waterbird Spirits Ranch Water is refreshing and has just enough citrus with a low sugar and calorie content,” says Feldott.  

$8.99 Total Wine & More

Madre Mezcal 

For those looking to explore outside the realm of classic Ranch Waters, Madre Mezcal’s Desert Water reimagines the cocktail with Madre Espadin mezcal. Beyond the original version, you can also get it in flavors like mushroom, sage and honey or prickly pear and lemon  

“This ready-to-drink cocktail is made with mezcal as opposed to the usual tequila,” says Tom Muscolino, director of beverage innovation at Landmark Hospitality in Plainfield, New Jersey. “And while it is a little pricier than its competition, it is also a much higher quality product. The original is my favorite, and I think the most refreshing.” 

$18.49 Total Wine & More


Where Can I Buy Ranch Water?  

You can shop anywhere canned cocktails or canned seltzers are sold. Many southern states tend to be better stocked in these brands, because a majority of them are produced in the South. But, many online retailers offer nationwide shipping. Just be sure to know your state’s liquor laws around mailing alcohol.   

How Do You Make a Ranch Water?  

The classic Ranch Water is made with tequila, lime juice and sparkling water. Traditional recipes often use Topo Chico as the chosen brand of Mexican mineral water, but you can check out our carbonated water guide for some more ideas. You can also try our classic Ranch Water recipe.  

Which Ranch Water Is the Best?  

This is up to you and depends on what kind of flavor profile you’re looking for.  

Do Ranch Water Cans Have Tequila in Them?  

This depends on the specific brand. Some brands, like Lone River and Topo Chico, are malt-based and fermented similarly to beer. Others, like Ranch Rider and RANCH20, are tequila-based. You can read more about how hard seltzers are made and what’s really in your canned cocktails.  

How Much Alcohol Is in a Can of Ranch Water?  

The total abv varies based on the brand. Most fall between 4% and 7% abv, though some brands can reach as high as 10%.