Ranch Water

Non-Alcoholic Ranch Water Recipe

Ranch Water is the newest drink to break into the surging hard seltzer market - but it's no gimmick. Ranch water has been a staple of the West Texas rough-and-tumble scene for decades. Traditionally made with only three ingredients, it's simple to make, easy on the wallet, and pretty darn tasty.

However, there are now several different takes on the popular Texan drinks - but how does it stand up in the world of mocktails? You'll be happy to know that we've got you covered with this awesome non-alcoholic Ranch Water Recipe.

If you're into virgin drinks, if you're the designated driver (which also makes you awesome), or if you're not a fan of alcohol, we've got a plethora of revolutionary mock spirits to choose from. 

Let's discuss ranch water, what it is, why it's popular, how it came to be, and why our mock spirits will make an outstanding non-alcoholic version of this West Texas standard.

What Is Ranch Water?

Ranch water is a traditional Texas cocktail that is simple to make, easy to drink, and won't put you into bankruptcy. 

While there are many variations on the old standby, the traditional and original ranch water is made from the following ingredients:

That's it. Simple enough, right? If you want to, you can even add ice - ha!

Enjoyed by ranchers and dive bar regulars alike, ranch water has cooled even the driest throats since sometime in the 1960s. There is a bit of folklore behind its origins, as a matter of fact.

The Origins of Ranch Water

Unlike the cocktail itself, the exact history of ranch water is a bit murky. Many people and establishments have taken credit for developing this delicious Texas staple. 

Kevin Williamson

A quick online search will tell you that the founder of Ranch 616 in Austin invented the cocktail. The claim is that it was inspired by his trips to South Texas as a kid. This begs the question - if ranch water supposedly originated in West Texas, why was the late founder of a south-central Texas bar inspired to mix it up by trips to South Texas? 

While Ranch 616's claim as the "Home Of the Original Ranch Water" may be slightly questionable, one thing is not. Their menu looks absolutely incredible.

Morgan Weber

One of the owners of Houston-based Eight Row Flint (like Ranch 616, an icehouse-inspired watering hole and restaurant) Weber got into the ranch water game after having one at a West Texas house party several years ago. Morgan bucked one standard, however - he left out the Topo Chico mineral water.

Topo Chico is a common bottled mineral water from Mexico (there is a legend behind it's healing qualities, as well) that ranch water purists consider the single most important ingredient in ranch water. Instead, Weber has the bar staff at Eight Row Flint serve the drink with forced carbonation on the tap.

Unnamed Rancher From the 1960s

The most commonly accepted version of ranch water's birth is also the most appropriate for Texas - some long-haired crazy old rancher in the 1960s slapped it together and went for a walk.

The story goes something like this: sometime in the late 60s, a "wild-haired rancher" devised the cocktail. The effect of the drink made the rancher set off on foot, following the west Texas stars in the beautiful wide open country. 

The rancher followed those beautiful celestial lights over 50 miles from Fort Davis to Marathon - on foot. At the end of his trek (this sounds like Forrest Gump in an alternate universe, right?), he tuckered out and laid down to sleep beneath a piñon tree.

All due respect to Mr. Williamson and Mr. Weber - that last story is way better.

Non-Alcoholic Ranch Water Recipe

Anyway, you clicked here for a non-alcoholic ranch water recipe, so let's get to that. 

If you want to enjoy this refreshing mock libation, here is the ultimate mocktail recipe for ranch water. And yes, you read that right - that's non-alcoholic rum we're using instead of non-alcoholic tequila. Hang in there and trust us, you won't regret it.

Ingredients

  1. 2 ounces of Seir Hill Durangold
  2. 1/2 ounce of simple syrup
  3. 2 limes
  4. 6 ounces of sparkling mineral water (preferably Topo Chico)
  5. Add ice to preference

Directions

Step One: In a 10 or 12 ounce Tom Collins glass, add ice to your preference

Step Two: Pour Seir Hill Durangold

Step Three: Quarter the limes and squeeze one and a half of the limes into the glass

Step Four: Fill rest of glass to 3/4 full with sparkling mineral water

Step Five: Add simple syrup

Step Six: Stir briskly

Step Seven: Enjoy

Just like that, you've got a delicious virgin drink that is refreshing on a hot day in Texas.

Variations To the Original

As with any delicious cocktail or mocktail, there are bound to be variations that folks develop either accidentally or through sheer experimentation. Kevin Williamson found his concoction of ranch water by adding sparkling mineral water to his margarita as it dwindled, for instance.

The beauty of cocktails and cocktails is that while there may be a certain name attached to a set of ingredients, you can call that mixture whatever you want. Heck, the whole Midwest calls soda of every flavor and brand "Coke," for instance.

Let's take a look at some variations and spinoffs from the original ranch water.

The Godmother

Not necessarily inspired by, but similar to ranch water is the Godmother. Just like ranch water, it's a quick and easy three ingredient cocktail or mocktail that provides a high-brow and delicious taste and feel.

Godmother Cocktail Recipe

  • Small rocks glass
  • Stirrer
  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka 
  • 1 ounce amaretto
  • Ice

Directions

  • Fill glasses with ice
  • Pour amaretto (or non-alcoholic alternative)
  • Pour vodka while stirring (or use a non-alcoholic alternative)
  • Garnish
  • Serve

That's it! Done!

Dark N Stormy

Another closely related cocktail, this Dark N Stormy mocktail recipe uses a rum alternative to give you the same bite of Mexico and South American cocktails. Here's the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Biscane
  • 4 ounces non-alcoholic ginger beer
  • Lime
  • Ice
  • Highball glass
  • Cocktail shaker 
  • Stirrer

Directions

  • Take your cocktail shaker and fill it with ice. 
  • Add the Biscane rum alternative to the shaker and shake vigorously. 
  • Fill your highball glass 3/4 full with ice. 
  • Strain the cocktail shaker into the glass. 
  • Add the ginger beer to the glass. 
  • Stir the cocktail.
  • Add the lime wedge as a garnish. 

The Godfather

Another minimalist cocktail or mocktail recipe is the Godfather. It's tough to mess this one up.

The Godfather Recipe

Directions

  • Fill a mixing glass 3/4 the way with ice.
  • Measure the Mashville and amaretto and pour them into the glass.
  • Using a mixing spoon, stir the drink for 20 seconds.
  • Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with cubed or ball ice.
  • Garnish with an orange peel.

All simple three or four ingredient alcoholic cocktails. Quick, cheap, easy, but good - if you're into that kind of thing.

For those of you who aren't in the mood for alcohol at happy hour, your days of drinking boring Shirley Temples are over. There is a pretty impressive line-up of alcohol-free spirits on the market that will allow you to make a virgin version of virtually any cocktail - including ranch water.

Healthy Alternative

In addition to super tasty, this ranch water mocktail recipe is also a much healthier alternative to the "real" thing. Biscane only contains one gram of sugar (per serving), is vegan and gluten free. With fresh squeezed lime juice, ice, and sparkling water being the other main components of the drink, the majority of your sugar and calories are going to come from the simple syrup.

If you really want to watch your calories and sugar intake, you can even make your own sugar-free simple syrup!

Otherwise, simple syrup is just sugar and water. Boil the water and add the sugar, equal parts sugar and water. This will become a mildly viscous syrup that is used to sweeten drinks of any persuasion.

Join the Revolution

With Seir Hill's revolutionary mock spirits, anyone can now enjoy delicious mocktails without having to worry about the effects or legality of intoxicating alcohol. Along with the Durangold tequila alternative, Seir Hill offers a line of other alternative spirits. Other offerings include:

  • Mashville, a Non-Alcoholic Whiskey Alternative
  • Biscane, a Non-Alcoholic Rum Alternative

 

Whatever your drink of choice, if you're looking for an innocent but delicious way to celebrate Father's Day, Mother's Day, a Birthday, or any other day ending in "Y," check out Seir Hill. So go ahead and whip up a non-alcoholic ranch water recipe. The good people of West Texas will never know the difference.

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