Rebel Taqueria’s Sparkling Peach Tequila Sangria is one of its most popular drinks | Photo by Lewis Kesaris

Classic tequila cocktails like the margarita stick around the whole year, but local restaurants are getting creative with tequila drinks made especially for the summer. The key is adding a bubbly or fruity element to make them all the more crushable in the summertime, local experts said. 

Rebel Taqueria’s Sparkling Peach Tequila Sangria is a cocktail that has been popular since its residency at Workshop. 

“At one point, the Sparkling Tequila Sangria was outselling our margarita, so we stuck with it,” said co-owner Lewis Kesaris. The Sparkling Peach Tequila Sangria combines Champagne, tequila, lime juice, vanilla bean simple syrup and peach puree for a refreshing summer cocktail. “It’s basically a bellini with tequila.”

Mojitorita

The North Charleston restaurant also serves a Mojitorita, which is exactly what it sounds like. 

“It’s a hybrid of a mojito and a margarita … they are so similar in their flavor profile, the only difference is one is made with rum and mint,” Kesaris said. “You could also think of it as a mint margarita.” 

The refreshing combination of Tanteo tequila, Select Apertivo, St. Germain, Chinola passion fruit liqueur, citrus and tajín secured Mesu’s Palomesu a win in a Tanteo cocktail competition in May. 

Mesu’s Palomesu

And if you want something with a little caffeine, check out the Red Bull Rita. 

“I think that’s a really good summer cocktail because it has the watermelon flavor,” Mesu general manager Scott Robinson said. “It combines watermelon, Red Bull, orange juice and lime juice for a spin on a margarita.” 

The light and refreshing tequila cocktails at Lewis Barbecue let you save room for the pit-smoked meat and cool you down all at once. 

Lewis’ cocktails leave you plenty of room for the barbecue | Photo by Andrew Cebulka

“Being from Texas, tequila is my spirit of choice, so of course we had to incorporate it in a number of ways on our cocktail menu. ‘Ranch Water’ is a classic and my preferred way to drink tequila,” said Lewis, referring to the drink that combines ice cold Topo Chico with tequila and a squeeze of lime. 

“‘The Sandia,’ made with watermelon and a hint of chile, is perfect for quenching your thirst, especially when it’s so hot out right now,” Lewis added. “And you can never go wrong with a classic frozen marg from the [Juan Luis] trailer.” 

Juan Luis frozen marg

After debuting with a series of pop-ups, Chasing Sage is now officially open and incorporating fresh and unexpected flavors in its tequila-based cocktails. 

Chasing Sage’s Smoke and Peppers cocktail uses a range of ingredients | Photo by Lawson Builder

“Our ‘Smoke and Peppers’ cocktail highlights the bright, vegetal flavors that you can taste in a really good tequila, such as fresh cut grass and green bell pepper. We make a syrup out of charred green peppers, and then stir it over ice with mezcal and tequila infused with coriander seeds and fresh cilantro,” said general manager Maxfield Clarke. “We serve it over one big ice cube and garnish it with a slice of charred pepper. The smoky, vegetal flavor reminds me of summer barbecues on a freshly mowed lawn.”