Think beyond the ho-hum margarita with this innovative, spicy tequila cocktail infused with fresh cilantro. (Photo/Courtesy Chris Ojeda for Soho House)

Cocktail recipes to celebrate Nat’l Tequila Day

If there’s one thing to know about tequila, it’s that there’s so much more to it than the throat-burning liquid you probably downed as a shot at some point during your college years. In fact, tequila – which regularly outsells whiskey, brandy and Scotch in the United States – is one of North America’s oldest spirits with a history as impressive as any European spirit.

RELATED: Learn how to taste tequila like a pro

Tequila was first produced by Aztec Indians from the juice of agave plants as early as the 13th century and mass produced by Spanish settlers in Mexico with distillation production techniques still in use today. It is made by distilling the sweet juice from the prickly blue agave. And to set the record straight, not all tequilas are made equal, as Mexican law specifies that authentic tequila must be produced in designated areas in the Mexican states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit and Tamaulipas. Furthermore, if it’s not made and bottled in one of Mexico’s 150 distilleries, then it’s not genuine tequila – a move which prevents the manufacturers of blue agave spirits in other countries from selling under that name “tequila.”

So just in time for National Tequila Day on July 24, try mixing up one of the three delicious cocktails we’re sharing here. Whether you chose a crisp blanco, sip on an aged añejo tequila, pick up a cool new artisanal brand or mix tequila with its older cousin, mezcal (to learn how to pick choose and drink tequila like a pro, check out expert Ruben Aceves’ tasting tips here), there’s no better way to begin discovering tequila than with one of these three delicious options.

Think beyond the ho-hum margarita with this innovative, spicy tequila cocktail.

Think beyond the ho-hum margarita with this innovative, spicy tequila cocktail. (Photo/Courtesy Chris Ojeda for Soho House)

Skip the usual fruity and sweet cocktails with this spicy margarita by SoHo House creative bar director Chris Ojeda. His rift on the classic margarita layers the heat of chili peppers, the silky sweetness of agave nectar and the peppery bite of cilantro for a cocktail that’s anything but what you might find at your corner watering hole. Click here for the recipe.

Mercado's classic margarita.

Mercado’s classic margarita. (Photo/Courtesy Mercado Santa Monica)

Margaritas are a classic, but there’s no reason to pick up a mixer when it’s so easy to make your own at home. Just pick out a great blanco tequila and a ripe orange or lime. The rest is easy – just triple sec and a lime wedge – and with a quick shake and a simple rim of salt, you’ve mixed up a margarita nearly as quickly as you can say ¡Salud! Click here for the recipe.

An "Aztec Summer" cocktail is the perfect refreshing drink to the season's warm days.

An “Aztec Summer” cocktail is the perfect refreshing drink to the season’s warm days. (Photo/Tequila Don Julio)

Get into the spirit of summer with this tequila cocktail which makes use of the season’s most beautiful veggies – smooth, green cucumbers – which, when muddled with mezcal, agave and lime makes for an utterly refreshing drink perfect for the hottest of days. Click here for the recipe.

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