tequila mockingbird cocktail served with watermelon garnish
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Tequila Mockingbird Cocktail

Does any other cocktail have a name quite this clever? It’s doubtful. The Tequila Mockingbird is a wry pun based on Harper Lee’s 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

Truthfully, the drink itself doesn’t have any particularly thematic connection to the classic book and film, but it is a flavorful, fruity cocktail that’s perfect for a warm summer day.

About the Tequila Mockingbird

Unlike To Kill a Mockingbird, which was definitely written by Harper Lee, the creator of the Tequila Mockingbird is unknown. It first appeared during the 1960s, after the release of the book but before the movie.

Also, unlike the novel, the story of this drink is more of a choose-your-own adventure. You can find countless variations. While almost all Tequila Mockingbird recipes involve tequila and watermelon, some include crème de menthe, blue curacao liqueur, and many other options.   

Its most noteworthy ingredient is watermelon. Finding the right amount to use gets tricky. Too much watermelon will overpower most drinks, but too little will dilute the other flavors.

Ingredients for a Tequila Mockingbird

Although the ingredients here are a bit different than what you’ll find in many other cocktails, they’re still easy to obtain. You’ll need:

  • 2 ounces of tequila
  • 3/4 ounces of lime juice
  • 3/4 ounces of agave syrup
  • 1 slice of jalapeno
  • 3 1-inch watermelon cubes

Directions to Make a Tequila Mockingbird

You can make the entire drink in a shaker. No blender is needed.  

1. Muddle

Start by muddling the watermelon cubes and jalapeno slice together in the bottom of a chilled shaker. Don’t mash too hard. You only need to extract the juices. Not every element of the fruit or vegetable will end up in the drink.

2. Add Ingredients

Next, add the tequila, lime juice, and agave syrup. Then add the ice. Shake the shaker vigorously for about 30 seconds. When the outside is covered in beads of cool condensation, the drink is ready.

3. Pour

Use a fine strainer to block any bits of watermelon and jalapeno. Generally, Tequila Mockingbirds are served either on the rocks or in a chilled highball glass. Garnish with either a lemon or a lime.  

Watermelon-Free Alternate

Although less well-known, a version of the Tequila Mockingbird exists that doesn’t use watermelon. Instead, you’ll need:

  • 1.5 ounces of tequila
  • 2 ounces of orange juice
  • 1/2 ounces of triple sec
  • 1/2 ounces blue curacao

To make the drink, first fill a glass with ice. Then pour in the tequila and triple sec. Next, pour the orange juice. Finally, add the blue curacao.

Follow the pour list carefully. You don’t mix the drink. Instead, you’ll let the ingredients naturally settle, which only happens if they’re added in the correct order.

Although the origins of the drink are unknown, there’s no mystery as to why it tastes so good. The bold, fresh watermelon helps counteract the bite of the tequila, creating a cool and refreshing cocktail that’s loaded with electrolytes. Enjoy Tequila Mockingbirds all summer long. 

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