Mezcal & Tonic Cocktail: The Easiest Summer Drink

As you can probably guess from the title, this refreshing mezcal and tonic cocktail only calls for two main ingredients: mezcal and tonic water. The mezcal gives this cocktail a subtle smoky flavor that is complemented by some citrus-flavored tonic water and a dash of orange bitters. It also doesn’t require any shaking or straining, making it one of the easiest cocktails you will ever make.

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Straight on shot of mezcal and tonic cocktail in a highball glass filled with ice with a bottle of mezcal and a bottle of orange bitters in the background

What is Tonic Water?

Tonic water has been around for a long time. Back in the 19th century, British soldiers stationed in India came up with a clever way to make the quinine powder that they had to take to prevent malaria less bitter: they mixed it with soda and sugar.

It was also in colonial India where tonic water was first mixed with gin to make gin and tonics.

Nowadays tonic water is made with much lower quantities of quinine than in the 19th century, but it still retains some of its bitterness. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend swapping it for soda water because they are actually very different things.

If you would like to know more about tonic water, check out Mental Floss’ “A Brief History of the Tonic Water in your Gin and Tonic.”

Straight on shot of a woman pouring tonic water into a highball glass containing ice cubes

What is the Best Tonic to Use with Mezcal?

Mezcal has a very distinct smoky flavor that comes to life when paired with citrus. In fact, if you visit a mezcalería in Oaxaca (where most mezcal is produced), they will give you slices of orange to suck on in between pours of mezcal.

This is why I decided to use a citrus-flavored tonic water for this mezcal and tonic cocktail. I love Fever Tree tonic water, and the company makes a delicious version flavored with tangerines, Mexican limes, and bitter oranges. You can find them at your local grocery store or through Amazon.

If you can’t find it, feel free to use regular tonic water. The orange garnish on the cocktail will still give you a very pleasant orange scent.

Closeup of mezcal and tonic coktail garnished with a slice of orange
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Mezcal Gin & Tonic Cocktail

This refreshing cocktail is a smoky variation on a classic gin and tonic. The smokiness of the mezcal, a Mexican spirit similar to tequila, is balanced by some citrus-flavored tonic water. This cocktail will soon become your go-to drink for summer barbecues and parties.
4.22 from 19 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: cocktails, party drinks, Summer Grilling
Keyword: citrus, easy cocktails, mezcal cocktails, tonic water
Servings: 1
Calories: 136kcal
Author: Daniela Miranda


  • 2 oz mezcal (I used Vida by Del Maguey)
  • 1 bottle citrus-flavored tonic water
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • 1/2 slice of orange to garnish


  • Fill a highball glass with ice.
  • Add the mezcal and top with the tonic water. Add a dash of the orange bitters and stir using a cocktail spoon or the handle of a long spoon.
  • Garnish with a slice of orange and serve immediately.


Calories: 136kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Sugar: 1g

Here are some other mezcal cocktails that you might enjoy:

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Also, if you have any questions or just want to let me know that you liked the recipe, please leave a comment below. Hearing from other adventurous home cooks always makes my day!

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