Austin’s Ranch Rider Spirits Brings Back Jalapeño Ranch Water
The spicy canned cocktail returns Labor Day weekend for a second limited-edition run
By David Clough
Photos courtesy of Ranch Rider
A distinctly Texan beverage is headed back to stores—but it won’t be around for long.
Ranch Rider Spirits Co., an Austin-based maker of canned cocktails, is bringing back a popular limited-edition tequila seltzer that debuted last year. Called Jalapeño Ranch Water, it’s a spicy ready-to-drink cocktail made with locally-grown Jalapeño peppers. The beverage is slated to land on store shelves this Labor Day weekend.
A favorite among Texans, Ranch Water is a highball made with tequila, lime and Topo Chico sparkling mineral water. Ranch Rider Spirits puts its own spin on the recipe. For its Ranch Water and Jalapeño Ranch Water cocktails, the company uses fresh-squeezed lime, house-made sparkling water and reposado tequila from Jalisco, Mexico.
“We’re the only canned Ranch Water on the market that uses reposado tequila,” Brian Murphy, co-founder of Ranch Rider Spirits Co. told Tribeza. “Our tequila is aged for two months in Bourbon barrels. Everyone else uses blanco tequila, or in some cases, malt liquor.”
Reposado means “rested” in Spanish. Unlike blanco (white) tequilas, reposados are aged in oak barrels for a minimum of two months and up to 12 months, which allows for smoother and subtler flavors to develop.
At Ranch Rider’s 20,000 sq- ft. production facility on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, Murphy pulls open the latch on a heavy metal door. A blast of cold air rushes out. It’s a powerful walk-in refrigerator, with a near-opaque white container sitting in the corner of the room. The tank is filled with a dark liquid. Standing next to it, a spicy, pungent aroma prickles your nose.
“Do you smell that?” Murphy asks. “Those are the jalapeños. We use a lot of jalapeños in the brew,” he laughs, resting his hand on the container. “We start by making a cold-brewed jalapeño tea, steeped for 48 hours. Then we mix it with our premium reposado tequila, fresh lime juice and CO2 infused water. Four ingredients, that’s it.”
For its second run, the spirits company is making 10,000 cases (24 cans to a case) of Jalapeño Ranch Water. Four-packs are priced at $12.99, and Murphy predicts the entire run will be sold out in a month. “We expect it to last through September,” he says.
Ranch Rider is a relatively new company. Its products first hit the market in early 2020. Murphy and co-founder Quentin Cantu launched the business after becoming friends in school.
“Quentin and I met at the University of Texas McCombs,” says Murphy. “We started a business on campus as a class project, a food truck called Ranch Hand. We sold healthy food options to students.”
The food truck proved to be a success, and the two started experimenting with cocktail recipes.
“After work and after our classes, we mixed drinks in our food truck. Customers that came by said that if we put this in a can, they would buy it. And that drove us to start Ranch Rider,” Cantu explained. “We’re a brand that was born in the back of a food truck in Austin, Texas.”
In addition to its Ranch Water and Jalapeño Ranch Water, Ranch Rider makes another tequila-based cocktail called The Paloma, and two vodka-based cocktails, The Chilton and The Buck.