Ranch water drinker realizes why it's popular Texas drink is really called 'ranch water'

@_sydneypaigebarker/TikTok Sean Locke Photography/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘Like the seasoning?’: Ranch Water drinker realizes why this popular Texas drink is really called ‘ranch water’

'No bc I thought it was like hidden valley.'


Beau Paul


Posted on Dec 22, 2023   Updated on Dec 22, 2023, 2:04 pm CST

We all have our “Today I Learned” moments but this one takes the cake. Or maybe it takes the salad.

If you are from Texas (or just moved there a while ago) you are probably aware that ranch water is a blend of tequila, lime, and seltzer (preferably Topo Chico—accept substitutes only when you’re desperate). It is also the name of canned hard seltzers that usually offer agave and lime flavors and, like White Claw, malt liquor. But folks from up North may not be sure of the term’s origins.

One TikToker has found out that her first thoughts are way off. And commenters let her know that her mistake belongs in a hidden valley.

Last weekend, Sydney Paige Barker (@_sydneypaigebarker) found out that she was 100% off regarding the origin of the term “Ranch Water.” In a video she posted to TikTok three days ago, she admits that the “Ranch” she had in mind was nearer to the salad bar than a neighborhood bar. The video has since picked up over 157,400 views and counting.

Some folks say Ranch Water has been around since the 1960s. The drink is apocryphally attributed to an unknown West Texas rancher who invented the libation as a lighter take on the classic Margarita.

But Barker can’t be faulted for thinking “Ranch” meant something else. After all, what’s the most American dressing of them all?

“You know what I learned this weekend that was absolutely shocking to me?” she asks her viewers. “Ranch Water,” she tells them, “is referring to an actual ranch. like horses. Like a RANCH.”

“Like you get home from working on a ranch and the cowboys would make ranch water. That’s how it was explained to me this weekend,” she says.

“I, this whole time, anytime I heard somebody mention ranch water was thinking like, ranch. Like the seasoning. The dressing,” she admits. “Apparently not. I was wrong.”

ln Texas fashion viewer user3000012345 (@user3000012345) responded, “omg bless her heart.”

@_sydneypaigebarker please tell me i’m not the only one 🥲 #ranchwater ♬ original sound – Sydney Barker

Another commenter pointed out the clues available on one of the many popular canned versions of the drink. “Miss girl have you even looked at the cans of the brand ‘ranch water’ it has bull skulls and horseshoes on it?”

Another added, “Nooooo it’s a tequila drink. Very popular in Texas!”

Many viewers admitted that they too were mistaken about the make up of the beverage.

“I thought it was ranch flavored for so long and I was so scared to try it, it’s now my fav drink,” tasha (@natashamasss) admitted.

“No bc I thought it was like hidden valley,” another viewer added.

Another viewer confessed “my husband was APPALLED when I brought some home from the store. ‘Why on earth would you buy this?'”

One viewer commented “At first I thought it was a ranch-flavored drink too,” to which Barker replied, “The real meaning makes so much more sense I’m so disappointed in myself.”

When reached for comment, Barker told the Daily Dot via email that she was mostly confused by the literal ranch point of origin: “So just to clarify, I didn’t think ranch water was actually a ranch flavored drink, although a bunch of people in my comments seem to have thought that. I just thought it was a slang term for some reason but never realized it was referring to an actual ranch haha. Pretty stupid on my part since that makes a whole lot more sense with it being a popular texas drink. But I finally tried the ranch water seltzers last weekend and they were really good and definitely not ranch flavored! Haha”

Surprisingly, there are drinks that do feature ranch dressing as an ingredient—some people use it in bloody marys and even (and the Daily Dot does NOT advocate this) in egg nog. But the classic Ranch Water involves no ranch seasoning whatsoever.

You can find many recipes for the cocktail. However, it must be noted that while Ranch Water may lack the sugar-based sweeteners found in some margarita mixes, it will definitely get you drunk as fast as any other tequila-based drink.

Please drink responsibly. And please use your ranch seasoning responsibly as well.

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*First Published: Dec 22, 2023, 4:00 pm CST