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By Richard Ellis, O + A Adventure Correspondent

-By Richard Ellis, O + A Adventure Correspondent

Tequila has an unfair reputation for causing hangovers and regrettable life decisions. In my experience, it is the ideal libation for summer adventurers who aren’t trying to set any records. For camping, concerts, post-hike or -bike drinks--I’m all about tequila now.

For a five 5’7” dude with Chihuahua tolerance, I've drank a lot of post-adventure tequila in the last several weeks. Recently, I road biked 35 miles / 3,000+ vertical feet near Zion National Park. Mind you, I was one month out of a walking cast following Achilles tendon surgery. Afterwards, I had a kombucha beer (don't judge me, someone offered it) and a tequila cocktail.

The next day, feeling like a champ, I biked another 35 miles / 1,400 vertical feet, which included bike-hitchhiking through the Mt. Carmel tunnel in Zion NP because no bikes are allowed.

Despite what I believed, biking in broad daylight, in spandex, doesn’t make you look harmless. On the return hitchhike, the park ranger at the tunnel insisted I sit in the pickup truck bed. "That way you’re safe," she told the two women who offered me a ride. Thanks, ranger.  

But I digress. Tequila. Personally, I don’t wake up perky after whiskey or beer. I’m not gluten-intolerant, nor do I pretend to be (but we all have friends who do). For whatever reason, quality tequila spares me, even between two tough bike rides.

A good summer adventure cocktail should be a) easy drinking, b) easy to make, c) cold, and d) easy on the brain and stomach so you can hit some trails the next day. My answer: Expecto Patrón-um, aka the Tequila Highball.

Yeah, I’m punning on a Harry Potter spell that wards of Dementors. Work with me here. If I just switch “hangover” for “Dementor” in J.K. Rowling’s description from the third Harry Potter book, you’ll see why I chose this name:

“[Hangovers] infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them. Get too near a [hangover] and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the [hangover] will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself... soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.”

Is that not a perfect definition? To avoid a soulless and evil hangover, try this recipe:

Expecto Patrón-um, aka Tequila Highball

  • Reposado tequila, up to two shots
  • Fresh lime juice from 1/8 slice
  • Club soda to taste
  • Stir on the rocks
  • Use a highball glass (if possible)

The big choice is which tequila to use. I recommend Lunazul (~$21), Espolòn ($24), and Corralejo ($35). Patrón (~$50), though more expensive, would do beautifully. Whatever you chose, make sure it’s 100% agave.

Quality club soda is key. Recently, I was introduced to Topo Chico Agua Mineral, and now I don’t want to use anything else. So naturally, it’s not sold in Utah. San Pellegrino is my second choice. The soda probably keeps you from dehydrating as quickly. Thus, no morning Dementor.

If whiskey is the ultimate winter liquor, summer belongs to tequila. Enjoy the magical, hangover-free adventures, especially between bike rides.