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Add these cocktails to your summer drink repertoire. [Photographs: Nick Caruana]

We trust you can make Margaritas and you've probably got the Paloma down pat, but there is much more fun to be had with tequila, if you're ready to branch out.

We recommend using 100% agave tequila, but that doesn't mean you have to use top-shelf bottles. Here are 7 great less-expensive options to get you started.

Ready to start mixing? Here are 5 of my favorite tequila drinks right now, all easy to mix up in the comfort of your home bar.

Mojalisco

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If you like the flavors of a Dark and Stormy, Moscow Mule, or Mojito, you'll love this refreshing summer drink, which features Crabbie's alcoholic ginger beer (yup, that's right, it's a ginger beer with booze already in it.) There's mint, too, mojito-style, plus fresh lime and tequila. It's sweetened with Velvet Falernum, which contributes layers of sweet almond, ginger, clove, and lime. (You can use the rest of the bottle for making any number of tiki drinks.) A little bit of Cynar adds an intriguing herbal presence that lurks among the bubbly and refreshing flavors.

Get the Mojalisco recipe »

The Charming Foxhole

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While in Baltimore for a work meeting, I happened to stumble into Wit and Wisdom. The head bartender, Aaron Joseph, came up with this one when I asked for something with tequila that was a bit bitter and refreshing, just the kind of drink I look for when the weather starts getting warm. Aaron definitely hit the spot with The Charming Foxhole. It's made with tequila and bittersweet Aperol, plus Amaro Nonino, which pretty much makes any drink delicious.

The base is smooth, and agave flavors work nicely with hints of honey, orange, rhubarb, and grapefruit. Just a touch of anise lingers in the background from the Peychaud's. And the scent? Delicious citrus and agave all the way. If you're a Negroni drinker, this might just be your new summer drink.

Get The Charming Foxhole recipe »

Fresa Verde

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Warm weather makes us think of a garden full of ripe berries and vegetables, but we wouldn't necessarily think of putting the two together. We trust PDT's Jim Meehan to do it right, though. This riff on a margarita calls for strawberries, pomegranate molasses, and yes, green peppers. When I read about the ingredients in the fantastic PDT Cocktail Book, I knew I needed to try this one.

With a consistency between a frozen and "up" margarita, Fresa Verde has a bit more body than you might expect. It has great sweet-tart berry, pomegranate, and citrus flavors, and a subtle vegetal side from the bell pepper (and the tequila). Just a heads up: if your strawberries aren't the sweetest you may need to add a touch of simple syrup to balance this one out.

Get the Fresa Verde recipe »

The Federation

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Now we're getting serious. This delicious spin on a Sazerac calls for añejo tequila instead of rye and uses high-quality creme de cacao (I like Tempus Fugit) rather than sweetening with sugar. This rich and savory drink has a full, rich texture and hints of coffee, cocoa, and clove. It finishes off with a little cocoa and a touch of bitterness, making for a great after-dinner drink.

Get the Federation recipe »

Sun and Shrub

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I'm really fond of all five of these tequila cocktails, but this might just be my personal favorite. St. Germain emphasizes the floral side of the tequila, paired with a vividly tart combination of Liber and Co's awesome Rhubarb and Ginger Shrub and fresh lemon juice.

The finishing touch, a little club soda, is essential. The effervescence lightens things up nicely. With its kick of ginger at the end, this cocktail will wake up your palate.

Get the Sun and Shrub recipe »

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