Tequila is a popular alcoholic drink inside and outside of Mexico. However, many fear this spirit since it has worn the reputation of a party drink that leaves people pretty hungover.
Also, some think it's a bit boring because they only know the typical tequila shot glass with a lime wedge dipped in salt. There's a reason these things happen: lack of variety. Sipping tequila is not the only way to try this drink!
Do you want to learn how to drink tequila like a pro and know the best ways to enjoy it to the fullest? Find all the details and tips here!
Understanding the Basics Behind Tequila
Before you get creative and try to mix spirits, you should know what tequila is.
Tequila is an alcoholic spirit produced in Mexico — actually, it's the country's national drink — made solely with Weber's blue agave plant, known as agave tequilana.
Blue agave grows in some parts of Mexico, but it takes more than seven years to fully mature! Therefore, Mexican authorities have taken some measures to protect the plant's cultivation and the drink's production.
After the agave tequilana is ripe, agave growers or “jimadors” harvest the plant's spiny leaves and extract their hearts.
Also known as piñas, the hearts are sent to the distilleries that produce the tequila.
Under Mexican law, tequila can only be produced in Mexico, specifically in five regions: Jalisco, Michacán, Nayarit, Tamaulipas, and Guanajuato.
Besides Añejo Tequila, What Types of Tequila Can You Find?
There are five classifications of tequila depending on its aging. These are:
- Blanco: Also known as silver and platinum, Blanco tequila is the unaged distilled tequila expression.
- Joven: Also known as gold, oro, or dorado, this type of tequila contains a small amount of unaged tequila mixed with a variety of aged tequila.
- Reposado: Also known as rested, it is aged for two months to 364 days in American or European oak barrels.
- Añejo: Also known as aged tequila, this drink is aged for at least a year in oak barrels. It's the best option for those who like sipping tequila straight.
- Extra Añejo: Also known as ultra aged, this expression tequila is aged for at least three years.
How to Buy and Drink Tequila
If you want to enjoy tequila to the fullest, you shouldn't just pick the first bottle you find at a nearby liquor store, pour it into a shot glass, and sip it.
Before you even open the bottle, you should consider a few things, including:
- Type: Consider the types explained above and choose the one you like the most.
- NOM: It's the number of the Norma Oficial Mexicana and indicates that the bottle is authentic since it was produced in Mexico.
- Purity: If you want 100% agave tequila, look for liquor labeled “puro.” When the label says “mixto,” it's a mix with less concentration of agave.
- CRT: The CRT or Consejo Regulador del Tequila label indicates that the drink's production process was approved and met legal requirements.
- Hecho en Mexico: If it says it's “Hecho en Mexico,” you can be sure that the tequila is 100% agave and was made and bottled in Mexican regions.
- Alcohol Content: While tequila can have an alcohol level of up to 50%, tequilas made in Mexico typically have between 38% and 40% alcohol content only.
- Product Label: Does it say it's just tequila? If you don't see the label “100% agave,” it's probably a mix. Also, remember to check if it has additives, artificial flavors, or aromas.
Now, you need to know how to drink tequila. There are many ways to do it if you get creative, but this is the most popular:
Shot of Tequila With Lime and Salt
If there's a classic tequila-drinking method, it's the lime-and-salt one. It has been around for years and is the favorite way to drink tequila for many partygoers around the world.
There's a basic rule to drinking tequila like this: first salt, second tequila, then lime. Check out the more detailed steps below:
- Lick the skin between your thumb and index finger, and then add a bit of salt to the moisture there.
- Hold a lime wedge and your shot of tequila in hand.
- Lick the salt on your hand, take the tequila in one shot, if you can, and suck on the lime wedge right after!
That's it! The “salt and lime” method is the classic and easiest way to drink tequila. Do you think the flavor can be too strong? It actually is, but keep in mind that lime won't taste too sour after alcohol. However, there is something you need to do first: find the right glass!
How to Find the Right Tequila Glass
It depends on the type of tequila you want to drink and how you enjoy your tequila. Shot glasses are perfect for young tequilas, but tulip-shaped glasses are better if you want to savor the complexity of the liquor or examine its aromas. Do you prefer tequila with ice? If so, you need a lowball glass.
Wine glasses are also good options for savorers who want to slowly sip their tequila. Are fine tequilas your favorites? In that case, you can use a Glencairn glass designed for whiskey or cheaper brandy glass.
Furthermore, for those who want to enjoy their tequila on the rocks, in cocktails with sugar, or with a club soda, any basic glass can work just fine!
You Need More than a Shot Glass! Drinking Tequila like a Mexican
If you want to try that variety of Tequila Ocho or Casa Noble tequila bottle that you found in your favorite liquor store, don't forget to follow these tasting tips!
- Find the tequila glass of your choice and pour 1-2 ounces of tequila there.
- Look at the color, as each type of tequila is different. This way, you can know each tequila expression better! The Blanco and Joven varieties are clear, while the Aged and Reposado are reddish-golden or caramel. Extra Añejo tequila is golden but dark.
- Take a tiny sniff of the tequila. The senses of smell and taste complement each other since they have the same types of receptors. Therefore, it can make your tasting experience better!
- Absorb the aromas from the middle of the glass and try to identify if they are citrus, floral, sweet, or savory.
- Finally, taste the tequila! Remember that you must start with a small sip.
- Before your first shot, inhale through your nose and swallow the tequila over your tongue. Then exhale on your tongue to wake up your taste buds before trying it again!
Drinking Tequila Doesn't Have to Be Boring: The Best Ways to Do It
If you're getting tired of drinking tequila the same way or love this spirit so much that you want to sip more than just tequila shots, here are some classy but funny ways to try this hard liquor:
While it's pretty straightforward, drinking tequila over the ice is one of the most popular ways of sipping this beverage. Also, it never fails.
Don't want to add all those additives, sugars, or calorie-laden sodas that can cause more hangovers? Aged tequila over ice is the best way to go!
Tequila Sunrise Mimosa
Are you looking for something more sophisticated and fun? Tequila Sunrise Mimosa is the drink for you. It's a simple blend of liqueur with orange juice and pineapple juice that you'll love any time of day.
It's one of the favorite tequila-based drinks of vacationers! Many families opt for the Tequila Sunrise Mimosa for breakfast.
Cider and Tequila
If you are not afraid to try more risky flavors, you must have this combination! It may sound a bit odd at first, but many love it!
Just take your favorite tequila, mix it with some fresh cider and maybe add a slice of apple. It's the ideal drink for fall.
It's definitely one of the most popular ways to drink tequila. The classic margarita is a cocktail with acid notes made with tequila, triple sec, and lime juice.
Margaritas are often served with salt on the glass rim and a lemon wedge. Also, you can have it shaken with ice or “on the rocks,” without ice or “straight up,” and blended with ice or “frozen margarita.” Blanco tequila is perfect for these drinks!
If you like Margaritas but want something sweeter and fruitier, you can try the grapefruit version. It's a refreshing summer drink everyone loves when it's hot!
Just combine the lemon juice with grapefruit juice in your traditional margarita recipe. If you want to reduce the acidity even more, you can change the lime wedge for another slice of fruit. Gold tequila is a good option for these beverages, as it's often more flavorful.
If you have a shot of tequila, lime juice, and a lime wedge but you don't feel like drinking a classic margarita, you can make a pineapple lemonade!
This combination is ideal for those who want a good tequila but prefer a smooth drink. You only need a fruit, and that's it!
Do you want a refreshing cocktail for a party with your friends? If so, this drink is what you have been looking for. You only need three ingredients: good tequila, club soda, and lime.
Silver tequila goes well with this recipe. If you want something similar to the classic margarita since you don't like sweet drinks and want something fresher, tequila soda is the best option!
This bold and creative combination has become very popular in some countries! The Ginger Beergarita is a satisfying cocktail with an impressive flavor you will never forget!
You only need ginger beer, fresh lime juice, syrup, tequila, and salt. While it may be a bit scary at first, all these flavors seem to be meant for each other!
While many think of vodka when they hear “Bloody Mary,” there's a variation with tequila you'll love! Blanco tequila goes well with the intense flavor of this drink. Also, it's perfect for those who want something tasty but not too overwhelming.
To make Bloody Mary with tequila, also known as Bloody Maria, you only need seven ingredients: 100% agave tequila, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, hot sauce (or Tabasco), celery salt, and lemon juice.
This cocktail is one of the most popular ways to drink tequila in Mexico! Also known as tequila con squirt, Paloma is citrusy and bitter yet delicious.
When it comes to the base of the cocktail, you can use Reposado or Blanco tequila, as these options keep the drink light but give a richer flavor. Then, add grapefruit soda, a thick slice of lemon, and a pinch of sea salt to your glass. It's perfect for summer!
The original version of this drink is just a mix of orange juice and vodka. However, Mexicans have created a delicious breakfast variant of this cocktail with tequila!
Tequila screwdriver has fresh sweet orange juice and the expression tequila you like the most. This drink is refreshing and light, but you can add air with a whisk to make it fluffier and creamier – if you try this texture, the best liquor choice is Reposado tequila.
Sangrita or Little Blood
Also known as “Little Blood” in English-speaking countries, Sangrita is a spicy but sweet tequila-based drink. If you want to make this cocktail, you need real pomegranate grenadine, citrus juices, chili powder or hot sauce, and jalapeño!
If you are looking for a 10-minute sugary recipe to make a cool summer drink, you can try this watermelon tequila slush! In addition to being colorful and frosty, this drink is perfect for hot, sunny days.
You only have to make a watermelon granita with a splash of tequila and lime juice. If you want something boozier, add more tequila, and that's it!
Not all tequilas go well with a cocktail, and drinking this neat hard liquor is not the best choice for first-time tasters. However, you shouldn't let that stop you! You can taste tequila in many ways!
If you prefer to sip your spirits slowly and experience all the flavor notes on them, serving tequila straight is the best option for you. As expert bartenders say, 100% agave tequila is like rums or whiskeys, so you need time to savor it!
Do you want to further expand your drink's flavors in order to pick up all its nuances? A touch of water can help! In fact, this technique is very popular among whiskey lovers and tasters. It's a great idea when drinks are too stiff or have too strong flavors.
If you want to mix your tequila, margaritas or cocktails are the way to go. Whether you're making them for a party or to cool off during the hot season, tequila-based mixed drinks are a delicious and convenient option!
If you want to get creative, look for a cocktail shaker and try the most daring combinations! Do you prefer more traditional drinks? Opt for straight tequila and lick salt before taking a lime wedge to your mouth. Just enjoy this drink the way you want the most!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have more doubts about how to sip tequila? Check out the FAQ section below!
- What is the difference between mezcal and tequila?
The term “mezcal” defines any agave-based beverage. Therefore, tequila is a type of mezcal. However, both taste different. Mezcal is savory and smoky, while tequila has a smoother, sweeter flavor.
Additionally, tequila can only be produced from the blue Weber agave plant, while mezcal can be legally made from over 40 agave spices.
- How much tequila should I drink to get drunk?
The amount of tequila that can get you drunk depends on you and other aspects, such as your alcohol tolerance, age, size, and gender. Whether or not you have eaten before drinking can determine how quickly you can get drunk.
- Is it true that some tequilas have a worm?
No, it's not true! It's a common misconception. No tequila expression has a worm. The only Mexican alcoholic beverage that has a worm is the mezcal.
Spirits experts have explained that the worm is actually a “moth larvae” known in Latin America as “gusano de maguey.” It lives in the agave plant used to make the mezcal.