What The Heck Is Mezcal
Remember when I said that REAL tequila is made from BLUE agave and only in very specific regions? Well, when those guidelines are not followed, what you have is mezcal . Made from the more common Maguey plant , mezcal has a smoky and MUCH harsher taste to it. It is not a strict rule, but generally speaking, mezcal is considered lower-quality and less refined than tequila.
Best Gift: Casa Dragones Aejo Barrel Blend
Courtesy of Casa Dragones
Region: Jalisco | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Pepper, Nuts, Oak
Our job as bar pros is to be skeptical, but when I took the first sip, I was like, Oh, this is divine, says Chasse. A lot of bottles that people think about for gifting are on the sweeter side, but this one is not super sweet. Instead, the aging program, in both new French and new American oak, lends it complexity and balance.
Chasse finds plenty of peppery spice, nuttiness and a hint of cacao but with a lush mouthfeel that makes Casa Dragones’ tequila feel luxurious. Its sleek, charcoal-colored bottle and turquoise box present the kind of packaging that makes it giftable without wrapping paper.
Sauza Tres Generaciones Plata Silver Tequila: Best Blanco Tequila
Price: £54 |
This unaged, clear tequila is triple distilled for an exceptionally smooth sipping experience, with slight hints of citrus, floral notes and white pepper. Theres no throat burning with this premium tequila from Sauza, named for the three generations of their family who have been making their tequila since 1873.
In fact, theyre one of the most awarded families of tequilas, with six gongs at the International Wine & Spirits Competition, one of the most prestigious in the industry. Its clean, fresh tasting and well balanced.
Key specs Alcohol content: 38% Bottle size: 70cl Type: Blanco
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What About Tequila Shots In Mexico
The westernised way of drinking tequila where you lick some salt off the back of your hand, swallow an entire shot of tequila in one go and finish off with a quick suck on a lime wedge does actually originate from Mexico it is how Mexican people drink very young tequila i.e. not reposado or añejo.
However, this style of tequila drinking in Mexico has a party vibe to it and is more common amongst younger drinkers. As smoother tequilas are more readily available and affordable, this white, rougher tequila seems to be drunk less frequently.
How Do You Drink Sipping Tequila
Weve all heard of Tequila shots its when you propel the liquid right into your mouth. But how does it differ from sipping tequila? As the name implies, when you sip tequila, you take time to finish the drink. You dont have to drink the whole glass empty in one gulp.
Instead, you can let it sit in your hand while youre enjoying your time talking to your family or friends. You slowly sip the drink and appreciate its beautiful flavor bit by bit.
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Is Tequila A Sipping Drink
This is not the kind of drink you should knock back with a wince and a wedge of lime its the kind of drink you should savor, sip, and celebrate. Rooms points out that the majority of tequilas people have already tried are mixtos, which are tequilas made with sugars other than agave, such as beet sugar, so they lack many of the qualities of agave.
El Tesoro Anejo Tequila
If you want to discover authentic Mexican tequila with a bold yet traditional flavor, then order a bottle of El Tesoro Tequila. El Tesoro may be owned by Beam Suntory, the Japanese company responsible for Suntory Whisky, but this tequila is still made from traditional methods and Mexican agave plants. The grandson of founder Don Felipe Camarena oversees production today. El Tesoro Añejo is aged in American oak bourbon barrels for up to three years, which results in a perfect mix of agave and oak flavors. If you try this tequila neat, youll notice sweet maple, vanilla, and caramel notes. Thanks to its historical legacy and delicious taste, El Tesoro is one of the best tequila brands in the world today.
El Tesoro Anejo
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Best Under $: Los Arango Blanco
Region: Guanajuato, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Agave, Herbs
Produced at Tequilera Corralejo in the state of Guanajuato, Jaliscos eastern neighbor, Los Arango Blanco is made with agave steamed relatively quickly in a high-pressure autoclave, then crushed with a roller mill, and distilled in a copper pot. Its one of the best blancos on the market, and at a great price, says Stevie Latona, bar manager at San Diegos Lionfish restaurant. Along with vanilla notes, the toasted agave and fresh herb flavors, he says, create a soft, smooth taste on the rocks or in a cocktail, its one of my go-tos.”
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Cherry, Mint, Pepper
A NOM is a number used to indicate the distillery in which the tequila is made. To produce this special bottle of ArteNOM, distiller Jake Lustig teamed up with the Camarenas, the family that owns and operates NOM 1579, Jaliscos Destileria el Pandillo. Brick-oven, steam-roasted agave is crushed by a special tahona called Frankenstein, jerry-rigged out of scavenged parts: a junkyard cylinder and an old train wheel axle. After copper pot distilling with a mix of rain and well water, its left to oxidize overnighta key process as oxygen accentuates the blancos fruity nature. Cherry and papaya notes mingle with mint and pepper in a spirit with a big, silky mouthfeel.
Best Sipping Tequila: Reposado
Itâs time to reel it in by revealing the best tequila reposado for sipping. Tequilas reposado consist of light golden coloring and subtly sweet flavors.
Theyâre one of the best tequilas for a tequila sunrise because they enhance the fruitiness. However, theyâre also smooth and tasty on their own.
The best tequila reposado for sipping is:
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What Is The Smoothest Tequila
Good question! Tequila begins its life as an agave plant. The jimadorthe expert farmer who grows and harvests agave plantsplucks the core of the agave, the piña, from each and roasts it in an industrial ovens. Then it’s shredded, fermented, and distilled in copper pots. Depending on the brand, flavor may then be added to the finished product. It also may go into giant oak barrels to be aged for up to 10 three yearsleading to a much smoother, less bitter taste.
Word to the wise: Agave plants only have one piña, and plants take around seven years to mature. Because of that, tequila-making can be a very difficult and time-consuming business.
How To Drink Tequila Like A Non
Before we get into the details of how to drink tequila like a Mexican, lets take a good hard stare at how the rest of us tend to approach the subject of tequila drinkingor should I say tequila slamming.
More often that not, it goes a little something like this:
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How Do Mexicans Drink Tequila
Until I tasted good tequila, the idea of sitting and sipping tequila, as Mexican people commonly do, seemed like an absurd activity. Yet the truth is that good tequila is to be savoured, not slugged down at speed.
Heres how to drink tequila like a Mexican.
Pick a tequila that is 100% agave and at least reposado.
Fill a shot glass in the normal way .
To drink, simply take a small sip of tequila straight and enjoy.
If you feel the need as a new tequila drinker, you can try your tequila with some lime and some salt. After every sip or two, dip your wedge of lime into a small amount of salt and suck on it. However, dont use too much as you will drown out the flavour of the tequila.
Ideally, try to buy the tiny limes that are light green because they are sweeter and juicier than their larger, darker counterparts.
And there you have it: how to drink tequila like a Mexican.
The Best Affordable Sipping Tequila
A cheaper price does not always imply a cheaper taste. When youâre ready to settle on a sipping tequila but hope to booze on a budget, weâve got you covered.
There are plenty of affordable tequila brands for sipping. To help you pick just one, try the Camarena Reposado. The Camarena Reposado ages for 60 days to offer a soft and tender blend of toasted agave, vanilla, and caramel.
What makes this tequila even better? It wonât bust your budget. You can find a bottle of Camarena Reposado for under $30.
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What’s The Difference Between Tequila And Mezcal
You may have heard the rumor that the spirit known as mezcal is simply a smoky version of tequila. In fact, the truth is closer to the reverse of that: the term “mezcal” refers broadly to any distillate of the agave plant produced in Mexico, so the spirit called tequila is simply one specific type of mezcal. While government regulations allow for the production of mezcal in nine different Mexican states, tequila may only be produced in five states: Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit, Guanajuato, and certain parts of Tamaulipas. Addionally, while mezcal may be produced from dozens of different agave varietiesresulting in numerous distinct styles and flavor profilestequila may only be produced from the blue Weber agave.
What Is A Good Quality Tequila
15 Best Tequila Brands Thatll Fit Your Every MoodWhether Youre Sipping Straight Or Blending A MargPatrón Silver. Patrón reservebar.com. Casamigos Blanco. Casamigos reservebar.com. Don Julio 1942. Clase Azul Reposado Tequila. Danos Blanco. Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Reposado. Hornitos Plata Tequila. Avión Añejo.More itemsMar 10, 2021
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Best Overall: Tequila Ocho Plata
Courtesy of Drizly.com
Region: Jalisco | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Pepper, Citrus, Grass, Stone fruit
The beautiful story and unique process behind this tequila really help it shine, says Chasse. The family that makes Tequila Ocho Plata has been distilling for generations. They use traditional brick ovens to slow-roast extremely ripe agave, which is chosen from specific fields each year, so that the nuances of the terroir and weather come out, especially in the blanco.
It changes depending on the field and year, says Chasse, but in general, it offers crisp, clean peppery notes, bright citrus and grassy flavors, along with the fruitiness of the extra-ripe agave. The finish also offers a nice balance between floral and earthy notes.
Good to Know: How should you drink a sipping tequila? Hurley and Chasse suggest trying it neat in a tequila glass . Add a few drops of water to open up the flavor. Medina prefers to sip his aged tequila in a snifter with one large cube of ice, which melts slowly, keeping the spirit cool but not diluting it.
Crown Royal Xr Whiskey
The extra-rare whiskey of the Crown Royal family, this alcohol was literally made for royalty. It surfaced in 1939 as a welcoming agent for the royal visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the first ever reigning monarchs to visit Canada . The product is considered such an extravagant whiskey that Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve gifted each of his teammates a bottle after they won the 2017 World Series.
According to their website, the flavor is “rich and complex” and leaves a “long, peppery and warm” finish. Such a fine whiskey is clearly best when served neat adding it to a glass of coke would be royally screwing over your drinking experience.
The exquisite taste comes at a price however a bottle will set you back at least $130. Margarett Waterbury of The Whiskey Wash says it’s totally worth it though. “If you’re ready to splurge, go ahead and pick up an XR. It’s a satisfying luxury experience and the stuff tastes just like you’d hope a deeper, more resonant version of the easy-drinking Crown Royal you know and love.”
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El Tesoro Aejo Tequila
If you want to discover an authentic Mexican tequila with a bold yet traditional flavor, then order a bottle of El Tesoro. El Tesoro may be owned by Beam Suntory, the Japanese company responsible for Suntory Whisky, but this tequila is still made from traditional methods and local agave. In fact, the grandson of founder Don Felipe Camarena oversees production today. The Añejo variety is aged in American oak bourbon barrels for up to three years, which results in a nice blend of warm agave and oak flavors. If you try this tequila neat, youll notice notes of maple, vanilla and caramel, balanced with pepper and floral tones.
Best For Sipping: El Tesoro Aejo
Courtesy of leesliquorlv.com
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Citrus, Spice, Brown butter
Like any fine spirit served neat, a good sipping tequila should be smooth, velvety, and nonabrasivebut, simultaneously, should still taste like tequila, rather than trying to mimic the characteristics of whiskey, or vodka, or anything else.
The añejo from El Tesoro is a classically-styled tequila that checks all those boxes: it’s soft and silky, a result of two to three years of aging in American oak ex-bourbon barrels, but it’s not as flush with caramel or vanilla as certain añejos that receive a more heavy-handed aging treatment. Consequently, the flavor of the agave really comes throughno surprise for a brand that prides itself on traditional production methods, from crushing the agave with a volcanic stone tahona to fermenting in open wooden vats with ambient yeasts. The El Tesoro añejo is an ideal choice the next time you’re craving the vibrancy of raw agave character without wanting to bother with ice or with lime.
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 46% | Tasting Notes: Cinnamon, Olives, Grapefruit peel
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Best Reposado: Siete Leguas Reposado
Courtesy of Drizly.com
Region: Jalisco | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Baking spices, Vanilla, Slate, Shale
Like many bartenders, Chasse considers this reposado from Siete Leguas her favorite tequila in general, regardless of the expression. The distillery where it’s made uses a mix of grinding methods: efficient roller mill and traditional tahona, a millstone carved from volcanic rock. The result: “A nice balance between sustainability and the wonderful qualities of earthiness from the more fibrous milling of the tahona, she says.
With its mix of minerality, wood-driven vanilla notes and baking-spice panache, this versatile reposado is perfect to sip on anytime along with many different types of foods, says Chasse. “It just makes my heart happy.
Okso Were All Curious About The Worm
Simply put, the worm is a gimmick. It started in the 40s to add a hand crafted authenticity appeal to sell cheap mezcal to tourists. Its important that you know that real tequila NEVER has a worm in it. When you see a worm at the bottom, THAT IS NOT TEQUILA, and its likely not even very good by mezcal standards.
If you just cant resist the allure of consuming a fermented and preserved booze-worm, keep in mind that you will very presently be on-your-ass-drunk and likely vomiting. I dont know the chemistry behind it, but that little worm PACKS A PUNCH.
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What About Tequila Hangovers
The day after my tequila tour I was hangover free and I was absolutely staggered by that fact.
The tequila tasting had been liberal and the drinking period extended, however Id stuck to the tour guides tequila tasting rule: never mix tequila with sugar. Long island ice teas , orangey tequila sunrises, sugary margaritas our westernised tequila consuming ways are intrinsically linked with the one substance that should be avoided to keep a clear head the next day.
If you want to keep the hangover at bay, dont feed your body sugar and tequila in the same sitting.
All that said, sometimes all you want is a fun tequila cocktail, headache be damned. If youre in the mood for a party of a long, cool cocktail on a hot day, check out my 8 Tequila Cocktail Recipes To Try At Home.