How To Drink Tequila According To A Texas Bartender
Tequila has inspired songs, cocktails, raucous evenings, and interminable mornings-after for the unfortunate among us. The Distilled Spirits Council reports that tequila volumes in the U.S have increased at an average rate of 5.8 percent per year, driven in part by the growing popularity of premium tequilas.
The agave spirit shows no sign of slowing down, either. According to Mexicos National Tequila Industry Chamber, global consumption of Mexican tequila is on the rise and is estimated to grow 3.2 percent annually by 2021.
Alba Huerta, co-owner of Houstons award-winning agave-centric bar The Pastry War, and owner of Julep, has personal and professional connections to tequila. She got her start at bartending at the ripe age of 19 in Houston. Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, Huerta attributes some of the milestones in her career to H-town, her adopted hometown since the 80s.
I feel like theres a huge investment in the city that youre from and I love that. We can talk about spirits, bars, cocktails but its really about the people, Huerta says. Its always a pleasure to serve people in Houston. Theyre wonderful.
From where Huerta sits, there is no right or wrong way to drink tequila. Your tequila style is ultimately contingent on your craving, and whats in your glass. A blanco might be enjoyed differently from a reposado, for example, while beautifully aged anejos are best suited to slow sipping.
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Tequila Cocktails & Mixed Drinks
Named after the town of its origin, tequila is a strong spirit distilled from the blue agave plant.
This unusual flora grows best in the red, volcanic soils of the tequila region, making it unique to the region and a key economic crop for local farmers.
So drinking these cocktails isnt just a fun way to spend an afternoon, its also a way of supporting Mexican agriculture!
In its hometown, tequila is usually enjoyed neat. Knocked back with salt and lime, its a powerful pick-me-up.
But you dont have to be a tequila purist to make the most of this booze.
Cultivate your cocktail skills by mixing it up in a margarita, blending it into an icy slushie or making a smooth and silky martini.
Shake it up and get ready to party. Its cocktail hour somewhere!
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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How Do You Drink Tequila On Cinco De Mayo
Drink it as a shot, in a cocktail or frozen margarita, or drink it slowly from a fine glass in any of the three methods listed above.Wonderful news is that there is no incorrect way to drink tequila on Cinco de Mayo, which is a good thing .There are, nonetheless, some approaches to picking and consuming tequila that will make your Cinco de Mayo celebration far more joyful.
How To Drink Reposado Or Aejo Tequila
If young, white tequilas are too confrontational, the best advice is to start with an añejo tequila, which is aged in a barrel for at least a year. Aged tequilas are comparable to a fine cognac. The flavor is smoother and sweeter, with hints of vanilla or caramel. The trade-off is that the agave flavor is softer.
The middle ground would be a reposado, which is aged in a barrel for between two months and one year. You get a stronger agave profile with a less refined finish.
Because it is harder to detect the agave profile, it is recommended to drink añejo tequila at room temperature. A snifter glass is also a great way to experience the tequila profile, which adds to the flavor when drinking. Similarly, reposado is also typically drunk at room temperature.
Purists, however, argue that tequila should only be drunk young because you otherwise cant appreciate all the complexities of the agave . Aging tequila or multiple distillations remove a lot of what makes tequila the unique drink it is.
However, once you taste a premium añejo, like Tapatio or Don Julio 1942, its hard to keep reposado or añejo tequila off your tequila shelf.
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The Best Ways To Drink Tequila
In Mexico, the traditional way to drink tequila is neat and with small, regular sips. Purists say tequila should be young or white and that it should be drunk at room temperature. All of these points give you the best way to savor and taste the earthy notes of the agave plant.
Besides ignoring the hard work that goes into producing each glass of tequila, shooting tequila makes you look like a tourist in Mexico.
Of course, as far as the tequila industry goes, there are many ways to enjoy tequila: chilled, aged, in a cocktail and you will develop your own preferences and favorite brands. You can also review which tequilas have won the annual SIP awards.
The important thing is to know what you are looking for when buying and drinking tequila so you look like an expert.
What Is The Best Tequila To Mix With
How Do You Choose A Good Tequila
Most people un-schooled in tequila give very little thought to to what they are buying, opting for either the fun bottle or, for a more serious occasion, a generic bottle of Jose Cuervo.
However, much the same as a brandless bottle of whisky off the supermarket shelf isnt going to taste as smooth as a 25 year Talisker, choosing a good tequila involves quite a bit more understanding and thought.
Here are the main things to look for when choosing a good tequila.
How To Drink Tequila Straight Or Neat: Whats A Good Chaser
The most popular way to drink tequila is straight. Some do tastings with tequila with a slight swish over the tongue, followed by an exhale through your nose before swallowing. This helps identify the different flavor profiles and release some alcohol fumes. Usually, though, it is enough to start with a small sip to prepare your tongue, followed by a longer sip to taste it properly.
A common sidekick to drinking tequila neat is an equal-sized shot of sangrita, a slightly spicy, tomato-based drink reminiscent of a bloody Mary. You then alternate your sips between tequila and sangrita. You can make it at home exactly to your taste, or buy it online. Commercial sangrita tends to be sweeter and less spicy artisanal sangrita has more herbs and is closer to the authentic version.
If youre feeling nationalistic, order a bandera , which includes three shot glasses that represent the Mexican flag: lime juice , young tequila , and sangrita . You alternate sips between the three, and it works as a great chaser if youre still unaccustomed to drinking straight tequila.
Another common way to drink tequila is alongside a beer, and use the beer as a chaser for the tequila. Some will lightly suck on a lime slice dipped in salt, but this is less common.
Tequila cocktails are also popular, although you wouldnt waste a premium tequila by mixing it. Some popular mixes include margaritas, a vampira or bloody Maria , tequila sunrise, paloma , or tequini .
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Shooting Tequila Imbibing Quickly
How To Drink Tequila And Actually Enjoy It
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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:
Best Aejo: Don Julio Aejo
Courtesy of Reserve Bar
Region: Jalisco | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Caramel, Baked yam, Ginger
Don Julio, Chasse notes, takes care of its raw materials. When the producers were planting their fields, they used much more land than other producers and spaced the agave out so as not to overtax the soil and sap it of its nutrients. Thats important when the plants take so long to come to maturity, and it leads to some lively flavors in the spirit.
Hurley notes the baked yam, toasted oak, caramel and vanilla notes that two and a half years of wood aging give this añejo. But its round, sweet qualities are balanced out, says Chasse, by a gingery, peppery spice.
Good to Know: Want to nibble while you sip? Try fatty things with a crisp blanco, like guacamole and chips, a grilled steak and carnitas tacos. For aged tequilas, Hurley advises dark chocolate. And any sipping tequila goes great with spicy or salty foods, chased by a Mexican lagerjust the way the distillers like to drink it themselves.
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What About Cristalino Tequila
A newer technique on the market is cirstalino tequila: it is aged or añejo tequila, where the color is filtered out to give it a clear color. The filtration process strips the tequila of some of the woodier flavors, without loosing the smoothness of the aging process.
They are becoming increasingly popular as they offer the complexity and texture of an aged tequila but with some bright agave notes of a young tequila.
One of the first cirstalino tequilas was Don Julio 70 to commemorate the founders entry into the tequila market 70 years before. It is aged for 18 months and is best neat or on the rocks.
Maestro Dobel Diamante claims to be the first multi-aged cirstalino, which mixes tequilas of various ages to use all of the different flavor profiles. Qui creates its platinum cirstalino using extra añejo , while Moët Hennessys technique for its Volcan cirstalino is to use a variety of barrrels during the aging process.
Raspberry Mint Tequila Smash
This breezy booze tastes like summer in a glass.
And not just any summer. The kind of summers that are drenched in sunshine, full of good times, and seem to last forever.
This magical blend of fresh berries and leafy mint is gorgeously refreshing.
Its spiked with tequila and sharpened with a dash of zesty lime to really kick things into high gear.
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What Is The Smoothest Tequila
Here are the best sipping tequilas our experts recommend to drink right now.
- Best Highlands: El Tesoro Reposado.
- Best for Beginners: Casamigos Blanco.
- Best Under $30: Espolòn Reposado.
- Best Under $50: Cazadores Añejo.
- Best Splurge: Don Ramón Limited Edition Extra Añejo.
- Best Gift: Casa Dragones Añejo Barrel Blend.
Best Highlands: Chamucos Reposado Tequila
Courtesy of Drizly
Region: Jalisco | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: White flowers, Stone fruit, Sea salt
Though other expressions have since been added, Tequila Chamucos was founded in 1994 as a reposado-only, so you can be sure that its producers are dedicated to the style.
Made with organic, high-mountain agave cooked in a brick oven and distilled in a stainless steel alembic still, it is triple-filtered and then aged in both American and French oak barrels. All of that renders one smooth sip. Floral on the nose, it has the bittersweet fruitiness and briny undertones to keep you coming back for more.
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Why Does Tequila Not Give You A Hangover
Pure Tequila, on the other hand, does not contain nearly as much sugars or congeners as blended tequilas, resulting in fewer hangovers. However, even the Blanco, 100 percent agave tequila includes ethanol the difference is that the congeners are reduced, which means that there is no tequila hangover to be had after drinking it.
How To Make Aejo Tequila On The Rocks
Start with a large clear ice cube or crushed ice in a rocks sized glass or whisky glass.
I like the Clearly Frozen large ice cube maker. Or just run crushed ice though your fridge ice maker.
Pour 2 oz. of Añejo Tequila over the ice. Give the tequila a stir around the ice.
Optionaladd an orange or lime coin to the drink. A coin is just a round piece of citrus peel.
Also optional, add 2 tiny drops of agave syrup. Give it a really good stir around the glass. It doesnt change the flavor of the drink, it just takes the initial bite out of the tequila. And adds a super subtle sweetness that pairs really nice with the vanilla-caramel finish of the Añejo.
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How Do Beginners Drink Tequila
Follow the sipping protocol to the letter.
First Things First: What Is Tequila
Tequila is a strong liquor that is made from a type of cactus native to Mexico called agave , particularly, the BLUE AGAVE plant. Other similar liquors are made from other types of agave, but REAL tequila is ONLY made from BLUE Agave
Region also determines authenticity. Much like Champagne, in order for Tequila to really earn its name, it MUST be made from plants that come from a specific region of Mexico where the Agave plant grows natively .
We can trace the earliest roots of distilling agave to make booze all the way back to the ancient Aztec people. Their drink, Pulque , is among the earliest known ancestors to tequila. When the Spaniards came, they adopted the drink and began utilizing some of their own European techniques for distilling. This slowly evolved into what is modern-day tequila. Other liquors, like Vodka, have had a history of debate over their origins, but there is no question Tequila is Mexican.
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