Tequila is a spirit that has gained popularity around the world in recent years, but not everyone knows how to properly drink it. This comprehensive guide is here to help you understand the history of tequila, the different types available, and how to serve, taste, and pair it with food. From stylish tequila drinking to tequila-inspired recipes, and even socializing with tequila, this guide has got you covered to help you drink and enjoy this spirit like a pro.
Tequila History Lesson
Tequila is made from the blue agave plant found primarily in the region surrounding the city of Tequila, 65 km (40 mi) northwest of Guadalajara, and in the highlands (Los Altos) of the central western Mexican state of Jalisco. The blue agave takes at least seven years to reach maturity. The distillation process dates back to the 16th century when Spanish conquistadors ran out of brandy and had to find another drink to satisfy their thirst. They turned to the natives’ fermented agave beverage, and over time, tequila evolved into what we know today.
Types of Tequila and How to Serve it
There are four types of tequila: blanco, reposado, anejo, and extra anejo. Blanco is clear in color, unaged, and perfect for mixing in cocktails. Reposado has a golden color and is aged for a minimum of two months and a maximum of one year. Anejo is aged for a minimum of one year but no longer than three years, while extra anejo is aged for at least three years, resulting in a darker and smoother tequila with intense flavors of vanilla and wood. When it comes to serving tequila, it’s best to use a narrow-mouthed shot glass. You can add a sprinkle of salt on your hand or wrist before licking it off to help neutralize the taste, followed by a slice of lime.
Proper tasting of tequila requires using all of your senses. Start by pouring an ounce or two in a narrow-mouthed shot glass. Swirl the tequila and take a deep breath through your nose, and smell the aroma. Then sip the tequila and let it float around your mouth. Take note of the flavor and feel the texture in your mouth, paying attention to the aftertaste. Tequila has a variety of flavors, including sweet, smoky, and spicy, and the more you taste, the better you will become at identifying them.
Pairing Tequila with Food
Tequila does not have to be enjoyed on its own. It can be an excellent complement to food, especially spicy dishes. Blanco tequila pairs well with ceviche, fish tacos, and guacamole, while reposado tequila is an ideal match for grilled chicken, quesadillas, and salsa. Anejo tequila goes well with dark chocolate desserts and creamy cheesecakes, while extra anejo tequila pairs well with cigars, dark chocolate, and truffles.
Stylish Tequila Drinking
The best way to enjoy tequila is by sipping it slowly and savoring the flavors. When it comes to fashion and style, keep it simple and classic. Opt for neutral, solid colors like white, black, or navy. Accessorize with minimal jewelry, a watch, or a leather bracelet. Stay away from bold patterns or statement pieces that can detract from the elegance of drinking tequila.
If you’re in the mood for something other than straight tequila, there are plenty of cocktails to choose from. The most popular tequila cocktail is the margarita, made with tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, and simple syrup. Another popular choice is the paloma, which combines grapefruit soda, lime juice, and tequila for a refreshing and easy-to-make cocktail. For a more adventurous cocktail, try the smoky Oaxacan Sour, which includes tequila, mezcal, lime juice, and agave syrup, offering a complex and unique flavor profile.
Tequila can also be a flavorful addition to your cooking menus. Try marinating steak or chicken in tequila for a delicious twist. Create a tangy salsa using fresh tomatoes, serrano peppers, red onions, cilantro, lime juice, and a splash of tequila. For a dessert option, make tequila-infused whipped cream to serve with fresh berries or a slice of key lime pie.
Socializing with Tequila
If you want to host a tequila-centered party, create a festive atmosphere with decorations like cacti, sombreros, and colorful banners. Pair tequila with Mexican-inspired appetizers like chips and salsa, quesadillas, and mini tacos. Turn up the music with Latin American and jazz tunes, or play a tequila tasting game where everyone brings a different bottle of tequila and tries to guess which one is which.
Tequila is a spirit that has a rich history, a variety of flavors, and endless possibilities for pairing with food, making cocktails, and hosting a party. Whether you choose to sip it straight or mix it with other ingredients, there is no wrong way to drink tequila. Use this guide to expand your knowledge and taste buds, and enjoy the world of tequila drinking.