three glasses of tequila cocktails with garnishes on bar

How to Drink Tequila: Try These Three Mind-Blowing Mixes

We’ve all been there — doing sloppy tequila shots that meant waking up with a sombrero on our head and a piñata in our bed the next day. However, high-quality, 100% agave tequila is a far cry from that plastic bottle rotgut we chugged in the dorms.

Tequila has tamed its wild ways and gone artisanal, with complex flavors meant to be sipped and savored, not swilled. When consumed responsibly and in moderation, this iconic Mexican spirit can be a true amigo to a fun night out. It’s time to give this historically misunderstood spirit another shot (get it?).

In this guide, we’ll explore the world of tequila, from its history and production process to the different types and how to enjoy it like a true aficionado. Whether you’re a seasoned sipper or a curious newcomer, we’ll equip you with the knowledge to navigate the agave labyrinth and discover your perfect tequila match.

What Is Tequila?

At its core, tequila is a distilled spirit made from the succulent blue agave plant that resembles a large pineapple. This iconic Mexican drink has been produced for centuries, with its origins tracing back to the indigenous people of western Mexico in the 16th century.

So, what does tequila actually taste like? Well, that depends on the type and quality. The good stuff — 100% blue agave tequilas — offers complex earthy, citrusy, herbaceous notes with a sweet agave backbone and a clean, peppery finish.

Visually, tequila can vary from crystal clear for silver tequilas (blanco) to a beautiful golden hue for reposado (rested) or añejo (aged) tequilas.

What Is the Alcohol Content of Tequila?

Tequila is generally bottled at a minimum of 38% alcohol by volume (ABV), which is 76 proof. However, most tequilas on the shelf are bottled at 40% ABV (80 proof), similar to vodka or whiskey.

Some tequilas — especially those aged for longer periods — can reach even higher alcohol content. These are not as common but can go up to 46% ABV (92 proof) or even higher.

How to Serve Tequila?

Knowing how to serve tequila is almost as important as what tequila you’re serving. The perfect setup and pairings can elevate the whole experience. Generally, tequilas are best served at room temperature or slightly chilled. This allows the aromas and flavors to come through clearly.

Tequila’s bright herbal notes make it incredibly versatile for food pairings. Blanco pairs well with fresh seafood dishes like ceviche or oysters, while reposado pairs well with grilled meats and smoky flavors like grilled vegetables or chipotle peppers. As for anejo or aged tequila, think sophisticated food—dark chocolate, aged cheeses, or a perfectly cooked steak.

What Is the Serving Size of Tequila?

Tequila is a spirit meant to be savored, not slammed. A standard serving of tequila is considered to be 1.5 ounces (44 ml). This resembles the typical serving size for spirits like vodka, whiskey, or gin.

Can You Drink Tequila Straight?

Absolutely! In fact, many tequila aficionados recommend drinking high-quality tequila straight to fully appreciate its unique flavors.

What Are the Best Mixers for Tequila?

Tequila is a versatile spirit that pairs beautifully with various mixers, creating a wide range of delicious cocktails. The most common mixers include citrus juices (lime, grapefruit, etc.), fruit juices (pineapple, watermelon, etc.), ginger beer, and spicy syrups.

What Other Liquors Go Well With Tequila?

Tequila pairs wonderfully with several other liquors, creating unique and flavorful cocktails. For instance, Mezcal — a smoky cousin of tequila — complements its earthy notes, while rum adds a sweet, tropical twist.

Vodka’s neutrality blends seamlessly, enhancing the tequila’s character without overpowering it. In contrast, gin introduces botanical complexity — perfect for adventurous palates. Triple sec or Cointreau adds citrusy sweetness, which is essential for margaritas and other citrus-forward drinks.

Finally, tequila and whiskey create rich, robust cocktails, merging the best spirits for a delightful fusion. Experimenting with these combinations can lead to various delicious and innovative cocktails.

What Are the Best Tequila Recipes?

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of mixers and serving styles let’s get to mixing. Here are three classic tequila cocktails to tantalize your taste buds:

Classic Margarita

This iconic cocktail perfectly balances sweet, tart, and salty. Combine 2 oz blanco tequila, 1 oz fresh lime juice, and 0.5 oz orange liqueur (like Cointreau) in a shaker with ice.

Shake well and strain into a salt-rimmed glass. Garnish with a lime wedge for a touch of elegance, and enjoy the refreshing simplicity of this tequila staple.

Spicy Paloma

For a taste of Mexico with a spicy twist, try the paloma. Fill a highball glass with ice, add 2 oz blanco tequila and 3 oz grapefruit soda. Squeeze in some fresh lime juice and garnish with a grapefruit wedge.

The grapefruit’s tanginess perfectly complements the tequila, while the lime adds a touch of brightness. This is a simple yet satisfying summer cooler with a subtle spicy edge.

Tommy’s Margarita

For those who appreciate the pure taste of tequila, Tommy’s margarita is a revelation. Combine 2 oz blanco tequila, 1 oz fresh lime juice, and 0.5 oz agave nectar in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled coupe glass.

This stripped-down version lets the tequila’s flavor shine through, with the agave nectar adding a touch of sweetness to complement the tart lime.

These are just a few of the many delicious tequila cocktails waiting to be discovered. So grab your shaker, explore different recipes, and find what works best for you.

How to Prevent a Tequila Hangover?

Tequila hangovers? No bueno!

The surefire way to enjoy tequila without looking like a party piñata the next day is to keep yourself hydrated, eat before and during your tequila adventure, and stick to 100% agave tequilas. Your head (and stomach) will thank you in the morning.

Master the Art of Enjoying Tequila Without the Regrets

margarita in a glass

Tequila has come a long way from being that reckless party pal urging you into bad decisions. When you understand how to appreciate and savor high-quality 100% agave tequila properly, it transforms into a sophisticated, flavorful spirit to be sipped and respected.

So, go slowly and let each velvety note linger on your palate.

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