Unfortunately, many people tend to view tequila simply as a throat-burning, eye-watering shot you’ve forced yourself to down many times at some nightclub or pub when you were trying to join the party. Oh, and there was salt and lime too, sometimes even a slice of lemon… We’ve all been there – taste horrible, doesn’t it? But in tequila’s defence, that probably wasn’t real tequila but mixto, where only the minimum of 51% is actually blue agave and the rest is other sugars and crap you want to steer away from. Most people don’t realise the salt and lime gimmicks are simply a method of ‘masking’ the cheap and nasty taste of this faux tequila – a true tequila is a wonderful drink, and always 100% blue agave.
So, to encourage everyone to learn more about agave spirits and how to drink them, I have teamed up with Tequila & Mezcal Fest to give you a chance to win a pair of tickets for the next festival in London on 7th–8th October 2017 (see entry at the end of the post). It’s a tremendous event, interesting and a lot of fun. But meanwhile you can up your tequila game and practise with some of the tips below.
Four ways to enjoy tequila (like a proper Mexican)
When you explore beyond the mixtos (Jose Cuervo, Olmeca, Sauza…) and really focus on finding top-quality 100% agave tequilas, to truly appreciate them, they should be drunk neat (without salt and lime obviously – you want to taste the spirit!). This applies particularly when we are talking about the Reposado, Anejo and Extra Anejo categories. These are all aged tequilas and have taken a lot of their smooth flavours from the wood. They are full-bodied and have a smoother and more syrupy consistency, which makes them excellent sipping tequilas. You can read more about tequila and tequila categories here.
Forget shot glasses and serve tequila from a brandy snifter for a better tasting experience. Or if you are serious about your tequila find an “official” tequila glass, similar in design to a Champagne flute (and impress your fellow drinkers). Failing these, a taller shot glass is always an option.
These will get you started:
Tapatio Blanco & Reposado
Ocho Blanco & Reposado
Siete Leguas Reposado
Herencia de Plata (whole range)
Now we are really talking – this is a true Mexican way of drinking tequila. When you go to a bar ask for your chosen tequila bandera, for example “Could I have a Siete Leguas Reposado Bandera por favor?” The bartender will give you three shots in the colours of the Mexican flag (bandera means flag):
A shot of lime juice (green)
A shot of your chosen tequila (white)
A shot of Sangrita (red)
Sangrita is a mix of spices, tomato juice and orange juice, an excellent combination for serving with tequila (see a recipe here). Now you just sip from each glass in turn. A must-try combo which will give you an insight into why Mexicans are always smiling!
Why not accompany a shot of tequila with a nice cold bottle of beer? There’re many beers that enhance the tequila sipping experience. Just pour yourself a glass of your chosen tequila, open an ice-cold beer (most commonly a lager) and get sipping – perfect for enjoying in the summer heat.
Two XX (Dos Equis)
Special Model (Modelo Especial)
Model Black (Modelo Negra)
There’re some great tequila-based cocktails out there! Margarita might be a boring choice for some, but when it’s done well with a nice tequila it is a wonderful drink. I also like a hint of spiciness with tequila, see the recipe below for one of my favourite tequila cocktails.
Hosting a party and need a recipe for a punch? Try mixing tequila (I used Cazcabel Blanco) with prosecco, soda, fresh juices from both watermelon and lime, sugar syrup, plenty of mint and watermelon cubes. Amazing!
If you liked the idea of sipping both beer and tequila, why not try a cocktail with both? For example, in a shaker, combine tequila Reposado, Pimm’s, lime juice, vanilla syrup and dash of bitters. Pour over ice and top up with Modelo Negra and garnish with mint. See the full recipe on the Modelo website.
As promised, here’s the recipe for one of my favourite tequila cocktails:
15ml green chartreuse
50ml pineapple juice
15ml fresh lime juice
5-10ml jalapeno syrup (or more if you like it spicy; you could replace this with Arbikie Chilli Vodka)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake well with ice. Pour over the ice and garnish with a lime wheel and a chilli pepper. Jalapeno syrup is simply normal sugar syrup with jalapenos left to soak in it. I always make a small bottle and leave it in the fridge together with the jalapenos.
Together with Tequila & Mezcal Fest, we would like to encourage you to learn more and try more tequilas and other agave spirits. There’s no better way to do so than getting your tasting glass ready and heading to the Tequila Festival itself! Simply like On the Sauce Again and Tequila Fest on social media, share this post on Twitter or Facebook and tag a friend you would like to bring with you (or leave a comment with a name)! Don’t forget to hashtag #teqfest17.
Competition closes 12th May 2017. COMPETITION IS CLOSED.
*Please note both tickets are available for Sunday 8th October only.