Most of us, simply have tequila shots. Well this is a very “tourist” approach to tequila. Lets dive in the intricacies of Tequila drinking and explore the different kinds of tequilas and how they are drunk.
Often when you order for tequila shots, you will either be served a blanca or plata. This means that the tequila is unaged and clear. This is the most popular tequila and is ideal for shots. Reposado (aged minimum 2 months but less than a year) is also a popular variety.
The most popular way to drink a tequila shot, is as follows: You first moisten the area between the index finger and the thumb while keeping your palm facing down and your thumb sticking outwards. The native’s moisten it by licking it. You now pour some salt on this area. Also, keep a lime slice ready by your side. Now lick the salt of your hand and shoot the tequila. This should immediately be followed by squeezing the lime in your mouth.
The salt is known as the seasoning. It seasons your tongue and throat to “cut” the harshness of tequila. The lime is known as the chaser. It helps balance and enhance the taste of tequila.
In native Mexico, they do it slightly differently. Tequila is rarely had in shots here. Firstly, they pour the tequila in a caballito. This is very similar to our shot glasses, only slighter slimmer and taller (It is the standard 2 oz though). The main difference however is the sipping of a sangrita by the side. It is often sipped alternatively with sangrita, which is a blend of tomato and orange juice, with salt and spiced with chillies.
In certain European countries such as Germany, Tequila is drunk with cinnamon (replacing salt) and orange slices (replacing lime). This makes an interesting combination and if you are the adventurous sort, do try it next time.
Some of the other fine or premium tequilas such as añejo (aged minimum 1 year) or extra añejo (aged minimum 3 years) are not drunk as shots. These are drunk mostly in snifters, as one would drink neat cognac. This way the aroma and bouquet of these tequilas are truly appreciated. The Austrian glass maker, Riedel, has designed a special 6 ¾ oz tequila glass, which they believe enhances the flavour of fine tequilas.
Even though tequilas are mostly served iced cold, natively it is drunk at room temperature. Tequila also mixes well in cocktails and the Margarita is the most popular of them all.
If you are interested to know more about tequila such as its history and how it is made, keep a watch out my next article “All About Tequila”
Lastly, as I always say, there is no “right” way to have a drink. Tequila is no different. Drink it, the way you enjoy and forget the rest (after a couple of shots you will anyway!).