It’s National Tequila Day, which means for those who truly enjoy the staple spirit of the holiday read on. You’ll be surprised to discover there are some things you should know about tequila before throwing it back. So sit back and learn a few things about your favorite party libation.
Go Puro or Go Home
This national and historic drink of Mama Mexico (as in the Aztecs and Spaniards were imbibing it back in the day) is actually fermented from the agave plant, which is found in the state of Jalisco near the city of Tequila. It actually tastes more like the plant when it’s “puro” or 100% made of agave. “The highlands of Jalisco… provide a microclimate that provides an agave of extremely good quality, that provides tequila with a very distinctive profile; it goes down very, very smooth and it’s a fresh, clean, crisp taste,” a representative of Milagro Tequila brand told AskMen.com. “Mixto” tequilas, which are blended with other sugars, aren’t any less delicious. They’re actually made of 51% agave as required by Mexican law, but the taste is definitely different since it’s a combination of flavors including cane sugar or almonds, nor does it lend itself to drinking slowly.
Know Your Colors
There are many bottles and brands available at the bar and liquor store so it’s easy to think all tequilas are the same. In actuality, there are three main types of tequila you should be familiar with. Their color, age and taste will make the difference between enjoying your drink or sending it back to the bartender.
- Blanco (white) or plata (silver) has a white color and is bottled soon after being distilled. Its youth comes out in the sabor – it tastes a bit harsher and crisper.
- Reposado (rested) tequila is aged for at least two months but less than a year in oak barrels. It has a light golden color and picks up the flavor of the wood containers where it’s stored. It typically tastes smoother and more complex but with a woody, smoky flavor.
- Anejo (aged) is stored for at least one year in small oak barrels and has a deeper caramel hue than its younger brothers. It has more of a woody taste and not at all like the agave plant it hails from. This type is more expensive, best sipped from a larger white wine glass and is definitely best enjoyed lentamente.
How To Drink It
It’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of the holiday and pound back tiny glass after tiny glass of this liquor, but I urge restraint. The better the tequila, the more you will want to actually taste it rather than throw it down your throat. Try drinking it like a native and sipping it straight with a chaser of sangrita (a drink made of tomato juice, orange and lime juices). If you’re a novice and feeling gun shy, try something besides a margarita or shot with salt and lime. La Paloma is a popular cocktail made of tequila, lime and grapefruit soda. And another thing, be sure to stay away from anything that has a worm in it – it doesn’t mean it’s more authentic. In fact it means that the plant the liquor was taken from was infected and is low quality, to say the least
Tequila bottles (Accordion)- ©istockphoto.com/propagandamlm
Agave plant – ©istockphoto.com/maiteali
Shot glasses – ©istockphoto.com/atrurogi