Pretty much everyone has a tequila story, and many of them do not have happy endings.
That’s what happens when you throw back a few shots of the stuff – which is how partiers have long imbibed this agave-based spirit. Well, it’s time to move beyond those crazy college shindigs and take another look at the liquor. There are many artisanal labels rolling out these days, and they can be enjoyed in cocktails or even sipped with a few cubes of ice. Check out our guide to the spirit below – cheers!
Tequila is made in Mexico from the blue agave plant. Although there are other agave-based liquors, to be dubbed a true tequila the label has to be distilled in a specific region of Mexico – just like a sparking wine can only be called Champagne if it comes from a specific area of France. The spirit is potent, with most labels clocking in at 80 proof. Also – it’s an urban legend that there is a worm at the bottom of the bottle. That’s only the case for the cheapest of the cheap, or for a label trying to capitalize on that myth.
Types of Tequila
There are a few different types of tequila, but you’re likely to encounter three in most circumstances. Blanco is white tequila, it’s not aged in barrels (this process gives liquors a darker hue) and is easy to mix with cocktails. Reposado is put in oak barrels and will be slight darker, and slightly more expensive since it is aged. Anejo is aged for the longest amount of time and will be the priciest at your liquor store. This higher-end tequila type is kept in the wooden barrels for over a year and sometimes up to three years. Instead of mixing an Anejo into a cocktail, try pouring it over some ice and sipping it like you would a fine scotch (check out our beginner’s guide to scotch if you need an intro).
Master the Margarita
Of course, the ultimate tequila cocktail is the Mexican Margarita. Is there anything better than this mix of tequila, lime and orange liqueur? Not so much. You can play around with the measurements, but the standard recipe is 1.5 ounces tequila mixed with 1.5 ounces of lime juice and one ounce of triple sec, with a spoonful of sugar added to taste. Mix it up, pour it in a glass with ice and garnish with a lime. The salt vs. no salt debate has strong fans on each side, so we’ll leave that one up to you.
Get Creative: Margarita Jello Shots
If you’re going to break out the shot glasses, don’t just start pouring the booze in and doing that whole salt and lime business. Get creative! Margarita Jello Shots are a great way to spice up your party without feeling like you’ll need to siesta through your headache the next day. Check out the recipe here.