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Tequila: Sip, Don't Shoot

by Bradley Woolf
Tequila: Sip, Don

Sip tequila, don't shoot. If you're shooting it with a salty lick and wedge of lime, you're doing it wrong.

David Alan, manager of Trade Education and Mixology at Patrón Tequila, told HuffPost that the tendency toward tequila shots is a remnant of days “when crappy tequila dominated the market.” He added, “The shooting ritual was a quick way to get it down the hatch so you didn’t have to taste it. You don’t need salt and lime anymore because there’s so much good tequila on the market.”

There are a few golden guidelines about choosing the right tequila.

  • Always, always, always avoid mixto tequilas. These are fermented with a mix of at least 51% blue agave and 49% other stuff. They are rough and give you the nasty hangovers. We'll write more about how to spot these in a future blog.
  • A drinkers palate. This is personal preference and there is no right or wrong. Before you choose which expression of tequila you like, consider first the region where the agave comes from.

Agave from Los Altos region. Soil in this region have a high content of red clay and combined with the higher elevations are said to produce tequilas with a softer, rounder and more fruity and floral flavour.

Agave from Tequila Valley region is grown in the richer, darker volcanic earth of the valley. Tequila made from agave from this region is forward in flavour with an earthy, peppery and herbal taste profile.

Choose Blanco or Silver if you like the true taste of agave. Zesty, spicy or citrus flavours.Remember, just because it isn't aged doesn't mean it has to be harsh. A good quality, well made blanco will be smooth. It just represents the true flavour of the agave without any aroma or taste influence of the resting vessels - such as oak.

Choose Reposado if you enjoy a more mellowed agave taste. Reposado is still zesty, spicy, herbacious or citrusy, but theses tones are somewhat muted by aging the liquid in wooden barrels for between 2 - 12 months. But, just because a reposado tequila is more expensive doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better.

Choose Anejo or Extra Anejo if your preference is sweeter and complex wood flavours with only a hint of agave. The longer you age tequila the less it holds its agave profile. Anejo is aged between 1-3 years and Extra Anejo 3 years+. The latter, almost overpowering the taste of agave.

A lot of drinkers consider reposado tequilas to be “the perfect balance of agave flavor and barrel influence."

"To me, a sipping tequila is a tequila that tastes good out of the glass when sipped on its own,” Alan added. “Why would I want any tequila on my back bar that you couldn’t sip or that didn’t taste good on its own?”

That’s all for now

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