How to Start Drinking Tequila

Are you looking for a way to get into the world of drinking tequila? Tequila isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve never tried it before, you may be missing out on something you’ll really enjoy. There’s more to tequila than simply mixing in the cheapest option with some pre-made margarita sour and calling it a cocktail, and it’s important to educate yourself on the proper way to enjoy your tequila if you’re thinking of giving it a try. The next time you’re looking for something new and interesting to sample when you’re at the bar, you may just want to try a tequila or tequila-based cocktail. Read on to find out more.

What is it?
Tequila is a type of alcohol that comes from Mexico and is made from the blue agave. You may come across very cheap tequilas that are made from other ingredients as well, with only some blue agave content; these are not true tequila and you should stay away from them when you’re trying to enjoy tequila the right way. Real tequila can only come from certain parts of Mexico, or else it isn’t considered a true tequila and must be labeled as something else.

Tequila comes in a variety of different styles, so it’s important to understand what you’re looking at when you go to the liquor store. Not all tequilas are going to be made the same way, and it’s crucial to know what to buy before you go in. Otherwise, you may end up overwhelmed and may choose the wrong thing entirely.

Which kind should you try first?
That depends entirely on what you’re going to do with the tequila. However, depending on your tastes, preferences, and how you plan to use it, there are different types of tequila that may best suit your needs.

White, silver, plata, blanco: These terms all mean the same thing. These are smooth, mild tequilas that haven’t been aged very much. They’re great for beginners to the world of tequila shots and cocktails, but they’re not very complex and therefore aren’t good for sipping.

Reposado: This is the best go-to tequila style for those who are trying to get into sipping instead of shooting. Try to reach for a reposado if you can; you’ll be pleased with the flavor the oak barrel aging process brings to this drink.

Oro, gold, joven: This is a strong, overwhelming, and not very high-end type of tequila. It’s not ideal for sipping.

Anejo: This is a good sipping tequila for those who have developed a taste for the drink already. It’s been aged longer than any other styles of tequila and has a very bold, sharp, but complex flavor. Like most liquors, different brands and labels will have something unique to add to the flavor profile of this type of tequila. This is the “end goal” when you’re getting into the world of sipping tequila.

Is there really a worm in it?
No. You’re thinking of Mezcal, which is sometimes sold with a worm, scorpion, or other insect or animal inside the bottle. However, this is actually just a marketing ploy, and the worm doesn’t do anything for the Mezcal at all. It’s not even a cultural practice, and is just used to make certain brands look more enticing to buyers. Usually, these are low-end Mezcals that you should stay away from anyway.

Isn’t it just for shots and margaritas?
No—and if that’s the only way you’ve ever tried tequila, then you’ve never really tried it. Tequila is actually meant to be sipped and savored, especially when it comes to the higher-end stuff out there. If you’re buying a very cheap, low-end tequila (which you really shouldn’t do in the first place), chances are good it’s only going to be useful for shots or margaritas. But if you want to really enjoy this drink and see what the fuss is all about, then do yourself a favor: buy a good brand, don’t skimp out on the product you purchase, and sip it slowly over time to get the most out of the taste.

You should fill a shot glass with your tequila of choice and then sip it, slowly, taking your time to enjoy the taste and the burn. Most of the time, the rest of the shot should be sipped the same way. However, it’s also okay to enjoy some lime and salt with your tequila if you really want to, as long as you do it the right way. Every few sips, dip a wedge of lime into a little bit of salt and suck on it. This will help take away some of the burn associated with the tequila and will also make the drink last a little bit longer, especially if you’re new to the world of drinking tequila without just throwing back a shot.

Finally, you can also mix tequila into other cocktails aside from just margaritas. Don’t feel too limited by the beachy, vacation options you’ve seen that contain tequila, either. There are plenty of classy drinks out there you may want to sample that rely on tequila as one of—or the only—alcohol base in the beverage. Although it might take some time to dig up the right cocktail recipe for your needs, you should have no trouble finding something you want to sample when you take your time and look around at the different tequila-based cocktails out there.

And if you really must make a margarita, make it the right way. Use fresh ingredients, don’t buy bottled, pre-made sour, and pay attention to the way the ingredients play with each other to create a nice, refreshing, well-balanced drink. And don’t put it in the blender.

Now that you’ve learned a little bit about how to enjoy tequila, it’s time to pick your favorite way to try it and see for yourself why so many people reach for tequila as their go-to alcohol of choice. Although you may only associate tequila with college parties or cheap margaritas, there’s so much more to this classic alcoholic beverage than you may realize. When you give yourself a chance to dive into the world of tequila drinking, you’re sure to open up some new horizons and discover a drink you’ll want to try in all sorts of fresh, new, and exciting ways.

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