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How to enjoy Tequila in Mexico

By Rachel Nash

Posted: 30th October 2012 11:21

There’s more to tequila than the lime and salt, pounding shot after shot and ending on a dreadful hangover.  It’s actually a well-loved spirit and can be enjoyed in many different ways.  The Mexicans put it in everything - drinks, food and even use it to ‘cure’ illness.  It’s a unique symbol of their culture.  So stick on a sombrero, a poncho and some winkle pickers and head down to the nearest Mexican bar.  Ariba!   

Tequila & Mexico

Mexico is home to tequila and to this day holds a strong bond with the alcoholic drink; laws declare that tequila can only be produced in the Mexican state of Jalisco and the country has claimed the international rights to the word ‘tequila’, meaning no other country can use it to name a bottle of alcohol. 

Tequila is made from a blue agave plant which typically looks like a giant pineapple once dug up from the root and cut up.  It is then cooked in the oven which turns the pina (pineapple) brown and sugary and is then mashed or shredded and finally distilled to make tequila.  Hard work goes into making tequila; it’s still traditionally a manual process and the men who harvest the agave have sacred knowledge about the plant which has been passed down from generation to generation.   

There are three different types of tequila depending on age: ‘Blanco’, ‘Reposado’ and ‘Anejo’, with each enjoyed in different cocktails – as well as on their own, obviously. 

Blanco

Blanco tequila (also known as ‘silver’) is clear and bottled as soon its distilled, meaning it’s aged in oak for less than two months.  The Blanco taste is harsher than other types of tequila; it’s where the agave is at its strongest and is the base for other tequilas.  Typically, Blanco tastes the best with mixers in cocktails; margaritas, tequila sunrises and Bloody Marias (a Bloody Mary but the vodka is replaced with tequila).  Blanco compliments any fruit cocktail well, and is used because it won’t distort the colour of a bright cocktail.  But don’t underestimate its taste; just because it’s mixed you’ll still be able to feel the refreshing tequila ‘kick’ in a cocktail of orange juice and bright red grenadine. 

Enjoy a bottle of silver Patron Tequilain your margarita. 

Reposado

The Reposado tequila is aged between two months and a year giving it a richer taste.  It’s a darker, golden brown colour and is smoother and subtle.  The mix of the clear distilled Blanco combined with oaky flavour of the Anejo make it an in-between, if you will.  Go into any bar outside of Mexico, ask for a shot of tequila and you’ll be severed Reposado, a slice of lime and handed a salt shaker.  Reposado can also be enjoyed mixed in a long island ice tea, cosmoquila (a cosmopolitan made with tequila rather than vodka) and compliments peach, watermelon and lemon flavours well. 

Enjoy the popular Reposado tequila brand, Jose Cuervo

Anejo

If you’re not a tequila fan, this is the best one for you.  Anejo is the most subtle of the three and is the most premium tequila you’ll find.  It has plenty of flavour floating in the bottle.  It’s aged over a year so a lot of hard work and time rests in any bottle of Anejo so you’re not going to want to mix in a margarita.  We’ll be honest the best way to enjoy Anejo is straight, it’s too precious to waste on any cocktail but if you like your tequila mixed with other varieties of alcohol then try it in Mad Men’s Don Draper’s poison; an Old Fashioned.  Typically it’s enjoyed mixed with bourbon whiskey (Jack Daniel’s) but it’s preferred more made with Anejo tequila.  It’s a classy drink, so no stumbling around the bar after one too many. 

Don JulioAnejo tequila is well loved. 

Fit in with the locals

Don’t walk into a traditional Mexican bar and order a shot of tequila, a slice of lemon and ask for salt because the locals will give you some disgraced looks, you may not even get served.  If you want to impress the Mexicans drink tequila neat.  If you’re not as hardcore as you think, then we recommend an Anejo as the taste won’t be so harsh.  Don’t shot it, sip it slowly and appreciate the taste.  If you still crave a cocktail then order a Paloma, a traditional Mexican cocktail made in a highball glass with grapefruit soda, club soda and tequila. 

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