At 26 years old I didn’t think I still needed drinking lessons. I got enough of that in college as a sorority girl. While I’ve grown up a smidgen since then my palette is still more unrefined than I care to admit. Tastings are great way to learn more about your favorite alcoholic drink or to try something completely different than your “usual”. Chris and I learned not only historical tidbits about tequila but also the proper way to drink it.
I’ll tell you a secret… Mexican folks think lime slices and salt are an abomination.
First of all, if you’re not drinking 100% Agave tequila then you’re not drinking tequila. “Mixto” or mixed tequilas are labeled in the liquor store as Gold tequila which only has to have 51% Agave and the rest can be cane sugar. Chris says half tequila, half vodka. Also, I assumed that Gold tequila got its coloring naturally but I was wrong about that. I learned that it has artificial caramel color added and genuine tequilas get their color from the wooden barrels they are stored in while they age.
Real tequila starts at Silver (clear and unaged), then Reposado (rested or aged), Añejo (aged longer than Reposado), and lastly Extra Añejo (aged the longest). The Silver tequila was hard for me to stomach because of the pure Agave flavor. As I tasted the Repasado and Añejo I was surprised that I found myself enjoying the tequila more and felt the burn less. The Extra Añejo was my favorite of the four and at that point I started tasting notes of vanilla and oak. My sophisticated (pronounced “hipster”) friends would be so proud.
The reason I got better at recognizing different flavors in the tequila is because our instructor taught us how to properly taste tequila in 3 simple steps. I’m sure you can apply this to any spirit that crosses your lips.
Examine the color. Is it clear, golden, honey colored?
Take in the aroma. Do you smell vanilla, coffee, oak?
Here’s the best part but you’ll have to practice restraint… close your eyes and take a sip. Don’t shoot it like it’s your 21st birthday. Keep the small amount that you sipped in your mouth with your eyes still closed. Try and distinguish different flavors.
While it can sound like something out of “Stranger Things” closing your eyes really does heighten your sense of smell and taste. I doubted at first that anything would help me enjoy drinking tequila but now I’m a believer.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still feel the burn but drinking better quality tequila opened my mind to drinking it without a lime wedge or salt. Cheap tequila might be tempting for margaritas but now I realize why I never liked the taste. The people who make authentic tequila and take pride in its production choose to drink Silver, Reposado, or Añejo over mixed.
After stepping outside my comfort zone I realized that I need to try new drinks more often so I’m open for suggestions. Leave your favorite tequilas and tequila cocktails in the comments below. I hope you enjoyed today’s post! I’d love for you to pin it or share it on Facebook.
Until next time,