Tequila is one of the world’s most truly unique liquors. Whether you prefer clear or gold, smooth tequilas or a more flavorful spirit, tequila is a great spirit to include in any drink or to enjoy on its own. If you love the taste of tequila but sometimes get overwhelmed with all of the different choices available when it comes time to order a beverage, here are some tips on how you can order tequila like a pro, no matter what bar you may be attending.
What to Know About Aging Categories
Not all tequilas are created equal. A great way to determine what type of tequila you are ordering and what type of taste you can expect with your tequila is to learn about the aging categories typically used for tequila. This category will tell you whether or not the tequila has been aged and how long it has been aged. Typically, the longer the tequila has been aged in the barrel, the more fruity notes and flavors will make their way into the spirit.
Here are the four main aging categories that any tequila drinker needs to know.
Tequila that is aged one to three years in an oak barrel is classified as Anejo tequila. This type of spirit typically has a darker color and typically includes flavors like cocoa, toffee or vanilla. You can expect a deeper flavor with these tequilas.
Tequila that is Extra Anejo is also dark, just like Anejo tequila. This classification means it has been aged for three or more years in an oak barrel and it is typically so dark it looks amber or may even look like whiskey. It tends to have a very rich, dense flavor.
Blanco, Silver, Plata, Crystal Platinum
Tequilas that fall into these categories are mellowed in a barrel only for 59 days or less. They may also be unaged all together, which contributes to the clear color. Typically these tequilas have citrus, floral or pepper flavors.
This type of tequila has been aged in an oak barrel, typically anywhere from two months to one year. When a tequila has been aged for this amount of time, it will usually be a light caramel-colored and most of these spirits will have oak, pear, caramel and vanilla flavors.
Drinking Tequila on It’s Own
Many tequila connoisseurs will swear that the best way to drink tequila is to sip it on its own. If you do this, you can order your tequila chilled, on the rocks (ice) or straight up, but most prefer it chilled. Do not order it with salt and lime, that is only for shots. Once you order, here is the best way to enjoy tequila on its own.
- Swirl the glass so the spirit coats the call of it. Take a small sniff from the bottom lip of the glass.
- Take a break and sniff the tequila again.
- Take a very small sip and let it sit on your tongue for a few moments before swallowing.
- Continue to gently sip as normal and you will start to notice the different flavors in your tequila.
Ordering a Mixed Tequila Drink
Many people don’t want to order tequila on its own, and that is perfectly acceptable. There are certain mixes such as margaritas that go best with tequila and that can be used with virtually any type of tequila. A great rule of thumb when ordering is if you aren’t sure, ask for a pre-made concoction or a margarita. Mixing tequila with other mixes such as soda can sometimes be difficult because it can really distract from the flavor of the tequila or throw off the aroma.
There are some bartenders that are starting to create mixes with fruit juice, espresso and even Bloody Mary mix. Lime juice or just a squeeze of lime is also a great compliment to most tequilas. Make sure that you are aware of the type of tequila you are ordering. A dark, Extra Anejo tequila is going to go better with coffee or espresso than a clear tequila just like a Silver Tequila is going to go better with a dash of lime or fruit juice than a dark tequila.
Keep these tips in mind and start ordering for the perfect tequila cocktail to get your evening started off right.