How to Taste Tequila
For many of us, drinking tequila has not been an enjoyable event. Usually due to unfortunate past experiences, we have been taught that the best way to drink tequila is not taste it, so we cover it up with salt and lemon or bury it in cocktails. However there is actually an art form to tasting tequila, and, it may come as a shock, but it can be quite tasty!
The reason that many of us likely have such a hard time drinking tequila is simple: We’re drinking bad tequila. Many of the tequilas we drink are known as “mixtos” and are 51% distilled agave (the base of tequila) and up to 49% other alcohol. That makes the mixture really harsh, which is why it is difficult to drink, and is what mostly causes the terrible hangovers. So instead, find yourself some good tequila (100% agave) and follow these tasting steps.
- Pour enough tequila for 2-4 sips in a long, narrow tequila glass. A champagne flute will also do, but definitely not a shot glass.
- Observe the color. All of the types of tequila will have a different color, whether it is blanco, gold, reposado, anejo, or extra anejo. The blanco, unsurprisingly, should be clear. The gold, reposado, and anejo will vary between tawny and caramel. The extra anejo will be a very dark gold color.
- Swirl it around to the left and note if it clings to the glass then falls to create a “string of pearls” effect.
- Sniff the tequila. You want to get as close as possible, so tilt the tequila toward the lower rim and bring your nose to it. Take small sniffs however, as the alcohol can oversaturate your nose if you inhale deeply. Then raise your nose to the middle of the glass. You’ll find different aromas there, likely light, citrus, floral, fruity smells. All the alcohol vapors will be at the top, so don’t bother sniffing there.
- Finally, you can actually taste it. Make sure to inhale beforehand, and then take a small sip. Keep it between your lips and the tip of your tongue for ten seconds before swishing and swallowing over your tongue. Exhale hard over your tongue immediately following to excite the taste buds. Finish your other sips to confirm your original impression. If you taste multiple types, be sure to drink them from light to dark.
Tequila is not merely for the pre-gaming college student. Try tasting a good tequila with these techniques, and discover how enjoyable it can be.