Updated: Oct 10, 2021
You’ve had a few, you’re having fun but you really should have gone home two hours ago, and then the shot tray appears.........
Is this what comes to mind when you think of tequila? Sure, it’s fun, and if it’s a good tequila – why not? Unfortunately, most of the time, unless you’re mixing in high circles and frequenting top notch bars, the tequila probably won’t be that good – that is, after all, why salt and lime are usually provided!
When I’m out selling tequila, reactions are polar, there are those that would run a million miles in the opposite direction rather than try something they may have last tried on a teenage night out; or there are those that know and understand that a good agave spirit is indeed, very different.
Today, the market is changing. There are some incredible brands available and with an ever-increasing number of educated imbibers the premium tequila market is seeing a substantial rise in sales.
What is tequila?
Education is key. Take time to look beyond the celebrity endorsements and see the traditional process behind what is a very underrated spirit. Tequila is made from the fermented and distilled juice of the agave plant, and there are 1033 species of agave, according to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
As mandated by The Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT, the governing body for tequila), the only species that can be used to make 100% tequila is agave Tequilana, known as the Blue Weber agave; or more commonly known as the blue agave. According to the CRT, “for this product to be considered “Tequila 100% agave” it must be bottled in the packing facilities controlled by an Authorised Producer. Packing facilities shall be located within the territory indicated in the Declaration.’’ Maybe not such a ‘cowboy’ spirit after all, eh?!
Looking for craft tequila distilleries can also be rewarding. To check a tequila is authentic look for the NOM (Norma Official Mexicana) number printed on each and every bottle, this guarantees that your tequila follows the strict rules laid down by the CRT. Some distilleries manufacture for multiple brands, so spending some time researching using apps such as Tequila Matchmaker will help you understand who makes what.
What is a good tequila made from?
But wait – if you just ask for tequila – you may be served just that! CRT’s official description of tequila is a product that contains at least 51% of Blue Weber agave, commonly known as blue agave, with the remaining 49% coming from non-agave sugar sources, such as cane sugar, molasses or corn syrup. Choose your words carefully; be sure to ask for 100% agave tequila if you want the smoothest, authentic product.
Tequila is a versatile spirit and agave spirits are not just for shots. The Margarita is legendary, as well as awesome, (but marks you as a tourist if drinking in Mexico!). The Paloma with its zesty pink grapefruit can be sublime and you can even use blanco or aged tequila to replace white spirits or dark spirits in twists on classics, to get you started scroll down to get some interesting ideas for easy tequila cocktails to make at home.
So, next time you want to taste the real thing – ask for a tequila that’s 100% agave and if you’re going for shots rather than a Margarita, Paloma or any other cool cocktail, try sipping rather than shooting; no salt or lime required!
If you’d like to learn more about tequila feel free to contact me.
Easy tequila cocktails to make at home
Fresh grapefruit juice 60ml
Fresh lime juice 15ml
Soda water/Perrier 60ml
Fill a shaker with ice and add the Blanco tequila, lime juice and grapefruit juice. Shake and strain into a tall glass; top up with soda water and garnish with a wedge of grapefruit.
Skinny Rosa Margarita
Fresh lime juice 30ml
Fresh orange juice 30ml
Soda water/Perrier to top up
In a shaker, shake the Rosa tequila, lime and orange juice with ice, strain into a glass, top up with soda and enjoy!
Anejo Old Fashioned
Two dashes of simple syrup or one sugar cube
Two dashes of bitters
Slice of orange
Three Maraschino cocktail cherries
In a tumbler or rocks glass, muddle the orange and sugar together add the bitters, Anejo tequila and ice - stir to chill. Garnish with three Maraschino cherries on a cocktail stick and and orange peel.