I recently had a friend ask me, so what makes tequila so special?
Other then being one of the most versatile spirits for mixing a variety of drinks (Google tequila drink recipes and you’ll see what I mean); it is also an exceptional sipping spirit. Sipping? You might say. Yes sipping.
For many, their first experience with tequila is in a Margarita. Who doesn’t love a good nice cold Margarita? My personal favorite: on the rocks. That’s why its Americas favorite mixed drink. For others it was shots at the bar or in the dorm room that made you swear the next morning you would never touch that stuff again.
Well let me say most of you were cheated. You were served up the least expensive tequila in the restaurant or bar (typically a mixto – a non – 100 % agave tequila which is inferior tequila) and that started your aversion to tequila.
I highly recommend you give this another chance, another try. Yes you might say “I don’t like tequila”. But are you basing this on those bad experiences from the past when you didn’t know what you were ordering or what they where serving you?
I have a good friend who will typically tell me she doesn’t like something (food or drink) just by the way it sounds or looks. I’ll ask her if she has tried it before and of course she says no. I encourage her to at least taste and you know what? She usually ends up liking it.
Never knock it till you try it, they say. And it’s true.
Have you ever sipped fine 100% agave, handcrafted tequila? If you have you know what I’m talking about, it is life changing. If not, you don’t know what you are missing.
Tequila (and not to forget the other spirits of Mexico – Mezcal, Sotol and Bacanora) is a refined spirit that takes such effort to manufacture it’s surprising to me how it doesn’t receive more respect.
Did you know that unlike wine that has a harvest every year, the plant from where the tequila is produced takes 7 to 12 years to cultivate? How about the distillation process (which started back in America in the 1500-1600’s) and aging? Yes just as elaborate and painstaking as rum, brandy, and vodka.
To the Tequila Aficionado, sipping tequila is heaven. By sipping you have an opportunity to really taste the artistry of the Master Distiller. By sipping you can appreciate how complex this spirit really is and how it rivals the top bourbons and cognacs.
If you are sipping a Blanco or Silver, you will smell and taste sweet citrus and fruit notes, roasted agave, floral or herbal notes just to mention a few.
With Reposados, since they are aged from 2-12 months in oak barrels, they take on flavors of wood, vanilla, caramel, etc.
Añejo tequilas are aged from 1 to 3 years. They take on the character of a cognac or bourbon and have aromas and taste of caramel, wood, chocolate and butterscotch to name a few.
Thanks to the educational efforts of Tequila Aficionados everywhere, the resurgence of cocktails and the newfound respect for the professional bartender/mixologist/liquid chefs, Tequila is starting to come into its own. It is finally getting the respect it deserves. Yes it is a special spirit, the Spirit of Mexico.
Now it’s up to you. Go explore, and by all means please don’t shoot it, sip it. It took a long time to get that beautiful liquid in that bottle.
Now sip and enjoy.
Alexander Perez is the founder of Tequila Aficionado.com having thought of the idea of a premium tequila and mezcal online magazine back in the early 1999. With an extensive background in wine and spirits, having been in the industries for many years, Alex fell in love with the under appreciated spirits of Mexico, Tequila and Mezcal. His mission: to educate the public on these fine spirits.