How to Enjoy Tequila: A Beginner’s Guide

Tequila is a pregame ritual for college frat boys and bachelorette parties the world over, but did you know that not all of them taste like death and make you feel worse? Like anything else in life, you get what you pay for, and we as a collective have given tequila a bad rep with our cheap tastes and even cheaper budgets. But all that’s about to change because we’re here to set the record straight with a quick guide to drinking Tequila that’ll make even our Mexican brothers and sisters proud.


There are three main types of tequila with a few variations sprinkled throughout the long line of Mexican liquor’s history. The first is Blanco, which means, “white” but of course you already knew that. It’s a clear looking variation of the drink due to going straight from the distillery to the bottle, skipping the aging process. Reposado, slightly more yellow in color, means “rested” and is aged anywhere from 2 months to a year in oak barrels. Añejo is “vintage” and is the holy grail for novices looking to give their tequila game a little boost. Añejos are aged anywhere from 1 to 3 years in small oak barrels and are pretty much on par with Reposados in terms of golden yellow coloring.

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First things first, stay away from “mixtos,” which are fortified with sugars and doesn’t taste much like real tequila at all. What you want is a 100% agave blend. Don’t bother with large manufacturers, try to find a small, family owned, company to increase your odds of getting the blue agave treatment. Here’s how to get the best tasting experience:

– Choose an Añejo. Sure, they’re a bit more expensive than Blancos or Reposados, but not by much. A good Añejo will run you about 50 bucks.

– Store (and drink) at room temperature. Adding ice will only dilute the flavor.

– Use a snifter to open up the flavor.

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We all have that one friend who likes to smell their food before giving it a taste, and while it can be a little weird to witness – especially in a public setting – you’ll want to follow their lead on this. Get a good sniff of your tequila, but inhale in short bursts so that the alcohol doesn’t oversaturate the nose, which is just a fancy way of saying “burn the ever loving s#!t” of it.

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Finally, taste the tequila. Take a small sip and hold it at the tip of your tongue for 10 seconds before allowing it to swish around the rest of your mouth. After you’ve got a good mouth feel, go ahead and swallow. Exhale hard immediately afterward to excite the taste buds, and that’s it. Repeat to taste.


This is where the Blancos and Reposados thrive. Still, do yourself a favor and stay away from the mixtos – they may be cheap, but you’ll pay dearly in the morning. In case you haven’t caught on yet, 100% agave is your best bet.

The classic way to shoot tequila is pretty hard to screw up. Don’t chill it, pour it into a shot glass, and let her rip. But if you want to spice things up a bit, try the salt and lime routine.

Lick the skin between thumb and index finger, shake on some salt, and ready your lime wedge. Lick the salt, shoot the tequila, and follow up by sucking on the lime wedge. This method has been around since the early 20s and even suggests reversing the order. Give it a literal shot by going lime first, Tequila second, and salt last.

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