Tequila done right

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Just the word can make some people cringe, conjuring flashbacks to a dorm in college before heading out to the nearest or easiest frat to get into. It’s usually harsh and warm and chased with Gatorade [Ed. note: Or in the Editor’s case, limes and Beast Light].

Now, I am about to out my self but I love tequila. I don’t tell people that often, because then you become the “tequila guy.”

There it is: I love it, but I’m not talking about throwing a few shots of Tortilla back out of a water bottle. I’m talking about quality tequila, which can be appreciated much like good whiskey.


If you chose to do the classic tequila shot, do it the right way — with a little salt and lime. It’s as delicious as it is refreshing.

Here are some ways to make sure you’re making the right choice.

There are two kinds of tequila: Mixto tequila and 100% Agave.

Let’s start with mixto. The first thing you need to know is that it is usually no more than 51% agave and the rest is a sugar mixture. This is the kind that could have led to the bad experience in college and the resulting headache along with the shame of the next morning.

To have a great tequila experience, you need 100% agave. If it doesn’t say that on the label, it’s mixto.

That is the tequila I love. Pure Blue Weber Agave tequila is sweet and floral. It can be so complex in taste with citrus and peppery notes.

Pure agave comes in a few different styles.

  • Blanco: Can be aged for a few months but usually bottled directly after distillation. It gives the most agave flavor.
  • Reposado: Aged in wood barrels for two to 11 months. This gives the tequila a gold color and balances out the taste of the wood and agave. (But beware of “Gold” tequila, which is just Mixto.)
  • Añejo: After tequila is aged for at least a year it can be considered “añejo.” It becomes even more balanced and darker with additional complexity in taste.
  • Extra Añejo: Aged more than three years. I have only had this once, and it had the same taste complexities and notes as a decent whiskey. It is usually a very dark amber.

Here is my selection for each:

Blanco: Avion Silver, which shouldn’t be a surprise as it was just voted “World’s Best Tasting Tequila.”

Grapefruit Tequila Slammer
4 oz. Grapefruit juice
2 oz. Silver/Blanco tequila
2 oz. Lemon-lime soda

Directions: Pour all ingredients into a glass with ice, cover the top with your hand and slam it against the table to mix all ingredients.

Reposado: Espolon Reposado, smooth great caramel taste that comes from the 11 months it spends in the American oak barrels.

Bee Sting
1 jalapeño, cut ½ inch thick
1 ½ oz reposado tequila
¾ oz lemon juice
¾ oz honey syrup

Directions: Make the honey syrup by combining 1 oz of honey with ½ oz of hot water. Muddle the jalapeño in the shaker add the rest of the ingredients, fill shaker with ice, shake for 15 seconds. Garnish with a lemon and jalapeño and serve straight up.

Añejo: Don Julio Anjeo has great tastes of cooked agave and some butterscotch. Smooth and delicious, it doesn’t need to be mixed.

My advice is to just throw some ice in a glass and sip. To spice it up you can throw some orange zest in, but this doesn’t need much.

Extra Añejo: Herradura Seleccion Suprema Tequila Extra Añejo, that’s a mouthful to say and the taste is the same. It is some of the smoothest liquor I have had. These will cost you though.

I can’t advise doing anything but pouring some in a snifter and enjoy. Adding anything to this might ruin it.

James Werner
Author: James Werner

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