How to Taste Tequila

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So, you wanna start figuring out which tequilas you like - well there's only one way. Fortunately, the way to do it is pretty damn fun. It's a lot like wine tasting if you've ever done that, only tasting 4 of em is effectively 4 shots so I recommend hiding the car keys, and I don't recommend doing it right before your first day of Navy SEAL training. Let's get started.

The Tequila:

It's common to go a route similar to what you do when you taste wine. With wine, you typically start with whites and progress to reds. Many do the same with tequila. This means you'll start with a blanco (aka silver), then move to a reposado, and finish with the heavier anejo. The other way to go is to pick a type, say anejos, and taste those exclusively to see which you like best.

The Glass:

Reidel - makes a flute shaped glass with a stem that's widely recognized as the best glass for tasting tequila. Some crap about how it hits your palate, how the bouquet hits your nose etc. Seems to work great to us. Box of 4 is about 20 bucks.

Caballito - A two to three ounce glass 3 to 4 inches tall used in Mexico. Classic.

How Much to Pour In:

A little bit more than a typical shot. In the Reidel glass, that means just up to about the point where the glass straightens.

To Shake or To Swirl

Some advocate giving the glass a "shake", but we think a typical swirl just like you do with wine gets the bouquet out just fine.

The Sniff

Don't shove your nose in the glass like you would with wine, you'll just smell the booze (and make your eyes all watery, which usually doesn't make you look all that masculine). Keep your nose about an inch and a half away from the glass where you'll get more of the smell of the tequila.

The Taste

Drink a dab of it first. This'll get your mouth ready for the burn of the alcohol, thus helping you ignore that and focus on the sweet sweet nectar on the next sip. Next, take a larger sip as you would with wine. Enjoy. Critique. Try to figure out what you taste, and why you like it. And don't be a total douchebag about it. Rinse (water is just fine), repeat until you're on the floor. Add your thoughts to tequilagringo.com and help save the world from bad tequila.

Between Tequilas:

OK, so no tequila tasting article is complete without talking about how to cleanse your palette between tequilas - as the commenters have so aptly pointed out.  Here's the deal.  The accepted gold standard is sangrita, typically served in a tall thin glass (like a thin shot glass, cabillito etc.).  Recipes vary, but they generally consist of tomato juice, citrus, and something to give it a little zing (pepper, tabasco, jalepeno etc.)  Not the DIY type?  There are a bunch of commercial brands out there. But you're not always going to have sangrita around.  In fact, most of the time you probably won't.  No sweat, swishing around a little water will suffice in a pinch.  So make like a Listerine commercial and swish.

Comments

Tequila tasting

where can I get some good tequilas cheaply? I am having a tequila tasting party for a bunch of novices (myself included). I'd like to have at least one tequila from each category. Can anyone suggest which tequilas, specifically, should be on the list for people who want to experience each category? Thanks.

Depends!

Where Do You Live?  What are you willing to spend per bottle?  If you're up for dropping around 50 clams a bottle, I'd suggest Corazon Blanco, El Mayor Repo and 1921 for the anejo (1921 is really an old repo more than an anejo, but for 50 it's hard to find an amazing anejo in my opinion).  Let me know your thoughts and I'll flesh this out some for you.

Tequila Tasting

For those that love tasting, comparing and discovering fine unknown Tequila brands. There is a great site, www.TequilaRack.com that has information and videos on how to properly taste Agave spirits in order to determine your own preference. They showcase different Family Brands from different distilleries around the Tequila Appellation area. Apparently there are many traditional family Tequila brands that have only recently begun to export outside of their villages. Buried in the resources section of the site is an interactive Tequila Training course that is free, fun and educational http://www.tequilarack.com/lessons/lessons.html .

Overpriced

TequilaRack is overpriced. 3 mini bottles and a couple of Riedels is not worth 200 bucks. Plenty of free info on Tequila out there. Save your money.

what about the sangrita??

hey, what about sangrita? any recommendations for sipping some after some tequilas?
perhaps an article on sangrita, how to make it, where to buy it (for those of us far from Mexico).

Thanks!

Recipe?

Been thinking about writing an article on Sangrita, but I suck at making it.  If any readers have some recipes, I'll try em all and put together a write up.  The Sangrita at San Diego's El Agave was the best I've had.  They were going to give me their recipe, but then I had too much tequila and forgot!  Will definitely call and get their's for the article.

No mention of SANGRITA on this site?

Sacrilege. Yep, need some good recipes for real sangrita, the classic tomato-citrus non-alcoholic concoction that proper tequila establishments should serve to allow you to properly refine your tequila palate, especially when tasting blancos and reps. Wiki SANGRITA.

Thanks for the feedback

Sangrita added.  Next up, a TequilaGringo tasting wheel to help people learn what to look for.  We'll explain tastes, mouth feel etc.  Then we'll have it a bit more covered.  Thanks for the spot on comments all!

SANGRITA

for anyone that's looking for a sangrita and you live around Los Angeles , theres some supermarkets in East Los Angeles that have them , i bought one called "viuda de Sanchez" today. i'm not sure if its one of the good ones but it's a sangrita .. its not that spicy but i guess yuo can add tapatio to it ..

Can't beleive you haven't rated Don Fulano

Its incredible that connoseurs like you haven't rated two of our favorite tequilas, Siete Leguas and the best of them all, DON FULANO...

We have some of em!

We have reviews for Siete Leguas' Repo and Anejo and Fulano's repo.  Use the search at the top right to find em.  That's not all of em, but at least it's a start! 

Siete Leguas is over rated!!

Siete Leguas is over rated!! just cause it once was the place that made that pedestrian tequila called Patron. The Silver is rough and crude.

The extra anejo, Don Fulano

The extra anejo, Don Fulano Imperial, is worth the few extra bucks over the the regular anejo. This tequila is ultra smooth, complex and very tasty. At around $110.00 a bottle it's a nice alternative to Don Julio 1942. Not as easy to find though!

Tasting Tequilas

I would like to know your opinion on both Tequila Campo Azul and Tequila 1800, both winners in the recent Mexican Showcasing of Tequilas. As well If anyone is interested in Tequila photography take a look at Ben Olivares Tequilart blog. Really cool pictures.

Campo Azul

I've tried the Campo Azul Blanco, Resposado and Anejo. Liked all three. Great Tequila very reasonably priced.

question

Hi, there is the question

gran centenario

the repo and anejo of this line are superb sipping (never shoot!) tequilas. haven't tried the plata nor the rosangel yet. but this line is reasonably priced and high quality!

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