All you ever wanted to know about tequila, Part 2

How to drink tequila

It’s commonly enjoyed as a shot – either straight or with a slice of lemon and salt – or with mixers. Tequila cocktails are diverse, ranging from shaken drinks to refreshing soda or juice highballs. Fruity margaritas (blended or shaken) are very popular and tequila’s the perfect match for spicy cocktails. Aged tequilas are often sipped straight, whether chilled in the freezer on the rocks.

When tequila is drunk neat without any other ingredients, it is most often served in a narrow shot glass called a caballito (little horse, in Spanish), but it can be drunk in anything from a snifter to a tumbler.

Fine tequila with a side of sangrita.

In Mexico, the most traditional way to drink tequila is neat, without lime and salt. It is popular in some regions to drink fine tequila with a side of sangrita – a sweet, sour and spicy drink typically made from orange juice, grenadine (or tomato juice), and hot chilli. Equal-sized shots of tequila and sangrita are sipped alternately, without salt or lime. Another popular drink in Mexico is the bandera (flag, in Spanish), named after the Flag of Mexico, it consists of three shot glasses, filled with lime juice (for the green), white tequila, and sangrita (for the red).

Outside Mexico, tequila shots with salt and a wedge of lemon or lime are called tequila cruda. It is also referred to as “training wheels”, “lick-sip-suck”, or “lick-shoot-suck”, referring to the way in which the combination of ingredients is imbibed. With this way of drinking tequila, the back of the hand is moistened below the index finger (usually by licking) and salt is poured on. Then the salt is licked off the hand, the tequila is drunk, and the fruit slice is quickly bitten. Groups of drinkers often do this simultaneously.

High-quality tequila served in a snifter glass.

Many of the higher-quality, 100% agave tequilas do not burn the mouth and drinking them with salt and lime will remove much of the flavour. These tequilas are usually sipped from a snifter glass rather than a shot glass, and savoured instead of quickly gulped down. Doing so allows the taster to appreciate the subtler fragrances and flavours that would otherwise be missed.

Tequila Sunrise.

Many tequila drinks are made by adding fruit juice. These include the Tequila Sunrise and the Matador. Sodas and other carbonated drinks are a common mixer, as in the Tequila Slammer. Another popular cocktails is the Mojito Blanco.

Cocktail recipes

While tequila cocktails are very diverse, there are a few essential recipes that should be included in everyone’s tequila repertoire.


The Margarita is the most popular summer tequila cocktail. It’s best made with a splash of Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec and if you like it a little sweeter, add agave syrup. The margarita glass, frequently rimmed with salt is a staple for the entire genre of tequila-based mixed drinks.


2 parts white tequila

1 part Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec

1 part lime juice

coarse salt for the rim of the glass


Rub the rim of a chilled cocktail glass with lime juice and dip in coarse salt. Shake tequila, Cointreau, lime juice and ice in a cocktail shaker and strain into the salted glass over ice.



1 part tequila

3 parts grapefruit juice mixed with soda water


Stir together and serve on the rocks, poured over the ice in a tumbler. Garnish with a slice of  lime or grapefruit.  Adding salt to the rim of the glass is optional.  For a spicy paloma, add a thin slice of jalapeño chilli pepper to your cocktail.

Source: Capricorn Review