How to Drink Tequila: All You Need to Know
Written by Emma C | Updated March 2023
Whether you're a seasoned tequila drinker or a curious newcomer, we’re here with all you need to know about how to drink tequila. Several things will impact your tequila-tasting experience – including the distillation process, aging, and region in which the spirit’s agave is grown. Be sure to use all of your senses to view, smell, and taste this beloved drink and remember, tequila is more than just alcohol. It's a catalyst for laughter, a companion on wild adventures, and a spark that ignites unforgettable moments. Salud!
1. Drinking Tequila Neat
What does drinking tequila “neat” mean?
Drinking tequila neat means absolutely nothing is added – no muss, no fuss. This method of enjoying the spirit helps to capture its intricate nuances in aroma and flavor notes. You can notice subtleties in each sip that you might easily miss otherwise.
Taster’s Club Top 4 Tequilas to Drink Neat – Available in Our Bottle Shop
Tequila Ocho Plata
This fine tequila from the Highlands of Jalisco is made with top-quality ingredients, including single-field, estate-grown, overripe agaves looked after carefully by the Camarena family. The agave brings with it the essence of the rancho from which it grew.
Region: Jalisco | Tasting Notes: Cooked Agave, Pepper, Mint, Tropical Fruit, Earth | ABV: 40%
Don Julio 1942
Enjoyed in cocktail bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, iconic Don Julio 1942 tequila is the choice of connoisseurs worldwide. Produced in small batches and aged for at least two and a half years, this spirit is handcrafted in tribute to the year that Don Julio González began his tequila-making journey. With self-motivation and determination, he brought his dream to life, and the rest is history.
Region: Jalisco | Tasting Notes: Grass, Agave, Spice, Vanilla, Oak, Apricot, Clove | ABV: 40%
Clase Azul Reposado
Clase Azul Tequila Reposado is a symbol of Mexican tradition and culture. Made with slow-cooked 100% Blue Weber agave, this ultra-premium reposado tequila is quite unique. The spirit is masterfully aged for eight months in American whiskey casks imparting its unique hazelnut and vanilla flavors as well as its exceptionally smooth finish. Its decanter is the brand’s most recognized icon with its distinctive "feathered" design, painted by hand in cobalt blue.
Region: Jalisco | Tasting Notes: Agave, Vanilla, Banana Cream, Clove, Pepper, Oak | ABV: 40%
Mijenta Tequila Reposado
Mijenta’s reposado is a super premium, small-batch spirit that is carefully crafted with a commitment to environmental sustainability and support for the local community. The spirit is aged up to six months in a blend of American white oak, French oak, and French acacia casks. Mexico-based Maestra Tequilera Ana Maria Romero oversaw the entire creation process of the reposado. Presenting a mature, full expression with a long finish on the palate, the reposado is best enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or as a nightcap cocktail.
Region: Jalisco | Tasting Notes: Oak, Toffee, Bergamot, Honey, Orange | ABV: 40%
2. Drinking Tequila On The Rocks
Another wonderful way to enjoy tequila’s full flavors is over 1-2 clear ice cubes or some crushed ice in a lowball or double rocks glass. The bit of water from the ice helps to mellow out the spirit’s aromas, letting you appreciate its other nuances and details. A few drops of water achieves the same thing if you’re not up for ice.
Taster’s Club Top 4 Tequilas to Drink on the Rocks – Available in Our Bottle Shop
Patrón Silver is handcrafted from the finest 100% Weber Blue agave. Carefully distilled in small batches at Hacienda Patrón distillery in Jalisco, the expression has marzipan, dried fruit, citrus, and chocolate flavors, among other notes.
Region: Jalisco | Tasting Notes: Pepper, Marzipan, Dried Fruit, Citrus, Lavender, Chocolate | ABV: 40%
Codigo 1530 Rosa
Código 1530’s first-ever double barrel-aged Rosa-Reposado tequila was developed with country icon George Strait. George had been drinking this private tequila for years and even wrote a song about it. Now, he’s offering this very limited edition bottle of his new Código 1530 Rosa-Reposado Tequila – a special twist to the original blanco – for fans to enjoy. Código 1530 is the first brand to produce a naturally pink-hued tequila by resting its pure blanco expression in the finest French white oak Cabernet wine barrels, and then finishing it in Spanish sherry wine barrels to add extra character and a soft, sweet finish. Try this one in a Reposado Manhattan.
Region: Jalisco | Tasting Notes: Agave, Citrus, Floral | ABV: 40%
This reposado tequila is made with 100%, high-quality Blue Weber agave, harvested by hand from the distillery’s fields in Guanajuato, Mexico. The reposado undergoes double distillation, which isn’t too common in tequila. First, it goes through a continuous or column still, followed by an Alembic copper pot still from Spain, resulting in a fully aromatic, refined spirit. It is then aged for four months in American and Encino oak barrels, which give it a light straw appearance with sweet vanilla, honey, spice, and an almost-there hint of oak. The taste has lemon-lime, peppercorn, honey, oak, and agave that give this tequila a smooth, warm finish.
Region: Guanajuato | Tasting Notes: Pineapple, Brown Sugar, Sweet Agave | ABV: 40%
Avión Reserva 44
Handcrafted in limited batches, this Avión Reserva 44 extra añejo is aged for a minimum of 36 months in American oak barrels. It offers aromas of cooked agave, roasted hazelnuts, and vanilla, along with flavors like honey, vanilla, caramel, almonds, eucalyptus, roasted agave, oak, and leather.
Region: Jesus Maria | Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Honey, Caramel, Almond | ABV: 40%
3. Drinking Tequila With Fruit
Some people love the quintessential salt and lime with their shot of tequila, while others feel it masks or detracts from the flavor. If you’re in the first camp, you can take it beyond lime and venture into other citrus flavors. For example, pineapple will bring out sweeter notes, while orange or grapefruit will result in a crisper, more refreshing drink.
4. Drinking Tequila In A Margarita
To add a bit of fun and authenticity to your drinking experience, you can’t go wrong with the classic margarita, complete with a salted rim to balance the drink’s sweetness and let the agave notes come through. We suggest avoiding the frozen varieties, which can mask the tequila taste in favor of sugar. You’re best to opt for real ingredients to fully savor tequila’s flavor.
5. Drinking Tequila In Classic Cocktails
So many different cocktail types taste amazing and enhance your drinking experience when you swap out the typical spirit with the smooth, refreshing flavors of tequila. Here are some of our favorite classic cocktails with tequila. Here are some of our favorite tequila cocktails:
Instead of gin, try the Tequila Negroni. We've taken this classic gin cocktail and substituted it with a blanco or silver tequila, which rounds out the slightly bitter taste of a Negroni for a smooth, delicious drinking experience. Garnish with an orange peel.
Mojito de Flor
Swap out the rum with tequila with this pretty Mojito de Flor: A popular cocktail with global appeal, the Mojito lives up to the magic of its namesake. What began as a medicinal drink to ward off illness, the Mojito found its popularity after associations with pirates, Ernest Hemingway, and the James Bond film franchise.
Mexican Blue Hurricane
Keep the tropical look but lighten up the sweetness by using tequila instead with a Mexican Blue Hurricane. Can you pronounce “curacao”? (Try cure-ah-sow). It's what gives the traditional Blue Hawaiian cocktail that ocean-blue tint and adds a unique bitter, orange flavor. We've taken this sweet cocktail and substituted rum with tequila for a more refreshing, lower-calorie take.
As you can see, there are several ways to drink tequila, and every tequila lover has their favorite method and maker. In time, you will too. The best part is the journey of getting there, exploring the different types of tequila and seeing what you love. There is no one or right way, no matter what anyone says about how to drink tequila. Just experiment, have fun, and don't be nervous. Want some bottle ideas? For the best tequilas to get started with – however you choose to drink it – check out our top 10 tequilas.