Here’s what we’ll cover
Tequila is one of the world’s most renowned spirits and is noted for its potency, subtlety, and complexity. As with anything else in life, to enjoy tequila to the fullest, we need to first understand it.
Sharing the bold flavors of tequila is the best way to gain a sound appreciation of all of its varieties, but to pull off a proper tequila party, you’ll need more than just tequila. You’ll need the right recipes, accessories, mixers, and food pairings on hand, which we’ll explore in this piece.
Let’s jump right in.
While all tequilas are made from the blue weber agave plant (agave tequilana), you’ll notice that they do not all taste the same. Mezcal, another popular alcoholic derivative of the plant, combines other varieties of the agave plant, excluding them from the official definition of true tequila.
The main factors differentiating types of tequila are how long they are aged and in what type of barrel this takes place. Here’s a closer look at the different types of tequila, the characteristics that separate them from one another, and how best to enjoy them.
Also known as Añejo Claro, Cristalinos are aged for 18 months in French and American oak barrels. It possesses the following tasting notes:
- Palate: This tequila’s sweet, crisp agave flavor is tempered by hints of vanilla, caramel, apple, and oak
- Nose: Delivers a mix of mellow woods, chocolate, apples, vanilla, and cinnamon
- Color: Clear
- Finish: A medium finish of pepper, sweet cream, and fresh-cut grass
To get the best out of this premium clear tequila, serve it neat or over a single large ice cube and enjoy its intriguing flavor profile. Many people consider this the perfect sipping tequila.
Extra Añejo (Ultra Aged)
This tequila is aged in oak barrels for over three years, hence the name, and is best enjoyed served either neat or on a single cube of ice. You can expect the following notes:
- Palate: Hints of caramel, sweet fruit, and spicy oak
- Nose: Toasted oak, caramel, spices, and dark chocolate
- Color: Copper or deep amber
- Finish: A long, refined finish that lingers
Extra-aged tequila, often referred to as vintage tequila, ages one to three years in an oak barrel before it is ready for presentation. This tequila delivers a highly complex flavor with rich tones and is best taken neat or on the rocks to fully appreciate it. You can expect the following characteristics:
- Palate: Hints of pepper and vanilla with a creamy caramel base
- Nose: Floral aromas, cooked agave, and minor notes of baking spices such as vanilla
- Color: Pale or medium amber coloration
- Finish: Creamy, woody notes completed by floral aromas and a lingering peppery bite
Joven tequila, also known as Gold or Oro tequila, is either unaged tequila or tequila aged for less than two months. It is made from one hundred percent agave and is popular as a Mixto tequila.
Mixto tequilas contain additives such as sugar, caramel, and artificial flavoring to make them smoother, which makes them ideal for shots. Here’s what you can expect from this bold tequila:
- Palate: Sweet hints of apple, citrus, and an earthy agave flavor
- Nose: A subtle fruity aroma with notes of sweet agave and spices
- Color: Gold or light yellow
- Finish: A long, lingering finish with spicy hints
Reposado tequila, or Aged or Rested tequila, is aged between two to twelve months in European or American oak baskets. Reposados are popular in cocktails as they are less mature and thus sweeter than other tequilas. Reposado presents the following qualities:
- Palate: Vanilla, citrus, and the sweetness of agave
- Nose: A bold aroma of oak and agave complemented by hints of caramel and vanilla
- Color: A subtle gold hue or yellowish pale maple
- Finish: A medium-long, yet smooth, finish with a zesty kick
Blanco tequila, also known as Silver, White, or Plata tequila, is aged for up to two months in stainless steel tanks. This tequila, distilled from the blue weber agave plant, is a popular margarita component, holding the agave sweetness and citrus flavor that works so well in mixed drinks.
Even so, certain brands of Blanco tequila will work when taken neat or over ice and has the following characteristics:
- Palate: Black pepper, citrus, raw vegetable agave, and natural agave sweetness
- Nose: Grassy herbal and citrus notes
- Color: A silvery or crystalline clear color
- Finish: A long finish with a sweet, herbaceous character with a spicy crispness
Unless you’re holding a pure tequila tasting party, you and your guests will be imbibing margaritas at your gathering. Margaritas are an excellent drink to build a party around, whether it’s a Cinco de Mayo gathering or a get-together for any other occasion.
The most appealing characteristic of margaritas is their flexibility - you can be sure that there’s a combination of tequila, mixers, liqueurs, spices, and other ingredients sure to tickle the fancy of any guest in your grouping - you just have to be bold enough to try new combinations.
To help you get started in your mixology, let’s highlight some of the most popular formulations you can make on your own.
This is a favorite margarita creation for many, as you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t like the refreshing orange flavor combined with a quality liqueur.
- 1 can (12 ounces) of frozen orange juice concentrate
- 10 ounces of Vizon tequila
- 1 teaspoon of grated ginger
- 6 ounces of Ginger liqueur such as Domaine de Canton
- 4 cups of ice
- Two tablespoons of margarita salt or kosher ginger
Take a tablespoon of orange juice concentrate and place it aside. Take the rest of the concentrate and mix it with the tequila, ginger liqueur, grated ginger, and ice into a blender. Turn on the blender and let it work until all the ice is completely crushed.
Take the tablespoon of concentrate you put aside and place it on a saucer or small plate with a dash of salt on the side. Take your glasses, dip their rims in the concentrate, and then dip them in the salt to complete the creation.
Everybody loves avocados. This simple yet elegant concoction will take your margarita game to the next level.
- 6 ounces of tequila
- 2 ounces of Stirrings Triple Sec
- 2 ounces of ice
- 6 ounces of lime concentrate
- 1 ripe, slivered avocado
- 6 ounces of water
- Mint sprig to garnish
Take all the ingredients and put them together in a blender. Blend until it reaches a smooth consistency. Serve in a cocktail glass with a mint sprig as garnish.
This elegant yet thoroughly satisfying creation brings an exotic touch to the proceedings, featuring some of the most exquisite ingredients you can find.
- 2 ounces of Vizon Blanco Tequila
- 1 ounce of rose petal water
- 1 ounce of lavender water
- 1 ounce of St. Germaine’s Elderflower Liqueur
- 2 ounces of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 ounce of maple syrup
Take all of the ingredients and pour them into a shaker glass filled with ice. Shake until thoroughly mixed, then serve by pouring it out through a strainer into a margarita glass with 1 ounce of agave nectar.
You don’t have to like getting caught in the rain to love Piña Coladas; the same goes for the Piña Perfection. This Añejo cocktail is a simple and refreshing creation that will make your guests come back for more.
- 1 ¼ ounces of Don Julio Añejo
- 1 ounce of fresh pineapple juice
- ½ an ounce of fresh lime juice
- ¼ ounce of simple syrup
- Fresh rosemary
- Fresh mint
Place your rosemary in a cocktail shaker and muddle it thoroughly. Combine your tequila, lime juice, pineapple juice, and syrup into the shaker (ice included) and shake well before pouring it into the glass.
NYC Billionaire Margarita
This premium concoction is sure to impress your guests. The NYC Billionaire Margarita utilizes the best ingredients available to create one of the most luxurious creations you can mix up in your home.
- 1 ½ ounces of Patron Anejo Tequila
- 1 ounce of Remy Martin Louis XII
- ½ an ounce of organic blue agave nectar
- ½ an ounce of fresh organic key lime juice
- ½ an ounce of fresh organic lemon juice
Pour all your ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake well with ice to chill it. Pour it through a strain into a chilled cocktail glass and use a fresh lime wedge as garnish.
Hosting a tequila-themed event might seem daunting, but everything should work out fine with the right preparation. Besides, tequila is known to have some socially beneficial effects that will surely help everyone enjoy themselves.
Aside from ensuring you have a wide selection of tequilas in sufficient quantities to satisfy your guests, you should have the following additives, implements, accessories, and accompaniments on hand:
- An array of chopped fruits in ramekins ready for your guests to try out as they formulate their own recipes or create traditional classics. Ideal fruits for margaritas include pineapple, mango, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, raspberries, and watermelon.
- Herbs such as mint, cilantro, lavender, basil, and thyme work well in margaritas, adding an enticing herbaceous flavor to your favorite concoction.
- Sliced jalapenos and toasted black peppers can be used to bring out the spicy heat of your margarita.
- Muddlers, jiggers, and cocktail shakers to make things easier and more convenient for everyone. The more, the merrier!
- Strainers for the creation of traditional margaritas. Unstrained margaritas are known as ‘dirty margaritas’ and have their share of fans too.
- Pre-measured tequila that’s ready to go to help out any newcomers to the tequila scene. Encourage amateur mixers to follow the standard 3-2-1- mixing ratio (tequila:liqueur: juice) to get the best results.
- The freshest ingredients you can get your hands on. Lime juice, for example, should be freshly squeezed and kept in a refrigerator in anticipation of your guests.
- Simple syrups just in case some of your guests prefer sweeter drinks, which is neither uncommon nor unreasonable. However, be sure to let them know that a single tablespoon or two is usually more than enough for a good margarita.
- A good amount of sugar and salt to coat the rims of your glasses. You can go the extra mile and provide Tajin seasoning and Chile salt for this purpose. Offer your guests novel ideas such as salting half of the glass and putting sugar on the other half.
- Plenty of ice available. Crushed ice works best for most margaritas, but you should have regular rocks available too.
Whether you’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo with family and friends or hosting a tequila-tasting get-together, you’ll need something for your guests to nibble on as the evening progresses.
Here’s a quick look at some delicious snacks and dishes that will go well with your tequila-inspired drinks.
Mash up some ripe avocados, and mix in tomatoes, onions, fresh lime juice, and hot sauce for an outstanding guacamole dip.
Grilled Flat Iron Tortas
These are Mexican-style steak sandwiches prepared on your normal grill that work well as a cookout or weeknight party option. A flat iron is the name of a particular cut of beef taken from the shoulder that is popular because of its flavor. It’s a lean cut of meat, meaning that you shouldn’t grill it past medium-rare to retain its tenderness and juiciness.
Homemade Corn Tortillas
If you’re a traditionalist, homemade corn tortillas are the way to go. They’re made by taking raw field corn, soaking it in slaked lime, washing it thoroughly, then grinding it by hand to come up with fresh masa.
If this doesn’t seem like your idea of a good time, you can order or buy fresh masa harina (flour made from dried masa) and use it to whip up tortillas that are more flavorful and fresh than anything you can get at a grocery store or fast food outlet.
Roadside Ahi Tuna Tostada
This tostada makes for a great tequila accompaniment owing to its freshness and quality. You can spice things up with a thin slice of jalapeno pepper to take it to a new level. Gather a serving of diced ahi tuna, crema, guacamole, and radishes and pile them on top of a crisp corn chip to create this bite-sized treat.
Slow-Cooked Pork Barbacoa
Barbacoa refers to a barbecue technique where the meat is not cooked on an open grill or fire but in a pit dug out of the ground. In this interpretation, you will take your cut of pork, wrap it up in tinfoil with a selection of hot peppers and spices, then bake it in an oven until it’s fall-apart-at-the-fork tender. The result is meat that has a steamed quality rather than the traditional smoky essence of barbecue.
Grilled Adobo-Marinated Skirt Steak
This delicious steak is the type of surprise you might expect to find hidden away in a tiny stand in a Mexican market. Skirt steak is a relatively inexpensive cut of meat, making it great for a crowd.
Simply marinate it in an adobo mix, sear it in a hot pan, and finish it in a preheated oven (350 degrees Fahrenheit). Cut it up and tuck it into warm tortillas, then top them up with your choice of spices for an unforgettable party treat that your guests will not soon forget.
Whether you’re celebrating National Margarita Day, hosting a Cinco de Mayo celebration, or just getting together with friends and family, you won’t come up with party ideas that will beat a tequila-themed event. Tequila is one of the most versatile, enjoyable, and universal drinks out there and allows an endless list of variations to suit every taste.
You can also explore your mixology limits by trying out some delicious beer-infused Beergarita recipes. If you’re planning a gathering any time soon, we hope this quick guide has given you some inspiration and direction to make it an unforgettable, tequila-inspired success!