Fuelled by slammers, shots and salty snogs, many of us ended our relationship with tequila way back. But there’s more to the quintessential Mexican spirit than meets the eye, and we think it’s 100% worth falling back in love with.
How? Throw a tequila tasting night! Nowadays a new wave of beautiful artisanal spirits have graced our shores, and there are tonnes of tequilas to try. Do you know your blanco from your añejo? Your reposado from your joven? If not, we’re on hand to help, giving you all the knowledge you need to throw the ultimate tequila tasting night for your friends.
1. Know your Tequila
Tequila is tequila, right? Not quite. While all tequila comes from the piñas of the blue agave plant, there’s more than one type.
– Blanco – also known as Silver, Plata, White
Blanco tequila is an un-aged tequila that’s bottled shortly after distillation. Without the woody notes offered by a barrel, it offers pure, natural flavours that work beautifully for mixing. It can be hotter than its mellowed, aged counterparts, and hits your tastebuds with a bang – which is loved by some and too harsh for others.
– Blanco tequilas labelled ‘joven’ usually contact a small amount of aged tequila blended with the young tequila.
– Reposado – also known as rested, or aged tequila
Reposado tequilas have been aged in oak barrels for at least two months, for up to a year. During this time the flavour mellows and the tequila turns a soft golden colour. Reposado tequilas are often used in premium mixed drinks and are a popular shot. If you’re looking to try a great reposado tequila, check out this one by Patron Tequila.
– Añejo – also called extra aged or vintage tequila
Añejo tequilas are aged between one and three years and are bursting with woody notes. The extra time intensifies the flavours and colours of a reposado, making it far more caramelised than the harsh bite of its younger counterpart. This añejo by Patron Tequila is bursting with oak wood with notes of vanilla, raisin and honey.- You can also get extra añejo tequilas, which are aged for at least three years.
2. Understand the basics of tequila tasting
Like with wine, the best way to taste tequila is from light to dark. So if you’ve got a few to try, go from blanco to the extra añejo, in order of age. If you’re wondering ‘how do I taste tequila?’, the simple answer is, however you like! But if you’re looking to do it the ‘proper’ way, then Patron has put together this super helpful tasting guide.
3. Match your tequila-based drinks and nibbles
Tequila is one of the easiest drinks to match with foods. It can be helpful to think of blanco tequila as the starter, a fine reposado for the main and a caramelised añejo for pud.
Depending on how you’re serving the tequila, we can recommend the following food and drink pairings:
-Beer can chicken or ribs – Long Island Made Easy
-Crispy prawn tacos – Mango and Strawberry Margarita
-Ceviche or prawns – Patrón Silver , Super Cubes and tonic
4. Ensure you have enough supplies
The number of people you’ve invited to your tequila tasting night will determine how much tequila to buy. We’d usually recommend a drink and a half per hour, per person, but it can be a little trickier with tasting sessions.
If you plan to make cocktails, make a list of all the ingredients beforehand and place an online order for ease. Don’t forget to order loads of good quality ice. Super Cubes for Tequila served with tonic, Premium Ice for shaking cocktails and Party Ice or Crushed Ice if you’re adding it to a blender. As warm cocktails are no fun!
Finally, pick the correct glassware, You can taste tequila in a range of glasses, but we love a tequila or brandy snifter glass.
Whether you whip up some creative or opt for a ‘purists’ tequila tasting night, sit back and enjoy the fiesta!