If someone calls for “shots” in any social setting,

chances are it’s tequila time. Now, there are two types of people; the ones who think “no big deal, I got this” and the other, whose stomach is turning – they’re cringing and looking for the nearest escape route.

The funny thing is, this is likely the only experience a lot of people have ever had with tequila, and if you’re the latter of the two, this doesn’t rank high on your bucket list.

Mexico gives us a winter escape of sun, sand and heat. It also gives us one of their largest exports – tequila. They didn’t lead us astray when it comes to March break vacations, so let’s give them the benefit of the doubt on their drink of choice.

Here’s how to enjoy tequila time:

Forget everything you know about it.

If your only memory includes a pile of shot glasses, a dark bar, a gang of friends, a salt shaker, lime and even maybe a beer chaser, forget it! Contrary to popular belief, tequila does not get you more intoxicated than any other spirit. Good tequila tastes completely different to what you’d expect. You’ve been missing out!

Learn to identify good tequila.

Most tequila is qualified as “mixto tequila”. This means it’s made with at least 51% agave and completed with a sugar-based spirit. Try brands made with 100% agave and even look for one that has been aged. These ones will be branded with either Añejo which is aged 1-3 years in oak or Extra Añejo, which is aged 3 years in oak.

Have a Margarita.

When you’ve found a good tequila, you want to ease yourself into the flavour. A good way to do this is through a classic margarita. Try to avoid those frozen premade versions, as they can mask the taste of the tequila. For the best results, we suggest trying this recipe:

Margarita

Salt to rim your glass
Ice
1 ½ oz tequila, 100% agave
1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
½ oz Triple Sec

Moisten the rim of your glass with a slice of lime and dip in the salt. Fill your glass with ice, add tequila, lime juice and Triple Sec. Stir a few times until chilled

Enjoy it on its own.

You’ve made it through the first 3 steps – you’re ready for the real deal. Fill a shot glass with your best Añejo tequila and sip it in small amounts. Try swishing it in your mouth for 5-10 seconds to get the full effect of the flavours. If straight is a little too harsh, it’s totally acceptable to have a lime and salt on hand but dip your lime in a bit of salt and suck on it between sips.

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