Worth so much more than a shot
We know we have to pry the Margaritas from your cold, dead hands on a summer’s day, but tequila is so much more than a holiday slammer and deserves your full attention when it comes to tasting. Sip it like a south-of-the-border whiskey and “you’ll discover many complexities that most people miss out on by throwing it back,” says Charlie Lehmann from Ramblin Rascal Tavern. “That can still be fun but it you want to truly appreciate the spirit, take some time to savour the flavours present”. Lehmann recommends serving it in a Tulip glass (it looks like it sounds), swirling it and nosing the drink with your mouth partially open. Look for colour, legs as it rolls down sides of glass and hints of flavours in the aroma. Then you taste. Lehmann says to look for bright profiles in blancos (white, aged up to two months, sometimes not at all), “vegetal sweetness, agave, a bit of heat, citrus, lemon, lime and grapefruit.” With age, flavours mellow so the notes in reposado (aged two to twelve months) tequilas will be rounder and spicier. Think “hints of chocolate, light cinnamon, orange, mandarin, touches of vanilla, dried fruit and nuts,” says Lehmann. And the grandaddy of tequilas, añejo (aged more than a year) will yield “cooked agave, butterscotch, caramel, honey dew, clove and allspice.” We’ve all necked cheap tequila… and suffered the hangover to prove it. Avoid a repeat with better tequila. They’re the result of “the ingredients and methods used to produce the product,” notes Lehmann. ”When [distillers] stay true to how they should be made without too many outside influences, you are going to get a good drink”.