More Than Just a Shot: the World of Tequila


It’s the liquor that many of us love to hate.

Tequila has a bit of a bad rap in the minds of many. I mean, who hasn’t had a shot or two (or five) too many only to regret that decision later that night or the next morning? 

Here’s the thing. Tequila can actually be really good on it’s own or in various drinks. Just take your time with it, like anything else, and you’ll just be fine. Who knows? You might actually enjoy it. 

In Mexico, most locals don’t shoot tequila like we do here in Canada. They sip it like we do a nice scotch, whisky or gin. That’s because the locals know to stick to the good stuff. 

The first thing you need to know is what kind of tequila you’re getting and what the differences are between the different tequilas. If you even knew there was a difference at all. 

A good way to tell if the tequila you’re looking at is a higher quality (other than price) is if it tells you what kind of tequila it is. If the bottle just says “tequila” and nothing else, then it’s very likely a lower quality drink. 

In general, there are two types of tequila. Either it’s made with 100% blue agave or what’s known as a mixto. A mixto is a tequila that’s made with at least 51% blue agave and the rest is made with sugars or other substances to make alcohol. the 100% blue agave would be like your single malt tequila, in a sense. 

From there, it comes down to how long your tequila has been aged for and what colour it is. 

A silver tequila probably hasn’t been aged at all, maybe a month at most. A gold tequila is a mixto and might have been aged for a similar time but likely not. 

From there, you have a resposado. This kind of tequila has been aged anywhere from two to 11 months in a wood barrel. This turns the tequila a darker colour and brings out earthy like flavours. 

Up next is anejo, which has to be aged for at least two years followed by the extra enajo which must be aged for at least three years. These tequilas are smoother and darker. The flavours are bold but balanced. 

If you still don’t feel like sipping on some tequila, either neat or on the rocks, this summer, that’s ok. There’s still endless options for mixing tequila into a delicious cocktail. They actually make a great caesar. There’s always the margarita or sex on the beach, tequila sunrise. Just about anything citrusy, fruity or sweet would probably work. 

What’s your favourite tequila cocktail? 

Joel Gasson