Mastering Agave Spirits: How to Serve Tequila The Right Way


Tequila happens to be one of the most in-demand drinks in the world, and as its popularity grows further, the thirst for its cocktails is only bound to grow. While the way a drink is made often depends on the customers’ preferences, there are several techniques that enable the true taste of the spirit to express itself and allow your patrons to enjoy a unique experience. Since there’s such a rich diversity in the tequila niche, there exist several ways to master how to serve tequila to your customers. 

Whether it’s a Blanco, Reposado, or Anejo, you can enhance your customers’ experience by providing them with the best ways to drink tequila. Though a tequila shot with lime and salt might seem quite attractive to several drinkers, you can also add to your list a variety of tequila mocktails to help you branch out. We discuss the best ways to take tequila shots, serve tequila to your customers, and the best way to drink tequila so you have a more vibrant atmosphere at your bar. 

Understanding Tequila & Its Varieties

Tequila is a spirit that finds its origins in Mexico and is derived from the agave plant. It has nearly 40% of alcohol by volume and is a drink that’s known to get better with age. The older the tequila is, the more mellow it is. Younger tequila batches are sharper and have classical pungent flavors attributed to distilled liquors. Before we get into how to serve tequila, it’s important to understand the varieties of tequila so you can use the right varieties for the offerings on your bar’s menu. The most prevalent types of tequila are: 

  • Blanco: Translated as white in Spanish, this type of tequila is not aged and spends less than two months in a barrel either made of steel or neutral oakwood. 
  • Joven: Joven varieties of tequila are also not aged, however, they are of a deep golden color instead of being transparent like the Blanco type. 
  • Reposado: An aged variety of tequila that is stored for between 2 months and a year in wooden barrels. 
  • Anejo: These types of tequila are some of the most preferred when it comes to neat pours. Anejo varieties are often made of blue agave and are aged for one to three years in oakwood barrels. 
  • Extra-Anejo/ High-end: Tequila that has been aged for more than three years is called extra-Anejo. These blends are some of the most smooth varieties and are highly sought after by connoisseurs. 

How to Take A Tequila Shot

how to take a tequila shot

Though not the traditional method of serving or consuming tequila, a tequila shot with lime and salt has become one of the most popular ways of serving the beloved spirit. The salt helps cut through the pungency of the shot and is ideally taken right before the shot, following which the lime helps your customers deal with the sharpness of the liquor. Blanco and Joven types of tequila are most commonly used when serving tequila shots. Also, keep in mind that your customers might have personal preferences and may prefer some variations to the ways shots are usually drunk. 

Imitate The Locals

Since tequila comes from Mexico, it might help to serve and present the drink in ways that are prevalent in the land of the drink’s origin. Tequila is often served neat and is chilled in a refrigerator before being served. You can also use a commercial ice machine to serve sufficiently cold tequila to your customers by using rocks pours. The low temperatures can mellow the taste and provide a more balanced experience. Reposado, Anejo, and extra-Anejo varieties are popular for being served neat. Neat tequila can help your customers sense the diverse taste notes of the drink. This includes the sweetness of cooked agave and the subtle presence of citrus undertones. 

Bandera Mexicana

Bandera Mexicana or literally ‘the Mexican flag’, is a special shot native to tequila’s homeland and imitates the colors present on the country’s flag. Each shot has the colors green, white, and red, giving you a truly Mexican experience - both literally and figuratively. If you’re thinking about how to serve tequila in this manner, it’s quite simple. For the green - lime juice is squeezed into the shot glass first, followed by a high-quality Blanco-type tequila. The shot glass is then topped off with a dash of spicy sangrita to bring the color red to the mix. An ingenious solution to the question of how to drink tequila, the Bandera Mexicana shot can certainly spice things up at your bar. 

Cocktails Galore

Tequila is a drink that blends really well with a variety of flavors, this makes it perfectly suited to prepare several cocktails. The margarita happens to be one of the most popular cocktails that are made of tequila, and it is also a customer favorite. You can also spice up the menu by serving frozen margaritas and rocks pours for your customers. Conversely, tequila sunrise is another extremely popular cocktail that gets a lot of love and attention from customers. While margaritas require lime juice, the latter requires freshly squeezed orange juice. In Mexico however, another cocktail - the Paloma is far more popular. Almost just as straightforward as the margarita, the Paloma requires lime juice, quality Blanco tequila, ice, and grapefruit soda to make. You could also serve the Cantarito - another Mexican cocktail that requires both lime and orange juice alongside grapefruit soda. You could also try your hand at preparing a tequila old-fashioned cocktail for your patrons. The taste profile of the drink will be perfectly suited to the bitters and the agave syrup. A richly aged Anejo variant of tequila is the best choice for an old-fashioned cocktail. 

While there might be several methods on how to serve tequila and the best ways to drink it, it’s important to add to the mix the zing of your own creativity and instinct to create a unique product. Adding your own twist will help your customers become more invested in your menu, allowing them to truly taste the diverse palate of rich experiences that tequila brings to each glass. 

Posted by Damon Shrauner on