How to drink tequila like a Mexican

November 12, 2016
Milton Estrada

Put down the Jose Cuervo. We asked Milton, our local guide in Mexico City, how to drink the country’s most famous beverage like a local in his city.

lime, salt, and bottles of mezcal and tequila

Mezcal or tequila: pick your poison, but drink it right

Tequila is the first drink we offer when we’re celebrating something or when we invite friends over — in fact, we usually greet guests with the sentence, “Bienvenidos, ¿un tequilita?” (“Welcome, want a little tequila?”). Once the guests say yes (and they always say yes), the host will arrive with shots, which we call caballitos (little horses), poured from a special bottle for the celebration.

A good tequila must say 100% agave on the label — that means it’s good quality and will be much smoother and enjoyable. But from there, the varieties depend on personal tastes. We have blanco, añejo, and reposado (white, one-year aged, and longer), which all depends on how long it aged in the barrel, and affects the taste. The longer a tequila has aged, the more of a deeper, woody flavour it will have. White tequilas are a lot sharper, but also considered purer, since they retain more of the agave flavour.

Yes, we do sometimes use lime and salt, but we don’t do it the way you’re probably used to in bars back home! A good tequila has an oily texture and we drink it in little sips, not a full shot. Lime and salt isn’t needed to accompany a good tequila, but if we decide to include it, we lick the salt directly from the lime — not from the back of our hands. Truth be told, though, technique doesn’t really matter when the main reason is to celebrate. So drink up!

Mexican Night Out: Cantinas, Mariachi & Lucha Libre

Ready to get up close and personal with one of Mexico’s most popular sports? It’s going to get exciting! Our unique Mexico City city tour (say that ten times fast!) starts at a typical Mexican pub called a cantina. There, you’ll enjoy a couple drinks (at your own expense) and get to know the rest of the travellers on your tour.