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What to Mix with Tequila

Tequila bottle with a red cocktail, showing what to mix with tequila, garnished with mint on a wooden table.

What Is Tequila?

Tequila is a distilled spirit made from the blue agave plant, primarily grown in the region surrounding the city of Tequila in the western Mexican state of Jalisco. This popular drink has a rich history and is deeply rooted in Mexican culture. The production of tequila involves several steps, including harvesting the agave, cooking the piñas (the heart of the agave), fermenting the juice, distilling it, and sometimes aging it in barrels. The result is a unique and versatile spirit enjoyed worldwide.

What Does Tequila Taste Like?

Tequila’s flavor can vary significantly depending on how it is made and aged. Generally, it has a distinctive taste that includes earthy, sweet, and sometimes peppery notes. Blanco tequila, which is unaged, tends to have a more agave-forward flavor with fresh, bright notes. Reposado tequila, aged for 2-12 months, offers a smoother taste with hints of oak and vanilla. Añejo tequila, aged for 1-3 years, has a richer, more complex flavor profile with deeper notes of caramel and spice. Extra Añejo, aged for over three years, provides an even more sophisticated taste with pronounced oak and dark chocolate tones.

What to Mix With Tequila

Jealous Martini in the making.

Drinking tequila as a shot is a traditional way to enjoy this spirit, often accompanied by rituals involving salt and lime.

 

Traditional Rituals with Salt and Lime

The classic way to drink a tequila shot involves licking a pinch of salt, taking the shot, and then biting into a lime wedge. This ritual helps to balance the strong flavors of the tequila and can be a fun way to enjoy the spirit with friends. The salt enhances the tequila’s flavors, while the lime provides a refreshing contrast, making the whole experience more enjoyable.

 

Modern Variations

Modern variations of tequila shots include adding flavored salts or using different citrus fruits like grapefruit or orange. Some people prefer to skip the salt and lime altogether, especially with high-quality tequilas, to fully appreciate the flavor of the spirit. Experimenting with different rituals can make your tequila experience unique and exciting.

 

Shot Glass Selection

The type of shot glass you use can also affect your experience. Traditional shot glasses are small and easy to handle, but for a more refined experience, consider using a taller, slender shot glass, which can help concentrate the aromas. The shape and size of the glass can enhance your enjoyment by allowing you to better appreciate the tequila’s bouquet before drinking.

Sweet Drink Combos

Orange Juice + Grenadine (a Tequila Sunrise)

A Tequila Sunrise is a classic cocktail that is both visually stunning and delicious. To make it, you need tequila, orange juice, and grenadine. The orange juice provides a sweet and citrusy base, while the grenadine adds a touch of sweetness and a beautiful sunrise effect in the glass. This cocktail is perfect for brunch or a summer evening.

 

Crème de Cassis + Ginger (an El Diablo)

El Diablo is a lesser-known but fantastic tequila cocktail. It combines tequila with crème de cassis, a sweet blackcurrant liqueur, and ginger beer or ginger ale. The result is a sweet and slightly spicy drink with a deep, fruity flavor. It’s a refreshing option for those who enjoy a bit of sweetness with a kick.

 

Flavored Soda

Flavored sodas can be an excellent mixer for tequila. Options like pineapple soda, grapefruit soda, or even a cherry cola can add a fun twist to your tequila drinks. These sodas enhance the tequila’s natural flavors and create easy-to-make, tasty cocktails. Experimenting with different flavored sodas can lead to some delightful discoveries.

Savory Drink Combos

Festive Celosa Winter Spritz cocktail adorned with pomegranate seeds and rosemary, served next to a gold shaker on a golden tray, set against a rich red backdrop with Christmas decorations.

Tomato Juice (a Bloody Maria)

A Bloody Maria is a tequila-based version of the classic Bloody Mary. To make it, you mix tequila with tomato juice, lemon juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and various spices. This savory cocktail is perfect for brunch or as a hangover cure. The rich, savory flavors of the tomato juice complement the tequila nicely, creating a robust and satisfying drink.

 

Vermouth

Vermouth, a fortified wine flavored with various botanicals, can be a great mixer for tequila. It adds a slightly sweet and herbal flavor that pairs well with the earthy notes of tequila. Mixing tequila with vermouth can create a sophisticated cocktail with a balanced and complex flavor profile. It’s an excellent choice for those who enjoy martini-style drinks.

Citrus and Fruit Combinations

Triple Sec + Lime (a Margarita)

The Margarita is perhaps the most famous tequila cocktail. It combines tequila with triple sec (an orange-flavored liqueur) and lime juice. The result is a tart, refreshing drink that’s perfect for any occasion. Margaritas can be served on the rocks, frozen, or straight up, and they are often garnished with a salted rim and a lime wedge. This classic combination is a staple in any tequila lover’s repertoire.

Grapefruit Soda (a Paloma)

The Paloma is a popular Mexican cocktail that mixes tequila with grapefruit soda. It’s a simple yet incredibly refreshing drink. The tangy grapefruit soda complements the tequila’s earthy notes, creating a light and citrusy beverage. For an added twist, you can add a splash of lime juice or a pinch of salt to enhance the flavors.

Lemon Juice + Simple Syrup + Club Soda (a Tequila Collins)

A Tequila Collins is a tequila-based twist on the classic Tom Collins. It combines tequila with lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda. This cocktail is light, fizzy, and perfect for a hot day. The lemon juice provides a bright, tart flavor that pairs beautifully with the tequila, while the simple syrup adds just the right amount of sweetness.

Herbal and Spicy Combinations

Jalapeno Slices + Cucumber

For those who enjoy a bit of heat, mixing tequila with jalapeno slices and cucumber can create a refreshing and spicy cocktail. The cucumber adds a cool, crisp flavor that balances the spiciness of the jalapeno. This combination is perfect for a summer drink and can be adjusted to your preferred level of spiciness.

Basil + Lime Juice

Basil and lime juice can add a fresh, herbal twist to your tequila cocktail. The sweet, aromatic flavor of basil complements the tartness of the lime and the earthiness of the tequila. This combination is both refreshing and sophisticated, making it a great choice for a summer evening or a casual get-together.

Mint + Pineapple Juice

Mint and pineapple juice create a delightful mix with tequila. The sweet, tropical flavor of the pineapple juice pairs perfectly with the fresh, cooling mint. This combination is refreshing and light, making it an ideal choice for a beach day or a backyard barbecue.

Quick and Simple Combinations

Club Soda

Club soda is one of the simplest mixers for tequila. It adds a bit of fizz without overpowering the tequila’s flavor. This combination is perfect for those who prefer a lighter, less sweet drink. Adding a slice of lime or lemon can enhance the flavor and make it even more refreshing.

Lager Beer (a Corona Sunrise)

A Corona Sunrise is a fun and easy-to-make cocktail that combines tequila with lager beer, typically Corona. You simply add a shot of tequila to a bottle of beer and top it off with orange juice and grenadine. The result is a refreshing and slightly sweet drink that’s perfect for casual gatherings.

Lemon-Lime Soda

Lemon-lime soda, such as Sprite or 7-Up, is another simple and effective mixer for tequila. It adds a sweet, citrusy flavor that pairs well with the earthy notes of the tequila. This combination is easy to make and perfect for those who prefer a sweeter drink.

Tequila Cocktails

Jealous Martini made from Celosa Tequila

Classic Tequila Cocktails

Classic tequila cocktails include drinks like the Margarita, Tequila Sunrise, and Paloma. These cocktails have stood the test of time and remain popular choices for tequila lovers. Each one offers a unique flavor profile that showcases the versatility of tequila.

Modern Tequila Cocktails

Modern tequila cocktails include innovative drinks that mix tequila with unexpected ingredients. Examples include the Spicy Cucumber Margarita, which combines tequila with cucumber, jalapeno, and lime, and the Tequila Old Fashioned, which adds a tequila twist to the classic whiskey cocktail.

Frozen Tequila Cocktails

Frozen tequila cocktails are perfect for hot weather. Blending tequila with ice and various mixers creates a refreshing and cooling drink. Popular frozen tequila cocktails include Frozen Margaritas and Frozen Palomas.

Tequila and Champagne Cocktails

Tequila and champagne might seem like an unusual combination, but they can create a sophisticated and delightful cocktail. Mixing tequila with champagne and a splash of fruit juice or liqueur can elevate your drink to a whole new level.

Jealous Martini

The Jealous Martini is a unique and refreshing take on the classic martini. It combines tequila with fresh lime juice, a splash of simple syrup, and a hint of green apple liqueur. Shake the ingredients with ice and strain them into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a slice of green apple or a lime twist. This cocktail offers a perfect balance of tartness and sweetness, making it an elegant choice for any occasion.

Pink Margarita

The Pink Margarita is a fun and colorful twist on the traditional margarita. To make it, combine tequila with triple sec, lime juice, and a splash of cranberry juice. Shake with ice and strain into a glass with a salted rim. Garnish with a lime wedge or a slice of fresh cranberry. The cranberry juice adds a beautiful pink hue and a slight tartness, enhancing the classic margarita flavor.

Types of Tequila

Blanco

Blanco tequila is unaged or aged for less than two months. It has a clear color and a pure, agave-forward flavor. Blanco tequila is often used in cocktails where a bright, fresh taste is desired.

Reposado

Reposado tequila is aged for 2-12 months in oak barrels. This aging process gives it a smoother flavor with hints of oak and vanilla. Reposado tequila is versatile and can be enjoyed straight or in cocktails.

Añejo

Añejo tequila is aged for 1-3 years in oak barrels. It has a richer, more complex flavor profile with deeper notes of caramel and spice. Añejo tequila is often sipped neat or used in premium cocktails.

Extra Añejo

Extra Añejo tequila is aged for over three years. It has an even more sophisticated taste with pronounced oak and dark chocolate tones. Extra Añejo tequila is best enjoyed neat to fully appreciate its complex flavors.

Conclusion

Tequila is a versatile spirit that can be mixed with a wide variety of ingredients to create delicious cocktails. Whether you prefer sweet, savory, citrusy, herbal, or spicy drinks, there is a tequila mix for you. Experimenting with different combinations can lead to some delightful discoveries and enhance your appreciation for this iconic Mexican spirit. So next time you’re wondering what to mix with tequila, consider trying one of these combinations and enjoy the diverse flavors that tequila has to offer.

Explore the diverse flavors of tequila with these exciting mixes. Mix it with our Pink Tequila today!

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