This is a guide to hosting a fun and informative tequila tasting party complete with links to five party-friendly recipes that pair beautifully with tequila's various styles.
The Styles of Tequila
The three styles of tequila are defined by the method and length of the aging process they go through. Each style has its own unique flavor and aroma characteristics and aside from having fun, this tasting party will help you to learn to distinguish them.
Bottled immediately after distilling, Tequila Blanco has the purest blue agave flavor. Its aromas are crisp and can include notes of citrus, apple, pear, mint, pepper or pineapple.
Aged in wooden storage vats called pipones for anywhere between 2 and 12 months, Tequila Reposados offer mellow aromas of vanilla, honey, caramel, butterscotch, almond, toffee or spice.
Aged for at least one year, Tequila Añejo develops a rich color and subtle oaky flavor. Its aromas can include notes of vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, brown sugar, almond, toffee, chocolate, oak or spice.
Tequila Tasting Glassware
Although tequila is often served in shot glasses, the best choice is actually a stemmed glass with a short bowl that tapers slightly toward the top. White wine glasses can be used as a substitute.
For the best experience, be sure to clean the tasting glasses between the different varieties.
Step by Step: How To Taste Tequila
- Your tequila should be served at room temperature and each pour for tasting should be 1/2 ounce.
- Hold the glass to the light and make note of the color. Tequila blanco should be crystal clear, reposado a golden color and anejo can range between golden and a deeper amber.
- Swirl the tequila to release the aromas, then, holding the rim of the glass about 1/2 inch from your nose, give it a sniff. Tequila blanco may have notes of citrus, apple and pear while the reposado and añejo varieties may exhibit aromas of vanilla, honey, caramel, butterscotch, brown sugar, almond, toffee or chocolate.
- Take a sip of the tequila and hold it in your mouth for a moment, allowing it to coat your tongue. Swallow and then exhale through your mouth to mellow the “burn.” The flavors you experience should include some of the aromas you've already noted.
- Evaluate the texture and finish. Tequila can be smooth, mellow, full-bodied or light and flavors that linger on the palate are considered to be a long finish.
For more details on tasting and appreciating fine tequilas, read our post “How To Taste Tequila” in our Food & Drink section.