Tequila Superpost, Part 1: What is tequila?

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Campo de agave en Tequila, Jalisco (México)

Agave Plants (aka tequila embryos)

Written by Greg Mays, Burn! Cocktail Editor

If you missed the Fiery Foods Show this year, then you also missed a fun presentation on tequila and tequila cocktails by yours truly. With Cinco de Mayo on the horizon, it’s definitely a perfect time to summarize that presentation in a written format, so you can all benefit from the knowledge and enjoy some great tequila between now and May 5. I’ll include a classic recipe with each post, too.

We’ll start with the obvious question: what is tequila? Tequila is liquor distilled from agave which is made exclusively in the Tequila region of Mexico. Much like Scotch must be distilled and bottled in Scotland in order to take on the legal name Scotch, tequila must be from Tequila to be called tequila. Got it?

Spaniards brought the science of distilling to Mexico. Before that, Mexican natives were pretty good at making booze, particularly Mezcal, a smoky cousin to tequila, but European distilling techniques were necessary for the invention of tequila. Today, even in the small region of Tequila, much like Scotch, the different regions of Tequila produce different-tasting tequila, and as the Wall Street Journal has pointed out, you’ll find a variety of flavors from salty or sweet to spicy or grassy.

Time to take a cocktail break until next week. Here’s a recipe for the most iconic tequila cocktail, which became very popular in California during Prohibition, and has been the most popular cocktail in the United States for years.

The Classic Margarita
Author: Heat Scale: None
Serves: 1
  • 2 oz tequila
  • 1 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 oz triple sec (orange liqueur)
  1. Combine the ingredients in a shaker. Shake with ice and strain into a salt-rimmed glass.
  2. Garnish with a lime wedge.


Greg Mays is the Managing Editor of www.simple-cocktails.com

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Cocktail Editor | Greg is the classic cocktail aficionado and recipe developer at Simple Cocktails, his “place for the intimidated home bartender to shed some fear.”

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