# 26 on my 99 Life Tips–A List is: Tequila can be sipped, savored, and enjoyed like a fine scotch or bourbon if you get an Añejo. Save the blancos and reposados for mixing.
When I was coming of legal drinking age, tequila meant shots, usually with a salt and a wedge of lime. Bartenders refer to these accompaniments to a tequila shot as “training wheels” or simply, “wheels”. The drinker carefully wets the back of the web between thumb and forefinger with the lime, sprinkles on salt, which sticks to the lime juice moistened skin, sucks the salt off, quickly slams the tequila down in a squint-eyed, unpleasant gulp, trying hard not to taste it, then bites hard on the lime to ease the burn. What you taste is salt, fire, and lime.
This ritual, called tequila cruda in Spanish, is what many picture when they think of “drinking” tequila. But you can sip, savor, and enjoy Tequila without all that fuss if you know a thing or two. Aficionados and connoisseurs enjoy fine tequilas this way, not only in Mexico, but the world over. High end tequilas are a cultured luxury equal to the best whiskeys.
“At home, Tequila had the most loyal drinkers with nearly nine out of 10 respondents confessing they have a brand preference.”~ thespiritsbusiness.com here and above
Only the respondents know whether they sip these brands to which they are loyal, or slam the tequila back with wheels.
The least filtered, least aged are the Blancos and Jovens. Usually clear, these may have added colorants or sweeteners to give them a gold tone. These are good for mixing… only. True tequila comes from the heart of the blue agave plant. Only spirits distilled at a minimum of 51% blue agave qualify. Look for this when buying a bottle or ordering a drink.
Reposados age longer, are usually golden, the color derived from the barrels used in aging, and make fine tequila in mixed drinks.
Añejo (pronounced “On-Yay-Ho”), and Extra Añejos are the highest graded, longest aged tequilas. These spirits have distinct flavor profiles and complexity. Sip, savor, and enjoy these like a fine bourbon or scotch. They are complex, flavorful spirits to be imbibed neat or with a cube or two of ice. Like other well-known liquors, especially scotch, both altitude and soil composition affect the characteristics and flavor of the Añejos. Anyone who has tasted the difference between a crisp Highland and a smokey, peaty Islay scotch whiskey will appreciate the differences between fine, aged Añejos. No wheels required, nor desired. Enjoy!