The Chiquito Guide to Tequila

Daniel Wren

Today is National Tequila Day, so we caught up with Chiquito’s to find out how best to enjoy this unique Mexican tipple.

How would you describe tequila?

Tequila is an agave-based spirit that’s made in only five states in Mexico. Tequila can only be made from the blue agave. The production process is strict and more highly monitored than that of champagne, ensuring that each bottle contains a minimum of 51% blue agave spirit.

When and how was tequila first discovered?

Tequila was first produced in the 16th Century when the Spanish arrived in Mexico. It was first called Vino De Mezcal, which then changed to Vino De Mezcal De Tequila as the best spirit came from the town of Tequila. In around 1800 the name was shortened to just Tequila.

Is it true what they say. Does tequila really make you happy?

The blue agave that tequila is made from is unique in many ways, one of these is the fact that it produces a different type of sugar which our body processes differently. This, coupled with the fact that the agave plant spends 8-12 years in a mineral rich soil, soaking up all the energy from the Mexican sun really makes you feel a happy tequila buzz.

Will tequila help a cough/ help a toothache/ help you lose weight?

Tequila has been known to cure ailments in Mexico. Not sure about the weight loss – we’ve lost many things when drinking tequila, but weight is not one of them.

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What is Chiquito’s most popular tequila drink?

Everyone loves a cool, ice-cold Margarita in the sunshine. Especially our guests at Chiquito! In Mexico the common way to drink Tequila is just as a shot, or with Cola and fresh lime – called a Batanga.

How is the best way to make a margarita?

My favourite recipe is three parts tequila, two parts fresh lime juice and one part orange liqueur. Classic and delicious.

Why do some tequilas taste different?

All tequila is made from the blue agave, so the difference in flavour comes from how that plant has been looked after and if the tequila producer has aged the tequila. Different lengths of aging will give the tequila a different flavour and character.

How many types of tequila are there?

There are five styles of tequila: blanco, reposado, anejo, extra anejo and joven.

Blanco is the clear tequila that is the essence of the Agave plant. This spirit is unaged so it really showcases the flavour of the base ingredient – the Blue Agave.

Reposado is tequila that has been rested in Oak barrels for between 2 – 12 months. This gives it a slight gold appearance and the oak adds a hint of caramel and vanilla in most Tequilas.

Anejo is a deeper gold tequila as it’s been aged in Oak barrels for between 1 – 3 years. The oak really softens the spirit and adds typical flavours of caramel, toffee and sweet spices.

Extra Anejo is any tequila that has been aged for longer than 3 years in an Oak barrel. These Tequilas are rare and full of distinctive flavour and character from the Oak. These tequilas can be compared to the finest Bourbons and Cognacs and share similar flavours associated with these spirits.

Joven – Joven is typically a blend of different styles of tequilas.

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What alcohol % is in tequila?

Typically between 35% to 40%. EU law says the minimum ABV has to be 37.5% to be a tequila, however in Mexico the most common ABV is 35%. There is no upper limit so there are some tequilas over 50% (strong stuff!)

Is there a special/best time to drink tequila?

Tequila can be enjoyed in a cocktail as an aperitif or even as an after meal digestif. To be honest, as long as you’re not driving, pregnant, operating heavy machinery or about to text your ex, I think Tequila can be enjoyed any time.

What flavours work best with tequila?

Tequila goes with so much. We’re big fans of the citrus flavours both in drinks and food, they go really well with almost all tequilas. The aged tequilas go well with chocolate – but then again, most things do.

Why is there a salted rim on glasses of margaritas?

In Mexico salt goes on pretty much everything. In the 1920s it wasn’t uncommon to put also a pinch of salt in a sour drink as the salt shuts off the bitterness receptors in your tongue so the sour drink doesn’t taste bitter.

Rumour has it that doctors were also recommending that anyone in Mexico, whether visiting on holiday or living there, should be consuming fresh lime for vitamin C and salt to replace minerals lost due to the heat.

What’s the deal with the tequila worm in some bottles?

There are many stories about this, the most common being based on the tequila strength. Back in the day before labels and displaying ABV, the way to see if a tequila was strong was to put a worm in the bottle. If the worm was rotting and falling apart, the tequila is a poor strength. If it’s a good strength it’s beautifully preserved – so game on!

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Is there a tequila hangover? If so – what are your recommendations on treating it?

The blue agave produces a different type of sugar which means that 100% agave tequila generally is less likely to give you a killer hangover, something that I have tried and tested. However, if you overdrink, a little hangover may happen.

  • Hangover cure 1: Take supplements and painkillers – Vitamin B, 5 HTP, alpha lipoic acid, rehydration salts and paracetamol
  • Hangover cure 2: The Mexican way – Have spicy food when you wake up, followed by a few Micheladas (spicy tomato juice with beer) and, of course, a few more tequilas.

Is tequila the next big thing?

Tequila and agave spirits are in massive growth at the moment. Flavoured tequilas are big with the Patron XO range leading the way. Mezcal is also very big at the moment and the trend here seems to be to stick to the original artisanal method of creating the spirit the same way it would have been made in the 16th Century.

What is a tequila flight?

This is a great way to discover the different styles of tequila. It’s a selection of tequilas that allow you taste the differences between the tequila makers and their styles.

How will the team at Chiquito be celebrating National Tequila Day?

We are putting all our margaritas and tequila on sale for a limited time only! £5 Margaritas, and £3 tequila shots. What better excuse to drink tequila?

How can you sample these tequila delights at Chiquito?

The best way is on our tequila sampling boards in the restaurant and through our selection of tequila drinks. We are celebrating National Tequila Day in Chiquito but offering £5 Margaritas and £3 tequila shots until Sunday 31 July! We have 26 tequilas to enjoy, so come on down for a tipple!

HAPPY TEQUILA DAY!

Tequila 1