TequilaNeat - Myths About Tequila

Because good tequila should be served "neat:"   No ice, no salt, no lime.

A church in the town of Tequila.

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There are many misconceptions about tequila. You've probably heard most, if not all of them.
  • Tequila is more potent than other alcohols: No, it's the same content of alcohol as other liquors. 40% or 80 proof in the U.S., 36-38% or 72-76 proof in Mexico. Having said that, there are some "cask strength" tequilas available that have a higher alcohol content. But they're rare, and other liquors also have higher-strength versions.

  • Tequila will give a terrible hangover: Only the mixtos with cane sugar alcohol and other additives and impurities will give a bad hangover; the good quality tequilas won't. Having said that, know that consuming a large quantity of ANY alcohol will dehydrate a person. Dehydration can cause headaches.

  • Tequila is made from cactus: Not true. It's made from Agave tequilana, the Weber blue agave plant. Specifically, the core or "piña" of the plant. The blue agave looks like a century plant- It has long spiny leaves, a few inches wide by 5-8 feet long. The leaves aren't used in the production. The piña can be large- They can weigh up to 250-300 lbs (113kg-136kg).

  • Tequila has a worm in the bottle: It's Mezcal, not Tequila, that sometimes has a worm in the bottle as a novelty. Even then, only a few mezcals have the worm. In fact, it's not really a worm at all- It's the larvae of the moth which lives on the plant.

  • Tequila and Mezcal are the same thing: Not entirely true. All tequilas are mezcals, but not all mezcals are tequila. The roasting and distillation processes are different, mezcal can use a wider variety of agave plants, and it can be produced in a wider area than Tequila.

  • Tequila is a kind of "outlaw" brew: Not at all. While there are a number of homebrewed tequilas in Mexico (and some are quite good, I hear), anything that's made for export to other countries is very carefully regulated by the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT), part of the Mexican government.
Tequila has been a fairly misunderstood liquor in the U.S. Fortunately, this is starting to change as more and more good tequilas are brought into the country. There are also a growing number of enthusiasts who help spread the word. Tequila bars are growing, and many offer tastings, classes, and special dinners with tequila distillers.

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