This review is directed toward those readers who are new to Tequila. We advise you to forget everything you have “learned” about Tequila in college bars and from dopey American movies. Worms in bottles, shots taken with licks of salt off your wrist and a bite of lime, blackouts… Put all that from your minds.
Instead, recognize that tequila is a complex, classy spirit, one that your palate can appreciate with a bit of practice. (Read: By drinking it slowly in small sips.)
A nice way to begin your tequila education is to belly up to a bar and order three shots of Hornitos—Plata, Resposado, and Anejo. Each can be served in a shot glass, but we prefer a small rocks glass so that you can swirl it about. Whatever you do, do not have your tequila poured in a white wine or other narrow mouthed glass. Such glasses funnel the spirits’ fumes up your nose overwhelming and dulling your sense of smell and taste.
Taste a few small sips of the Plata, giving yourself a minute between each sip. Note that it is water clear, and pretty soft in the mouth for an 80 proof spirit. It is a little dry on the tongue, a bit herbal, and might strike you as slightly salty and sour. (Rating ***1/2)
After having a sip of water and letting your mouth refresh itself, repeat the same with the dull straw-colored Reposado. Putting it under your nose you’ll find it smells a bit sweeter. In the mouth it will taste similar to the Plata, but a little fuller and deeper—this is the product of it sitting in barrel for a couple of months. (Rating ****)
Finally, you are ready for the most robustly flavored of the bunch—Anejo, which has the color that’s a bit like red tinted whiskey. Here is where you can see tequila moving into a whole different realm—the Anejo is a little like dark rum. A year or more in barrel produces a tequila that tastes of barrel—there’s a soft roasted flavor, along with a hint of vanilla. (Rating ****)
Having carried out this exercise, you can now feel free to shoot back the remainder in each of your glasses. But having learned what learned, why would you?