Tequila Basics


Kasi Shelton, CSW, ACWS, Certified Sommelier

Tequila is not just for shots and blackouts, it is the liquid of legends. Fine tequila, like scotch or bourbon, is to be savored sip by sip and the number of cocktails it can be used in is nothing short of mind-blowing. Here are the basics of this elixir and a couple of ideas for how to use it. 

Tequila is made from a plant native to Mexico called agave (Ah-GAH-Vey)and in particular the BLUE AGAVE plant.  Much like Champagne, to be true tequila, it MUST be made from plants that come from specific areas (states) of Mexico. Tequila will either be “100% Agave” or “Mixto”.  With 100% Agave, the flavors and notes will be robust and exotic, this is TRUE tequila. Mixto, on the other hand,  has up to 49% sugar and water added to it;  it will have a more subtle flavor that lingers a bit longer. Neither option is better or higher-end, it is simply a matter of preference.

Styles of Tequila

Silver, White or Blanco - A clear tequila that is not aged before storing and is popular for mixing.

Tequila Reposado - Reposado is aged in oak barrels for 2-11 months before storing. Amber in color, it will have a light, but complex flavor making it the ideal all purpose tequila. 

Tequila Añejo - (On-YAY-ho)  This is the most complex type of tequila and is aged for at least a year (Extra Añejo is aged 3+ years) in small oak barrels. The flavor is robust, smoky and aromatic.

How to Drink it and What to Try

Pour it over ice or drink neat if you are wanting to savor the nuances or mix it up! Summer is a great time for Margaritas (frozen, straight-up or on the rocks), Paloma (grapefruit juice, club soda), Tequila Sunrise (breakfast of champions - orange juice, grenadine) and the list goes on.  Below are two of our favorites, one from a local legend and one from a close friend at mixologist at Quality Meats in NYC, Jamie Murzynowski, which is a take on the classic Aviation cocktail. Some of our favorites here are Casamigos (yes, George Clooney’s) and 123 Organic Tequila (listed as one of the best tequilas in the world). We have the three styles listed above in both lines, giving you endless possibilities to savor and enjoy.

Vance's Mango Margarita, Edmond Wine Shop


2oz Reposado tequila (1 2 3, Casamigos, Casa Noble or Herradura)

2oz Jumex mango juice (cans found at Crest)

1/2oz Cointreau

Squeeze 1/4 lime


Shake, shake, shake all the ingredients with ice. 

Strain into a chilled martini glass.

El Veulo, Quality Meats, NYC


oz  Reposado tequila 

1/2 oz Maraschino liqueur (like Luxardo’s)

1/4 oz Crème de violette or Crème Yvette

3/4 oz Lemon juice 


Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice.

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. 

Garnish with a cherry if desired. 

You can switch out the Crème Yvette for a floral liqueur like Saint Germain’s or a fruit inspired one like Grand Marnier or pear brandy.