Good news, everyone: National Tequila Day is upon us!
National Tequila Day is celebrated annually on July 24th, which mean that it falls on a Tuesday in 2018. Tacos and Tequila Tuesday, anybody?
If you’d like, you can go ahead and do something special today; there’s no law on the books forbidding weekday drinking. However, we’re certainly not going to judge you if you choose to celebrate the weekend before or the weekend after the holiday proper. Just have fun with it!
Here are our suggestions for festive, tequila-based drinks to imbibe:
The original. The classic. First in show and first in our hearts, Margaritas are—without a doubt—the quintessential accompaniment to any Tex-Mex meal. Whether you like them frozen or on the rocks, this delightfully tart beverage will help cut through the fire of spicier entrées while adding an extra dimension of flavor to tamer ones.
Now, if you’re not a fan of “traditional” margaritas, don’t fret: we compiled a guide to margarita variations in an earlier post. Between fruity margaritas, spicy margaritas, or even non-alcoholic margaritas, there really is a margarita out there for everyone. Also, a good rule of thumb for Tex-Mex dining is to try a restaurant’s “signature” margarita at least once. Nearly all Tex-Mex places have one, so you may discover a hidden gem. At Mattito’s, for example, we’re always getting complimented on our famous Rumbaritas!
This is probably the second most famous tequila-based cocktail out there; folks will often default to it when they’re asked to name a beverage that contains tequila but is not a margarita. And with its pretty color scheme and fruit garnishes, it’s certainly a flashy drink.
A tequila sunrise consists of tequila, ice, orange juice, and grenadine syrup all poured into a tall glass. A skilled bartender can create one with a near-perfect gradient of bright red at the bottom and soft orange at the top. This is the “sunrise” that gives the beverage its name. Add an orange wedge (or wheel) and a single maraschino cherry, and you’ve got a drink that wouldn’t be out of place on a tropical beach…or a glamorous brunch get-together!
Note: because most of the appeal of the tequila sunrise is in its looks, it’s easy enough to make a “mocktail” version using only grenadine and fruit juices. If you’re thinking about serving these drinks at a party or event, consider offering non-alcoholic sunrises to any children and adult teetotalers in attendance. Chances are, your guests will be delighted.
When it comes to drinking, shots are about as basic as it gets. But while you can just throw back tequila shots, it’s usually more fun to do it “properly,” especially if you’re partying with a group of people. Just be sure that you have a designated driver waiting in the wings because chances are, no one’s going to leave the table sober!
Here’s how to do a “real” tequila shot:
- Gather up a salt shaker (or a bowl of loose salt), a lime wedge, and your shot glass full of tequila.
- Lick the back of one hand to wet it, and then top it with a few good shakes (or pinches) of salt.
- Hold the lime wedge between your thumb and pointer finger, using the same hand that you salted.
- Pick up the shot glass in your other hand.
- Now, in rapid succession: lick the salt, down the shot, and suck on the lime wedge.
The salt helps to reduce the burn of the tequila, while the sour flavor compliments the taste. “Lick, sip, suck” is an easy enough sequence to remember, but after a few shots, you may have trouble remembering the order in which to do things!
Slammers and Boom-Booms are easy (and relatively inexpensive) to make, but they’re another drink that’s fun to consume when you’re with a group. Word to the wise, though: if you’re at someone else’s house and wind up making a mess, always volunteer to help clean up. Otherwise, you might not get invited over again.
To make this beverage, you simply fill a tumbler (or a shot glass) with one part tequila and one part soft drink; “Slammers” usually use ginger ale, while “boom-booms” typically call for Sprite or 7-Up and a splash of grenadine. Leave about 1/5 of the glass empty. While the drink is still bubbling, cover the top of the glass with your hand, and then slam it down on the counter or table. The force should cause the concoction to fizz up rapidly, so drink it fast to prevent spillage. Waste not, want not!
How are you planning to celebrate National Tequila Day? Will you throw back shots with your friends at a backyard fiesta? Or will you simply order a margarita at your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant? Tequila is a versatile little spirit with a variety of uses. If you’re feeling daring this July 24th, you can try exploring it on your own. If you’d like to play it a little safer, though, a trained mixologist can help steer you in the right direction!