I want you to close your eyes and remember your worst hangover. Now, open your eyes and tell me that it involved multiple shots of tequila that you had without considering its side-effects.
Again, close your eyes and think of your favourite tequila cocktail. Did you just open your eyes in surprise reading the words ‘tequila’ and ‘cocktail’ together? Welcome to India, where tequila means only one thing – shots.
Since tequila isn’t native to India, even the trend of having tequila shots came from outside. But such was the allure of having the drink as a shot, complete with salt-rimmed glasses and a slice of lemon to bite into, that the whole endeavour became de rigueur at bars across the country. The young workforce took to tequila shots like fish to water so much so that no party at a bar could end without everyone gulping down ‘shots’.
Today, bars have no real reason to shift from tequila shots because it is so well established. That’s a shame because there are so many amazing cocktails that can be made with tequila.
Some classic cocktails, in fact, cannot be made with tequila since that’s the base alcohol used to make them. Think of something like a Margarita or a Paloma or even a Tequila Sunrise for example. These are some of the best cocktails that you can have when compared with other spirit-based cocktails but the chances of finding them on bar menus are next to zero.
It’s very much a demand and supply situation at play here. Bars don’t have to offer any tequila cocktails because they say customers don’t want them. Whereas customers haven’t sampled these great cocktails because they’ve been fed with nothing but tequila shots.
Tequila’s relative obscurity is even more galling in the wake of other regional drinks finding their spot under the sun. Be it the new Pisco Sours or the trending mezcals, South American spirits, especially those with agave, have made a splash amongst Indians in a big way over the past year and more. On the other hand, tequila is still playing catch-up from its relative obscurity to feature prominently in cocktail menus.
It’s obvious what we need to do. Ask your favourite bartenders to create more tequila cocktails and stay away from the scourge of tequila shots. Learn what goes behind making some classic tequila cocktails. We’ve covered some of them on our Instagram page with our #50Best series.
More than anything, it’s imperative for us – you and me – as cocktail lovers to ensure that we’re getting the best of each spirit out there. There’s no reason to let tequila shots be the only way we consume this superb spirit. That’s like having Rum and Coke every time you want to drink rum without opening your eyes and taste buds to other rum cocktails out there.
Lastly, by giving up tequila shots, you’ll also be doing your body a huge favour by not waking up with the biggest hangover ever. Instead, you’ll have a chance to enjoy the subtle flavours of this fiery spirit and enjoy it just like the locals in Mexico do.
Salud to that we say.
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Loves to travel and taste drinks around the world Favourite drink - Vietnamese Coffee Favourite spirit - Turkish Raki