Find the key etiquette rules on how to serve and drink Tequila and Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table. Enjoy Tequila the right way.

how to serve and drink tequila

What Tequila etiquette is

Tequila etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and drink Tequila. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow Tequila etiquette to appropriately serve it to your guests.

If you are a guest, respect Tequila etiquette rules to properly drink and enjoy it.

What you should know about Tequila

Tequila is a distilled spirit. It is made from the agave plant. It is a typical product of Mexico.

Many varieties of Tequila exist. They can vary from clear to dark brown in color. Younger Tequila is normally the clearest. The alcohol content is high, between 35% and 55%.

Etiquette tips to serve and drink Tequila

1) How to store Tequila

Store Tequila in a cool and dry place. The temperature should be constant. 

Keep the bottle away from sources of heat. The bottle should not be exposed to direct light, natural or artificial. 

Avoid storing high-quality Tequila in the fridge or the freezer. Too cold temperatures can hide its aroma.

After opening it, you can keep a bottle of Tequila for several months. 

2) How to prepare Tequila

Tequila does not need preparation. Do not chill it before serving.

If you serve or drink Tequila with salt and lime, slice the lime into small wedges. Place the salt in a small and low cup or a small plate.

3) How to serve & present Tequila

Serve Tequila at room temperature. The ideal temperature is about 18°C (65°F). A colder temperature can prevent the product from releasing its aroma. Thus, when Tequila is served cold it is often a low-quality product.

Present Tequila in its bottle. On informal occasions, it is acceptable to present a bottle that has already been opened. On formal occasions, it is best to serve a new bottle and to open it at the table. 

Serve Tequila in narrow shot glasses or Tequila snifter glasses. Alternatively, you can use small tumbler glasses too. Do not chill glasses in the fridge before presenting them.

If you serve shots of Tequila, accompany it with salt and lime.

It is not common to present neat Tequila with ice. However, it is acceptable etiquette to do it. 

You can mix Tequila in a cocktail.

4) When to serve & drink Tequila

Tequila is a strong and aromatic drink. Thus, neat Tequila is mostly appropriate for after-meal drinks. 

Cocktails based on young clear Tequila can be appropriate as an aperitivo or pre-meal drink. It is not common to serve Tequila during a meal.

Tequila is considered a mostly informal spirit. However, high-quality Tequila can be served as a meditation drink on formal occasions too.

5) Food & aromas to pair Tequila with

The most popular Tequila pairing is salt and lime.

Tequila can pair well with chocolate and cinnamon. It is ideal with citric fruits, such as lemon or orange. You can combine it with tropical fruit, such as mango or passion fruit.

6) How to drink Tequila

Drink neat Tequila in shot glasses or in small tumbler glasses. 

When Tequila is served in shot glasses, you should drink it swiftly. Ideally, in a single sip. Do not add ice. 

If a shot of Tequila is served with salt and lime, first put a pinch of salt on the back of your hand. Then, lick the salt. Drink the Tequila shot in one go. Finally, suck one lime wedge.  

When Tequila is served in a tumbler or tulip glasses, drink it as a long drink. A glass should last between 10 and 30 minutes. Do not drink it in a single sip. You can add ice.

Tequila serving & drinking etiquette: the worst mistakes

When serving or drinking Tequila, avoid the worst etiquette mistakes. 

  • 10/10. Getting drunk. 
  • 7/10. Serving Tequila cold.
  • 6/10. Serving an already opened bottle on a formal occasion.
  • 5/10. Getting the salt-tequila-lime sequence wrong.

Additional information for properly serving Tequila

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

The calories in Tequila depend on the variety and alcohol content. On average, Tequila contains about 240 calories per 100 ml (3.5 oz). An individual serving is a shot glass of 45 ml (1.5 oz). It contains 104 calories.

How to buy the best Tequila

A crucial factor in Tequila etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.

Choose the best

There are 2 types of Tequila based on the ingredients. 

  • 100% agave.
  • Mixtos, made from at least 51% agave.

If the label does not state “100% agave”, then it is a mixto.

Then, there are 4 categories of Tequila based on aging. Blanco is the youngest. Then Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo. 

Younger Tequila is clearer in color, harsh to drink, and with strong aromas. Older Tequila is darker in color, smoother, and with a delicate aroma.

Alternatives to Tequila

Substitute young Tequila with another clear distilled spirit. Gin. Vodka. Mezcal. Varieties of unaged white Rum.

Alternative to aged Tequila can be aged Rum or Cachaca.