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Tequila is one of the most popular alcoholic spirits in the world. It’s as complex as the finest Scotches and whiskeys, meant to be sipped and savored neat or with a splash of water or ice. Yet many people simply toss it back in shots or down it in sweet or spicy margaritas.

If you wish your friends and loved ones could learn to appreciate tequila as much as you do, it’s time to host a tequila tasting.

From the type of tequila to use to the glasses to serve it in to how to teach the proper tasting techniques, here’s how to host the ultimate tequila tasting party.

Choose the Right Tequila

If you want to host the ultimate tequila tasting, provide your guests with blanco, reposado, añejo, and extra añejo samples from an additive-free brand.

Additive-free tequila contains nothing but agave, water, and yeast. It is tequila in its most authentic form.

To get the most out of the tasting, avoid sampling brands with additives that mask the flavor, change the aroma, and alter the color of the spirit. Additive-free tequila allows all the complex flavors and aromas to shine and provides for a more authentic tasting experience.

Select the Proper Glassware

The best way to enjoy tequila is in a tequila flute.

Similar to champagne flutes, tequila flutes have elongated vessels and a slender stem. The stem allows you to hold the glass in a way that your hands won’t alter the temperature of the spirit. The shape of the vessel allows for swirling and forces the aromas upwards towards the nose, providing for the best sniffing experience.

The Reidel Ouverture Tequila Glass, which has been designated as the official tequila glass by the CRT, is the preferred choice of tequila connoisseurs around the world.

For people who want to taste but not consume, consider setting your table with spitting vessels as well.

Provide Palate Cleansers

Set your table with plenty of bottles of water. Everyone should drink water before the tasting begins and after sampling each expression in preparation for the next one.

Educate Your Guests on the Various Tequila Expressions

Unless you’re doing a tasting with other agave connoisseurs, it’s best to educate your guests with some details about the various expressions they’re about to enjoy.

You don’t have to give a full history lesson on agave cultivation and distillation, but you might want to point out a few things that make tequila such a unique spirit:

  • Blue Weber agave plants take a minimum of five years to ripen
  • After the agave hearts are cooked, the juice is distilled twice (or more)
  • Blanco can be bottled immediately after distillation
  • Reposado, añejo, and extra añejo are aged — the deeper the color, the longer it’s been aged

As the tasting progresses and everyone starts sampling and making observations, you can offer up more information, such as why certain types of oak barrels may lend a butterscotch note to an aged tequila or why a clear blanco feels crisp with citrus notes.

Fill the Glasses

Set out four glasses per guest and pour each of the four different expressions from clear (blanco) to dark (extra añejo). One ounce per glass is typical for a tasting. Line the glasses up like a flight, according to aging, so that everyone can see how the color deepens with oak barrel aging.

Walk Your Guests Through the Proper Tasting Techniques

When it’s time to start tasting, walk your guests through the proper steps:

  • Observe the color in each glass
  • Swirl to see its viscosity and how it forms legs in the glass
  • Tilt each glass to its side and sniff to enjoy the complex aromas


Once you’ve observed and sniffed each expression, it’s time to taste.

Take a small sip while inhaling through the nose. Deep inhalation is not necessary — tequila is 80 proof alcohol, and inhaling too deeply can unnecessarily overpower the senses.

Before swallowing, exhale through the mouth to experience how it hits your palate.

Discuss the Experience

Encourage guests to discuss what they’ve observed and tasted, either after each expression or at the end of the tasting. It can be helpful to provide tasting note cards so that everyone can record their own observations while sniffing and sipping each variety.

Allow everyone at the table to comment on their experience, including the notes they tasted, how each type of tequila hit their palate, and whether they enjoyed that variety. The best tastings are informative and entertaining, and they can feel more like a party and less like an educational experience when everyone is given the opportunity to discuss their own perspectives.

Elevate Your Tasting with Food Pairings

If you want to host a tequila tasting that feels like a party, serve food! From oysters to fish or beef tacos to dark chocolate, there are all sorts of snacks, appetizers, and small plates you can serve to complement and enhance the flavors of various tequila expressions.

In Conclusion

To host a memorable, informative, and fun tasting, choose top-quality additive-free tequila. Set your table with the proper glassware, water to cleanse the palate, and tasting note cards for people to record their observations. Give brief yet informative instructions on how to properly observe, swirl, sniff, and sip.

Create a great atmosphere and make it a fun night and you just might turn friends who normally don’t drink tequila into lifelong fans, just like you.