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Drinking Tales

How to take a shot of tequila.

Taking a shot is bold, exhilarating and dehydrating. We’ll teach you to shoot tequila like a pro and then explore what else this great spirit offers.

When should I take a shot of Tequila?

Maybe Jimmy Buffet is on your front lawn and won’t leave until you take a shot with him. Regardless of the situation, a tequila shot can be a downright flavorful experience if you do it right. We’ll give you a step-by-step guide to help you and your friends nail it. Afterwards we’ll give you some ideas to potentially put your tequila to better use.

How much alcohol is in a shot?

Most tequila is 40% alcohol. A 1.5 oz shot of tequila roughly equals 12 oz of 4.4% ABV beer, so it’s certainly a commitment.

Tequila shot logistics.

Housekeeping first: dismiss your car keys for the evening, because you won’t be driving anywhere. Check your schedule; ideally you have tomorrow off.

Eat a nice meal; shots and empty stomachs are natural enemies and you’re about to down the booze equivalent of a 12 oz beer.

What's the best tequila for shots?

Pick your poison – or something a little better than that. We like to go with full 100%  agave for our tequila shots. You don’t have to break the bank to do this, either. Jose Cuervo, the best-selling brand, labels their 100% agave tequila as “Tradicional” and they’re pretty affordable. Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver is smooth, has nice fruity, citrusy agave flavor and goes down easy. Cuervo’s Traditional Reposado is briefly aged (reposado) for a bit of added oaky character, so it’s more complex and has better cocktail versatility. If  you’re ready to graduate from Cuervo, Camarena and Hornitos are a great blanco and reposado step up, respectively.   You could amble into Patrón or Casamigos territory, but keep in mind that super high-end tequilas are generally reserved for sipping, not shooting.


Prep your shot and chaser. 1.5 oz of tequila goes into a shot glass. Chasers are usually a lemon or lime wedge, but you should also have a Modelo nearby. Grab a salt shaker or one of those little paper salt packets (aren’t you glad you didn’t throw it away?)

Lick your newly-washed hand where the thumb and pointing finger meet and sprinkle a bit of salt on it. The salt will naturally enhance the flavor.

Hold your lemon/lime wedge in the same hand that now has a salty patch on it. Take a deep breath and deliver a toast worthy of this momentous occasion.

Lick the salt off your hand; don’t lick anyone else’s hand. Cheers!

¡Take That Shot!

Quickly follow that up by downing the shot of tequila in one motion.

Quickly follow that up by sucking on the lemon/lime wedge.

Feel the burn. This was the plan, right? A nice Mexican lager like Modelo helps put the fire out and pairs well with tequila’s floral sweetness, so have one on standby for slow sipping.

Chill out. Remember that it’s not going to take effect immediately, but it definitely will!

Nail the dismount: Don’t repeat. Drink a good amount of water as the night goes on or you may end up feeling drier than the Jalisco desert tomorrow.

Tequila shots 2.0

Perhaps you found that shot to be a bit anticlimactic – or at least kind of brief. You have every right to add things to your shot without making a full cocktail; you should be enjoying it, not simply enduring it. The quickest way to start riffing on the standard tequila shot is with liqueurs. Liqueurs will add flavor – and vowels – to your tequila shooter. One thing that we enjoy adding is lychee liqueur. It’s sweet and has some tropical pineapple character that goes well with tequila. Shake the lychee with tequila and ice at a 50/50 ratio and you’re all set for a wackily different shot.

What’s A Good Juice To Blend With Tequila Shots?

You don’t need a master’s in mixology to enhance the standard tequila shot. Juices and syrups can provide additional sweetness, acidity and complexity without adding alcohol. A splash of pineapple juice mixed into your shot will add tropical complexity and acidity. Grenadine, a pomegranate simple syrup that has nothing to do with grenades, adds unique pomegranate flavor while also cutting the burn of the spirit. Add orange juice and a touch of your favorite spice (ancho chile powder, hot sauce, etc.) to this combo and you’ve basically got yourself a riff on a sangrita shot.

Tequila cocktails

All the shots we listed above can scale up to full-fledged cocktails to the point that you might phase out shots altogether. Tequila pairs quite well with all things citrusy, culminating in the famous tequila sunrise, which incorporates grenadine, OJ, and cherry/orange slices for garnish. That’s a slam dunk, but tequila can be more versatile. You can pair sour mixes, jalapeno pepper slices and even cold brew coffee. If you want to get really crafty, we recommend searching for “tequila-soaked watermelon” instructions.

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