How to Sip/Taste Tequila

Tequila Glass With Lime

Most Americans’ experience with tequila is limited to margaritas and shots, but neither gives a full picture of the alcohol’s complexity. Tequila used in margaritas typically comes from a blended product that contains a 50-50 mix of distilled agave and another source, while shot glasses don’t allow drinkers to taste the alcohol in its entirety. Understanding how to properly taste tequila, from what glass to use to how to properly sip it, is crucial to truly enjoy it. Here, Columbia Distributing offers a variety of tequila tips so you can fully experience the popular spirit.

Choose the Right Glass

Before you can begin tasting tequila, you must ensure you have the proper glass. As mentioned, shot glasses are a popular choice for those who want to shock their senses, but they don’t capture the complexity of tequila. Instead, choose a long and narrow champagne flute or a flat-bottomed rocks glass.

Observe the Color

Once you’ve poured the tequila, consider how it looks. There are three major types of this alcoholic beverage, including blanco, reposado, and añejo, and each has a different color and consistency. It is important to know the differences before you start tasting tequila, and these are detailed as follows:


Blanco is bottled directly after the distillation process and retains most of the pure blue agave flavor. It is often used for mixing and has a crystal-clear appearance.


Meaning rested in English, this tequila sits in storage vats for several months to a year before being bottled. Used for both sipping and cocktails, reposado has a golden color.


Añejo (aged) tequila settles for over a year before being bottled and achieves an oaky flavor and tawny or amber color. Due to its rich and refined nature, añejo is ideal for sipping.

Experience the Aromas

Once you’ve taken a look at the tequila, swirl it around and take a sniff. Remember that tequila is generally 80 proof, so you shouldn’t directly inhale it and overwhelm your sense of smell. Instead, open your mouth slightly and whiff gently as you float the opening of the glass back and forth under the tip of your nose. You can also tip the glass a bit so that the tequila is as close to the rim as possible and take gentle sniffs from the bottom. This method allows you to identify different aromas. Then, move up to the middle and note fruity, floral smells.

Go for the Taste

Now it’s time for the big finale: taste. However, don’t judge the spirit by the first sip you take, as your taste buds need a few sips to get used to the taste. Soon, you’ll notice softer and more complex flavors that might’ve not been immediately evident. 

To enhance the sipping experience, try this trick. Not only will this ignite the taste buds, but it will also soften any burn:

  1. Inhale before the first sip.
  2. Sip but don’t swallow yet.
  3. Inhale through your nose with the tequila in your mouth.
  4. Swallow it over your tongue.
  5. Exhale out your mouth.

Stocking up on Tequila with Columbia Distributing

These tequila tips turn fans of the beverage into connoisseurs and allow them to host vibrant tasting parties. When customers grow in the knowledge of tequila, they’ll keep coming back for more, so you’ll want to be the store or establishment they go to get it. Serving retailers in California, Oregon, and Washington for over 80 years, Columbia Distributing offers a wide variety of high-quality alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages with outstanding customer service and quick delivery. Contact us today to learn more about the tequila and other spirits we offer.