Tequila: More Than Just a Margarita

Tequila is a guaranteed party starter – both at the bar and in the kitchen. Read on to learn more about this agave-based spirit and how you can make the most of it in your cooking.

The Taste of Tequila

The flavor profile of tequila is generally sweet and earthy with fruity notes, finishing with an astringent bitterness characteristic of alcohol. Subtle differences in its flavor are influenced by the amount of time it was aged and where the agave used to make it was grown.

Agave from the highlands generally yields delicate tequila with slightly sweeter notes while lowland varieties produce tequila with strong herbal and floral undertones.

Types of Tequila 


Aged a maximum of two months, blanco tequila’s short aging time allows the flavor and subtleties of the agave to really shine through.

Image Credit: Flickr user raymondclarkeimages ( CC BY-NC 2.0 )


Joven is primarily made from blanco mixed with aged tequila. This slightly mellows the sharp blanco taste and adds depth to the overall flavor profile.


Reposado tequila is aged in oak barrels for anything between 2 months to a year. This deepens the spirit’s flavor while retaining the taste of fresh agave.

Image Credit: Flickr user Jim Rees ( CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )


Aged in oak barrels for one to three years, añejo tequila develops a dark color and a smooth caramelized taste with hints of vanilla. 

Image Credit: Flickr user Al_HikesAZ ( CC BY-NC 2.0 )

Extra Añejo

Aged beyond three years, extra añejo is the most expensive variety of tequila. It has a silky-smooth finish, rich body, and a deliciously complex flavor profile.

Cooking with Tequila

Image Credit: Flickr user GW Fins ( CC BY 2.0 )

Tequila is a crowd favorite at parties, but it can also be a standout ingredient in the kitchen. Add a glug of tequila to your marinades to enhance the flavors and introduce a hint of sweetness. A little tequila also works wonders in dips. Try adding a splash to your guacamole, or queso dip for nachos, black bean and cheese casserole, and seven layer dip. For dessert, pair tequila with citrusy lime and rich cream for margarita-inspired ice cream or cheesecake. This Key Lime Pie would benefit from a tbsp of tequila for a boost of citrusy flavor. 

Don’t be afraid to bring out the good tequila for these recipes. Its luxuriously complex taste will add instant depth to your dish. And since you’ve already opened the bottle, you’ll have a good excuse to enjoy it with dinner!

Feature Image: Flickr user kevbo1983 ( CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 )

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