Retire Early Lifestyle
Retirement; like your parents, but way cooler


Retire Early Lifestyle Blog 

Free Newsletter Subscribe/Contact

Advertise on info here

RetireEarlyLifestyle Logo RetireEarlyLifestyle inspirational photo

In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

A Sophisticated Guide to Drinking Tequila

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Whatever it is, tequila probably can't fix it, but it's worth a shot! - Jimmy Buffett

Bottle of Siete Leguas Reposado, Chacala Beach, Nayarit, Mexico

A bottle of Siete Leguas Reposado Premium tequila at Chacala Beach

For most people in the United States and Canada, Tequila is a very misunderstood drink.

Many have images of college spring-break kids shooting shots, chanting “one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, FLOOR!” and wet T-shirt contests, with a headache the next morning. This mental picture usually prevents sophisticated people from pursuing the mysteries and finer pleasures that the National Drink of Mexico offers.

It's understandable.

However, let me help you with this, because there is so much to enjoy about this beverage. If you decide that you want to try tequila gently and possibly include it in your cabinet of fine liquors, take advantage of our simple guide below.

We promise you your world will open.

Only choose 100% Blue Agave tequilas





Simply put, stay away from Mixtos and look for the 100% Agave denotation on the bottle.

A Mixto label might say “made from agave” but it won’t advertise 100% Agave. Mixtos have a lot of additives, other sugars, and impurities and these are the things that will give you a hangover the next morning. Avoid them like the plague.

If it doesn’t say 100% Agave, move on to the next bottle.

Bottle of Ocho Reposado Tequila, La Altena Distillery, Mexico

100% Pure Agave clearly marked on this bottle of Reposado tequila

Three main styles – Blancos, Reposados, Anejos

Blancos: Generally, blanco tequilas are not aged, and have a fiery taste to them. Since all fine tequilas are meant to be sipped (like a fine cognac), if you are not inclined to a fiery POW! in the mouth, then for your initial purchase, we recommend that you move straight to the Reposados or an Anejo, for the smoother and sweeter flavor. As you mature in your knowledge of how to enjoy tequila, you will begin to recognize the sublime flavors offered in fine blancos.

Reposados: These tequilas are aged in American or French white oak barrels for up to one year. Because of this aging, the intense fire of the drink has been somewhat mellowed, and you will taste the characteristics of the barrel. Most Reposados will have a golden color to them and a pleasing, slightly sweet flavor.

Anejos: Tequila that has been aged in a barrel for up to 3 years has been softened. It also will carry the distinguishing characteristics of the wooden barrel in the liquid and will be slightly sweet as well.

Yes, there are Extra Anejos, Crystalinos and Single Barrel Tequilas, but this is a simple guide. Start with the above flavors and move on from there.

Many bottles of tequila at the National Museo de Tequila, Tequila, Mexico

Many styles, many names, many bottles of tequila. All of these are premium 100% agave tequila

Sip / Don’t Shoot it down

Tequila is made from an indigenous plant unique to Mexico called agave.

The soil in which the agave grows affects the taste of the end product. It can be sweet, spicy, fruity, earthy or woody. Also, if the agave has met with drought or weather variations, that can also affect the plant and therefore, the taste. This is similar to grape production for wine making.

Another most important ingredient in tequila-making is the water used to produce it. We have spoken to Master Distillers who have shown us the different flavors produced by using rain water, well water and spring water. The agave can be the exact same plants grown side by side, but with the water difference, the tequila is transformed.

Producing tequila is a centuries-old tradition handed down from generation to generation, and each distillery has their own way of accenting the flavor of their particular brand.

If you shoot down tequila in one open-throated gulp, you miss all the delicious complexity of the agave flavor. You are also disrespecting the centuries of hand-crafted quality and experience that the Master Distiller has brought to his tequila.

Sipping is recommended.

Tequila tasting at La Altena Distillery, Arandas, Mexico

A typical tequila tasting at La Altena Distillery, Arandas, Mexico

First find a small wine glass, champagne flute or a brandy snifter.

Pour about an ounce and a half of the tequila of your choice into this “copa” and swirl it around. “Nose” your tequila and try to pick up aromas that have been released into the glass. Take a small sip and let it roll around your tongue, swallow, and then breathe out gently. The breathing out will also enhance your tasting of this fine essence, and it will disperse any “fire”.

The first sip might be a little intimidating and you could feel an alcohol burn. No worries. The original sip will coat your tongue and warm up your mouth.

The tequila will change flavor as you continue to sample, and as the air mixes with the drink. Swirl your liquid around in the globe again and from time to time. As you nip the liquid delicately, the aromas and sweetness will begin to reveal themselves to you.

Companions to your tequila

Of course, tequila can be enjoyed alone, without food or snacks. But sometimes when you are having a gathering, it can be fun to have some food to contrast with the flavor of the drink.

In the olden days, Mexicans would slice a certain fresh cheese and nibble on this as they sipped their tequila. Today, a glass of sangrita can be an accompaniment to your drink and there are various recipes you can find online.

tequila aging in barrels, La Altena Distillery, Arandas, Mexico

   Tequila aging in American white oak barrels

When we have visited quality distilleries, items like hot, spicy green olives have been recommended in between sips. Personally, we enjoy various sliced cheeses, dips, crunchy chips or crackers, and even fruit, chocolate or a favorite sweet can be an attractive partner to tequila. 





Summing it up

In general, we suggest that you savor this fine drink, swirling it around in your copa, looking for the “legs” on the sides of the glass. Take a bit of cheese, an olive or a slice of apple and enjoy the contrast. “Nose” your tequila and sip again.

You may find that the taste of the tequila will enamor you over time, and now that you know how to appreciate the National Drink of Mexico, this addition to your liquor cabinet will always be a topic of conversation.

If you want to know how your bottle of tequila rates with experts and serious tequila drinkers, download the Tequila Matchmaker app. It’s the most extensive tequila database to date, and you’ll meet others who are connoisseurs of this drink. You'll never stop discovering new things about tequila and this makes it lots of fun!

For more information on tequila, click here

For more information, photos and stories about Mexico, click here

VIDEOS, VIDEOS, VIDEOS! See Mexico for yourself! Beaches, Bars, Babes, Great Food, Live Music.

Visit our book Store

About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on

Trending on Retire Early Lifestyle


contact Billy and Akaisha at

advertise contact

Your financial independence and travel starts here

Retire Early Lifestyle appeals to a different kind of person – the person who prizes their independence, values their time, and who doesn’t want to mindlessly follow the crowd.

HOME   Book Store


Retire Early Lifestyle Blog      About Billy & Akaisha Kaderli      Press     Contact     20 Questions     Preferred Links    

Retirement     Country Info     Retiree Interviews      Commentary     REL Videos




Subscribe Newsletter