How To Drink A Tequila Shot

Tequila is a popular drink at bars, parties and other social occasions so it's important to know how to drink a tequila shot. While many choose to consume it in cocktails such as a margarita, others like their tequila straight up. One of the most popular ways to consume tequila is in a tequila shot. Some brave souls will consume tequila shots without assistance. Others prefer the "lick, slam, suck" method, which helps defray the harsher taste inherent in cheaper tequilas. This type of shot is also referred to as "training wheels."

Regardless of the type of tequila, do not drink it if you are under 21 or have not made arrangements for a designated driver, especially if you plan to indulge in more than one shot.

To enjoy a tequila shot, you will need:

  • Tequila
  • Shot glass
  • Salt
  • Lime or lemon

The basic steps to drinking a tequila shot in the traditional "lick, slam, suck" method are as follows:

  1. Choose your tequila. This method is usually used for lower quality brands of tequila. If you have a smooth, high-quality tequila, consuming it as a shot is not the best way to enjoy it. Instead, sip your pricey tequila over a period of time to give it the attention it deserves.
  2. Pour a shot. You can use a traditional shot glass, or a caballito, a taller, slimmer shot glass often used in Mexico to serve tequila. If you wish, you can moisten the rim of your shot glasses and rub them in salt instead of taking the salt off your hand.
  3. Prepare your chaser. The chaser is usually a lemon or a lime, though limes are more popular with tequila shots. Cut the lime into quarters.
  4. Lick the space between your thumb and forefinger. This is where you'll put the salt in the next step, and licking the skin helps the salt stick. Alternately, you can use the small indentation near the base of the thumb, where it meets the wrist. This is called the "anatomical snuffbox," and can hold salt for a tequila shot every bit as well as it was once used to hold snuff. (Some variations include performing this step on a pre-selected body part belonging to another person. If you choose this approach, get permission first, and proceed at your own risk.)
  5. Sprinkle salt on your prepared spot. The size of the area you've prepared will determine how much salt will adhere. If the shot glass is already rimmed with salt, you might not need this step.
  6. Ready your lime wedge. Hold the lime wedge in the same hand you have just prepared with your salt. Or, have your chosen companion hold it in her mouth for added entertainment.
  7. Lick the salt. This step is usually done fairly quickly, though if you've opted to place the salt on someone else, you might want to take a little more time with it. The salt helps reduce the burn you'll experience in the next step.
  8. Slam the tequila. The goal here is to drink the whole shot in one swallow. Tip your head back and go for it. Having to stop halfway through the shot isn't nearly as cool.
  9. Suck the lime or lemon. The sourness of the citrus wedge enhances the tequila's flavor. If someone else is holding the wedge for you, be careful not to bite her tongue, as that would be unpleasant for everyone.

These steps can be repeated at will, but be aware that the kind of tequila often used for tequila shots is also the kind of tequila that is likely to create an unpleasant hangover. And again, be sure that you have someone to drive you home or call a cab for you if necessary.

Another way to enjoy a tequila shot is to alternate the tequila with sangrita, a spicy orange and tomato juice drink favored in Mexico. More adventurous souls can try a method favored in Europe, which uses cinnamon and an orange slice instead of salt and lime.

Above all, enjoy the tequila, and be sure to drink responsibly.

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