Right and wrong are relative words, even to an iguana. Cultured and ignorant are the words we use. Now, just to be clear, ignorant and stupid don’t mean the same thing, and although one person can easily be both, ignorant means unaware while stupid means …well, there’s no hope.
Those who fall in the cultured category drink it neat, without adornments. And they don’t slam, neither in the mosh-pit sense nor in the body shot sense (not that we condemn nudity …iguanas believe clothes are overrated.) We sip and so should you. Savor the primal umph of the room-temp tequila for the properties of the agave, where it was grown and for how long, as well as the aging (if it’s a reposado or Añejo.) Blanco is often served chilled because it isn’t aged and thusly stronger, but you miss the entirety of the aroma and flavor by cooling it off. If it takes a long time to make, why not take a long time to enjoy it?
Once you’ve sipped (and can officially call yourself of the cultured variety) you can add the salt and lime. The true Mexican way is with Sangrita, similar to Zing-Zang Bloody Mary mix, a spicy tomato based post-tequila beverage. Then you can tip your sombrero and consider yourself authentic.
So, you may ask, where the hell did the salt and lime come from? Funny enough, Tequila was considered the best medicine for Spanish Influenza in 1930’s Mexico. I knew there was a reason I drank so much during the Swine Flu epidemic last year. Doctors actually prescribed with the salt and lime, and thusly, the tradition of sick drunkenness began. A tradition that has continued until today, as far as this iguana is concerned.
Here are the steps to drink tequila the cultured way.
1. Swirl it (like wine.)
2. Smell it.
3. Swish it in your mouth (like a mouthwash.)
4. Swallow slowly.
5. Keep your mouth closed and exhale through your nose.
Do you feel that subtle (or not-exactly-subtle) burning? Yes that’s right. Liquid culture breathing fire down your throat and through your nostrils.