Here in Mexico, caballito is a very common word. This “little horse” refers the traditional tall, thin shot glass holding between 1 and 2 ounces of tequila. For sipping, of course. We all know tequila is not to shoot …unless you’ve clearly had way too many and the floor is starting to blur. Or you’re toting a gun.
Little horses got their name because men often found it funny to have their horses piss in each other’s tequilas when they weren’t looking. Just kidding. We only do that in the office. Really the name descends from cuernito, which means “little horn.” They removed the interior of bull or cow horns and cleaned them to make a manly looking chalice of sorts. They didn’t, however, have the option to set it down until the libation had been finished (a sneaky way to get people drunk really fast.) Considering the limited number of horns, there was a slam and pass philosophy.
Man chalice, otherwise known as cuernito
The classic caballito holding the classic Bandera de Mexico Later, the tip was removed so a drinker could take their time, and it was this design that became the modern caballito. They do still make the traditional horn cups and I want to say, as an official statement, that if you drink Blue Iguana Tequila out of one I will consider you a bonafide badass. Just to be clear.
Recently, the CRT decided on a more uppity tequila glass, which resembles a wine glass with the classic tall stem and tapered bowl. Riedel makes the CRT approved version because it “highlights and enhances the characteristics” of a good tequila. Some tequila experts prefer añejos in a snifter because the shape traps the scents more efficiently. While fancy glasses are nice and all, they break a lot easier. Especially if you’re loaded. And down here in Mexico, little has changed. Most still proudly rock the caballito. This iguana is one of them.
For a great source of tequila know-how, visit Ian Chadwick's informative site.