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Know Your Tequila

by Fred on 12-26-2008 Category: Articles

Of all the liquors, tequila is perhaps the most misunderstood. Even hardcore alcoholics turn into shivering bitches at the prospect of doing a tequila shot. Well, I won't lie to you. Much of the malignment surrounding tequila has good reason behind it. But like all liquors (except gin), there's a time and place for it, and there's a right way to drink it. Here's a handy guide to some of the major brands of tequila, with comments on the best way to serve it, how it tastes, and what you can expect it to do to you.

La Prima

If you're one of those people who stopped drinking tequila because "it always makes me throw up," this is probably what you drank, you cheap bastard. This is the quality of tequila that people shoot with a salt lick and a slice of lemon, which is kind of like adding a sprig of mint to gasoline. My advice: spend an extra dollar for something that won't make your colon detonate its suicide vest.

Best Served: To prisoners.
Taste: Unknown. By the time you start drinking it, you should have stopped drinking an hour ago.
Effects: There's a slight chance you'll wake up with a switchblade in your hand. Remember to check in your bathroom mirror for fresh bruises.

You want a Pixy Stick to stir it with, you goddamn pansy?


Let's not lie to ourselves. Tarantula is not real tequila. This is how tequila would taste if smurfs ran the distillery. All the fun stuff you get from other tequilas the goosebumps, the explosive temper, the trial got filtered out of it for no good reason, except maybe so coeds could make it to graduation without any disfiguring scars. That's not a good enough reason to ferment cotton candy and call it tequila. Of all the brands listed in this article, Tarantula is least likely to give you a hangover and most likely to reverse the effects of puberty.

Best Served: Soaked into a spring-scented sanitary napkin.
Taste: It doesn't belong in a shot glass so much as it belongs poured over a Belgian waffle.
Effects: If your toenails weren't painted before you drank it, look again.

Don't let the festive sombrero fool you.

El Toro

This is the White Castle of tequilas. You need to be drunk already before it seems like a wise thing to consume. You also need a cast-iron stomach to keep it down. After three or four shots of El Toro, keep in mind that your stomach isn't actually cast from iron. It's just a metaphor, dummy. Despite what your damaged brain is telling you, you're not really bullet-proof. Avoid drinking it around friends you want to keep.

Best Served: By an adulterous wife who knows she deserves what's coming.
Taste: The sweat of three hundred years of Mexican child labor.
Effects: Even in best-case scenarios, you'll probably wake up with all your shirt buttons missing and a switchblade in your hand.

Monte Alban

Technically, Monte Alban is a mezcal, not a tequila. If you don't know the difference, congratulations, you're not from Oaxaca. I decided to include it here because it's commonly known as "the tequila with the worm in it." It's made from Agave cactus, and the first time you drink it, you'll swear they forgot to remove the thorns. Stupid brave people like to eat the worm. Pity them deeply.

Best Served: In celebration of a stay of execution.
Taste: You'll become acutely aware of every inch of your intestine.
Effects: You're extremely likely to lose the right to vote. Also, the switchblade thing.

Tres Generaciones

This is a tequila that deserves wider recognition. Unfortunately, it suffers from the same marketing problem as many other ethnic delicacies, like gyros and fajitas: no two white people have ever pronounced it the same way. If you try to order it in a dance club, be prepared to yell it to the bartender at least eight times before being told they don't stock it. If you find a bar that actually stocks it, prepare to become someone you've never met before.

Best Served: In a glass. Any other answer is a lie propagated by the Betty Ford industrial complex.
Taste: Buttery, with just a hint of a Duracell aftertaste.
Effects: You'll still wake up with a switchblade, but it will be of superior craftsmanship.

Pictured: the improper way to drink Cuervo. Not pictured: three hours worth of Old Country Buffet forcefully ejected into a bathtub.


Also known as Old Faithful. It's the one brand of tequila that you're guaranteed to find anywhere that serves liquor. The shittiest bar on the planet has a bottle of Cuervo in it. The second shittiest even has a bottle of Cuervo Gold. Shakespeare was thinking about drinking Cuervo when he wrote, "To be now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a beast." If you drink it more than once a week, you are, by textbook definition, a fucking monster.

Best Served: A few minutes before the bouncer decides to make an example of you.
Taste: This is how your mouth atones for its sins.
Effects: If you're a woman, irresponsible sex. If you're a man, irresponsible sex with a switchblade.

Of course, these aren't the only brands of tequila available. I sampled a a few others, but time was a factor in completing this article, so I had to do all my research in one night. My thoughts on the rest of the brands are, uh, currently unavailable, but I might be able to deduce enough for a followup article from the security tapes after the judge releases them from evidence.