National Tequila Day
This iconic Mexican spirit is the star of many famous cocktails and pairs well with a variety of foods. Salud!
Mexicans like to celebrate National Tequila Day, and so do a lot of other people all around the world! Although tequila can only be made in a few regions in Mexico, National Tequila Day can (and should!) be celebrated by just about anyone, anywhere!
History of National Tequila Day
Derived from the blue agave plant, humans have been making something like tequila for at least a couple of thousand years. As early as 150 B.C., a predecessor of tequila, called ‘pulque’ was believed to have been made by civilizations predating the ancient Aztecs.
When making tequila, the hearts of the agave plant (called piñas) are removed and cooked, then they are ground and fermented for anywhere from a few months to three years. Like wine, the type of soil the plant is grown in can impact the taste of the final product. Unlike wine or other drinks made from fruit, once an agave plant is used to make tequila, it cannot be reused.
To qualify as “tequila”, at least 51% of the product must be derived from the blue agave plant that is prevalent in Mexico. Today, however, many manufacturers of the drink have much higher standards and will make it from a full 100% blue agave. These versions of tequila are typically higher quality and will usually be more expensive than the mixed versions.
Modern-day tequila is like a few other alcoholic beverages (champagne, cognac or bourbon) in that it can only be named “tequila” if it is made in a certain place. In the case of tequila, this place is Mexico. While specifically most tequilas originate from Jalisco, other qualifying regions include Michoacán, Tamaulipas, Guanajuato, or Nayarit.
National Tequila Day is the celebration of everything to do with this classic drink, whether it is enjoyed straight or as part of a tasty cocktail. In 2018, National Tequila Day was officially recognized by the Mexican government, and now everyone wants to celebrate–not just today but all year round!
How to Celebrate National Tequila Day
Of course, the celebration of National Tequila Day should include enjoying this tasty beverage in some form or another–whether with a shot-style taster or having it in a mixed drink. Some other ideas for enjoying this day include:
Try Out a Tequila Cocktail
Margaritas are only the very beginning when it comes to enjoying cocktails made from this tasty alcoholic beverage. There is so much more to be explored when making cocktails with tequila! For instance, whether ordering at a bar or making them at home, try out these interesting ideas in celebration of National Tequila Day:
- Spiced Paloma. This refreshing cocktail uses tequila, grapefruit juice, grapefruit zest, jalapeno juice, lime, and is garnished with spicy gummy candies! Some people also like to salt this rim of the glass for this drink.
- Tereman Avo-Colada. Definitely, a unique one, this “drink” (some might call it a snack!) channels the flavor of Mexican food using half an avocado, lime juice, agave nectar, coconut yogurt, and tequila. Muddle, shake and serve over ice topped with sparkling mineral water.
- Ponche Caballero. Using pineapple juice, tamarind nectar, agave nectar, fresh lime juice, bitters and (of course) tequila, this tasty beverage is shaken and served over ice with a pineapple garnish.
- Spring Flora. Tasty and fruity, this floral drink contains Aperol, lime juice, watermelon juice, hibiscus syrup, rosewater, bitters and tequila. For an added treat, it can be garnished with grated chocolate!
Learn Something New About Tequila
While celebrating National Tequila Day, try sharing these fun facts to get the conversation started:
- More than 300 million agave plants are grown and harvested each year to produce tequila throughout Mexico.
- Tequila can be used to create small, artificial diamonds–which are often used in the electronics industry.
- Regular agave and blue agave plants have different flavors. Standard agave is used in sweeteners but not in tequila.
- The plant from which tequila is derived (Agave tequilana weber) can grow as large as 7 feet tall and may take from 8 to 12 years to become mature plants. This plant actually looks a lot like a cactus but it is actually a succulent that has a close relationship to the lily.
Head Over to a Mexican Restaurant
It shouldn’t be hard to find a Mexican restaurant that is ready to celebrate National Tequila Day with individuals or groups! Grab some nachos or enchiladas and enjoy some margaritas or other cocktails made with tequila.
It’s likely that some Mexican restaurants or bars will be prepared for National Tequila Day with some celebratory drink discounts, appetizer deals or Happy Hours tequila specials. Some examples of deals for the day might include $10 special margaritas or 50% off premium tequila shots. These are some American restaurants that have offered special National Tequila Day deals in the past (check online or call a local spot for this year’s deals):
- Blue Mesa. Try a two-pack of Fajitas and ‘Ritas for $30.
- Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen. In past years, this restaurant/bar has offered a Texas Margarita for $4.99 on National Tequila Day.
- Chili’s. Known for their Tex-Mex fare, this bar/restaurant has offered $5 special Margaritas in the past to celebrate the day.
- Del Taco. They don’t serve tequila, but they still celebrate the day by offering a free snack-sized guacamole serving.
Create a National Tequila Day Themed Playlist
What’s National Tequila Day without the right soundtrack to listen to while enjoying all things Mexican?! Get that Tequila Party vibe going with a special playlist just for the day. The only way to start it off would be with the classic 1958 instrumental by The Champs, “Tequila” and then go from there with these songs and various other Tequila-themed favorites:
- You and Tequila, 2010 by Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter
- Tequila, 2018 by Dan + Shay
- How Much Tequila Did I Drink Last Night, 1984 by Steve Goodman
- Tequila Sunrise, 1973 by The Eagles
Learn About Margaritas
Let’s face it, pretty much everyone knows that tequila is often synonymous with drinking a margarita, so it might be a good idea to take a look at this delicious frozen favorite.
There is no definitive answer as to who really invented the Margarita, but interesting stories abound. One of the earliest stories tells of a wealthy Dallas socialite inventing the drink at a Christmas party in Acapulco in 1948. Tommy Hilton of the Hilton Hotel chain reportedly attended the party and took the recipe home to serve at his hotels.
Another suggests that it is merely based on an American drink called the Daisy, which was made with brandy instead of tequila. The Spanish word for “Daisy” is “Margarita”; hence the name.
In any case, this popular drink, made with tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice, plus the trademark salt rim, will bring a touch of the tropics to any get-together. Of course, Margaritas can also be made in all kinds of different creative concoctions, including Watermelon Jalapeno, Smoking Blackberry Sage, Prickly Pear, Spicy Grapefruit and many more! Cheers! It’s time to enjoy National Tequila Day. (And don’t lose that shaker of salt!)