A whiff of great tequila has the ability to deliver a flurry of wonderful emotions. Bad tequila, however, delivers the opposite.
"Ten years ago, here in Australia, tequila was really only consumed as shots or as a late-night bad decision with salt and lime," says Patron Tequila ambassador Joseph Chisholm. "It was always blamed for killer hangovers, but as luxury brands become more prevalent in the market and people began to understand quality cocktails, we saw an increase in cocktail consumption and tequila experienced a boom."
Whether you're sipping aged tequila neat or using the spirit in a classic cocktail such an Old Fashioned, or a newer one like a Paloma, there's beauty to be found. Give these three options a try.
Patron Reposado, Mexico, $105
Pull the bulbous cork from this beautiful bottle and a wave of aromas hits. Reposado tequila spends between two and 12 months in oak barrels, and the oak here is evident but not overpowering. It's particularly approachable straight and begs to be served in a Paloma. In a cocktail shaker combine 90ml of fresh grapefruit juice, 15ml of agave syrup, 15ml of fresh-squeezed lime juice and 30ml sparkling water with 45ml of tequila and shake. Strain into an ice-filled glass, garnish with a grapefruit wedge and sugar and salt for the rim of the glass. 40 per cent alcohol. Find it at patrontequila.com and bottle shops.
VIVIR Tequila Anejo, Mexico, $105
The bottle looks like a masked bandit and the liquid within is all smooth moves. This tequila anejo was aged for 18 months and made in Jalisco, Mexico. There are distinct caramel notes in the air and across the palate and delightfully spicy finish. Sip it straight (and slow – as you would a whisky) or try it in an espresso martini and party the night away. 40 per cent alcohol. Find it at vivirtequila.com and Liquorland, First Choice and Vintage Cellars.
Lyre's Agave Reserva Spirit, NSW, $44.99
Let's get this straight. There's zero booze in this "spirit". Lyre's Agave Reserva Spirit encompasses the rising popularity of agave-based spirits and the burgeoning zero-alcohol scene, and is as close as you'll get to the real deal, minus the alcohol. Lyre's founder Mark Livings and flavour architect David Murphy spent nearly four years perfecting the recipe. Bang it in a virgin Margarita or Paloma and let the good, hangover-free times roll. 0 per cent alcohol. Find it at lyres.com.au.