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In Defense of Tequila

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My fellow Americans, let’s talk about tequila.

On this the eve-eve of the greatest Mexican holiday none of us can actually explain with any point of historical reference whatsoever, I felt it a fitting time to clear up any confusion about an iconic liquor we all know and hate: tequila.

Tequila doesn’t have a great reputation. It’s the go-to liquor for wide-eyed underaged Spring Breakers out of the country for the first time with dad’s credit card. It’s the afterthought in a sticky-sweet neon green bucket-sized beverage. It’s an excuse to lick a total stranger’s body. It’s just not good, not good at all. Or so the masses say.

I’m here to tell you tequila can be classy as hell if only we’d stop ruining it. So hear me out and give it a chance.

And for the record I LOVE tequila and am two margaritas and a glass of wine deep into my Friday night so this should be just delightful. FIRST OF ALL…

Tequila Didn’t Do You Wrong in College; You Did Tequila Wrong in College – 98% of tequila haters have visited Senor Frogs at least twice between the ages of 18 and 21. (It’s science. Look it up.) It is not tequila’s fault that your first experience with it was through a funnel. If this was you, your challenge is to go to a bar that doesn’t have any neon signs or college sports paraphernalia anywhere, order the most expensive tequila they have on the rocks, and savor that shit.

Cheaper is Never Better – I get it. I love cheap things. I was recently described as frugal. I cringed and then promptly clipped a coupon. The thing about being cheap is you’ve got to know when to turn it down, and tequila-drinking will forever and always be an opportunity to TURN UP. So suck it up and pay an extra damn $10 for a decent drink or pay the price of a miserable hangover for the next two days. The choice is yours. (House is never the answer.)

Shots are a Terrible Idea – For some reason shots of tequila are totally a thing around 1am when people are starting to fade and the options are (1) go to bed, or (2) throw up in a few minutes. It escalates quickly. Taking tequila shots is like a first-class ticket to Blackout Town, and I do not recommend it ever. If you’ve only ever had tequila in shot form (likely followed by running your tongue across a perfect stranger’s body, guh-ROSS), your job is to never do that again.

Margaritas Are Not Green – I don’t know who came up with this idea that a margarita should be neon green and the size of a kiddie pool, but it was definitely some American guy named Frank. Do you know why you feel like shit after drinking one of those kiddie pool-sized glow-in-the-dark behemoths? Because you just consumed like 2,000 calories and 150 grams of sugar and probably a colony of sea monkeys. It has very little to do with the fact that there were maybe 2 ounces of tequila in the whole thing. If you’ve only ever ordered a margarita at a restaurant where the menu comes with pictures of all of the food, your job is to make your own margarita at home. The right way. (See below.)

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A Real Margarita

  • 2 limes
  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar
  • ice
  • sea salt

Juice limes into a cocktail shaker. Add tequila, agave, and ice, and shake aggressively. Rub a lime along the rim of a glass and dip it into salt (optional). Pour frothy, icy, perfect margarita into salted glass and rejoice. Tequila is redeemed.


And that, my friends, is that. Viva la tequila. Feliz Cinco de Mayo. Stop drinking shitty cheap tequila.


  1. TaMo TaMo

    Blood orange margaritas from Mixteca are the absolute best. This restaurant makes their lime margaritas with 6 limes per drink. Limes were in the news this week. Prices will be going up………unfortunate, but you can use this as an excuse to switch to blood orange. I, too, have a “no shots policy”. Say that up front and you never have to participate. It’s never too late to impart motherly advice. : )

    • I noticed this lime shortage when paying $1/lime. I was like, “Are you sure about that??”

  2. rawsugarfig rawsugarfig

    Hooray! Long live tequila! !

  3. TaMo TaMo

    No Caturday two weeks in a row. Are they striking for higher wages?

  4. Thank you. As a tequila lover myself I barely order margaritas out. I can smell sweet/sour mix a mile away. Gross. Fresh lime juice, agave, and tequila is where it’s at.

  5. Agreed.
    And also – no gold tequilia EVER. Silver. Clear. These are the words you are looking for.

  6. I have had my fair share of mix margaritas in restaurants but I’ve also had amazing fresh and homemade ones too. I went out with friends on my birthday and had a fresh watermelon margarita and I AM STILL THINKING ABOUT IT. That was back in February.

    I’m with you on no shots.

    • That sounds awesommmmme.

  7. Sylvia Sylvia

    Gracias Katie for your public service announcement. We don’t need no stinkin’ shots, except over the phone with family — if that is your family’s tradition because that never gets old. It’s an event, not a cheap shot (sorry!). For margaritas, save your money and use blanco or plata tequila. For straight tequila (think brandy or old fashioned glasses), go with aged or añejo for the flavor. Viva la raza y Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

    • Straight from the expert!

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