HOLY guacamole!

The Mexican town of Tequila is home to more than 1,000 brands of tequila. Just like the rule that champagne can only be produced in its home region of France, 100% agave tequila can only be produced from the Weber blue agave plant found close to that part of Mexico.

As the Americas’ first distilled drink, dating back to the early 1500s, tequila’s history is as long and rich as the drink itself. The state of Jalisco, to the west of Mexico, is a protected World Heritage Site and its highlands and valleys are home to vast blue agave fields.

Sensitive like grapes, agaves need the right climate and soil for their thick, spiky blue-grey leaves to grow, and take a minimum of seven to eight years to mature and produce their distinctive taste and bite.

With distilleries and haciendas producing three different styles of tequila: blanco, reposado and anjeo, the wheel of flavours can turn from peppery, herbal and floral to smooth, sweet and citrusy.

And while Mexico’s national drink is famously enjoyed neat in a shot glass with salt and a lime wedge, the following margarita recipes include ’ritas that are fresh, tangy and elegant with just the right amount of sweetness.

Part of the Casa Herradura portfolio, and the number one-selling tequila in Mexico, El Jimador Tequila Blanco (£14 from £18.35, until July 24, 70cl, Waitrose) is an easy-mixing tequila that fires up the mouth with a citrus sweetness, and it’s unbeatable quality at the price.

To serve it like a pro, run a wedge of lime around the rim of a cocktail glass, dip the rim into a saucer of salt, shake off any excess and chill in the freezer before shaking.


45ml El Jimador Blanco, 15ml Triple Sec, 15ml lime juice

Half fill a shaker with ice, add the ingredients and shake well. Strain into a margarita glass rimmed with salt (optional), and garnish with a lime wedge.

A favourite in swish hotel bars, Patron Silver (£43.29, 70cl, Waitrose) is the top-selling ultra-premium tequila in the world. Hand-selected and distilled in small batches, it’s a soft and sweet peppery blanco that can be sipped neat or mixed.


45ml Patron Silver, 15ml orange liqueur, orange juice, juice of half a lime, sweet and sour mix

Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add Patron Silver, orange liqueur, orange juice, lime juice, and sweet and sour mix. Shake well, strain, and serve in a martini glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Another combination of sweetness and pepper, Don Julio Blanco (£44.49, 70cl, www.thedrinkshop.com) has a vanilla character with a delicate herbal note and hails from agave plants that can be aged up to 13 years. Best served on its own or in a margarita, here’s a sweet tip for the recipe below.

Note to self: Agave syrup can be found in the health food aisle of major supermarkets, and works as a sugar substitute if you find a recipe too tart; or if it’s too sweet, add more lime.