Your Guide To National Tequila Day 2023
YOUR GUIDE TO NATIONAL TEQUILA DAY
If you need an extra excuse for a big summer celebration, National Tequila Day is right around the corner. To make the most of this unofficial holiday, we put together a list of everything you need to know, along with some of the best ways to celebrate and appreciate the national liquor of Mexico.
WHEN IS NATIONAL TEQUILA DAY?
In the United States, National Tequila Day takes place annually on July 24th. In 2023, that falls on a Monday, but it’s okay to extend your responsible imbibing to the weekend prior (we support a Tequila weekend). In 2024, the holiday is set on a less fortuitous Wednesday, so take advantage of the weekend proximity while you can!
Mexico has its own National Tequila Day, held on the third Saturday every March.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF TEQUILA
Tequila was by no means the first alcoholic beverage from Mexico. Millenia before people were taking tequila shots at the bar, those in ancient Mesoamerica fermented sap from the agave plant to create a drink called pulque. This milky, viscous liquor started as a sacred drink before becoming more common among laypeople.
In the 1500s, Spanish conquistadors invading Mexico ran out of their own brandy and decided to experiment with making wines from the area’s native plants, including agave. They figured out that they could distill fermented agave into what would later become mezcal, which you can think of as the larger umbrella category of liquor that includes tequila.
Around the year 1600, the first tequila factory was opened by Don Pedro Sánchez de Tagle—in what is now the city of Tequila.
THE HISTORY OF NATIONAL TEQUILA DAY
So where and when did we get National Tequila Day? Unfortunately, we don’t really know! There’s no consensus about who first started it or why it’s held on July 24 in the U.S., and the third Saturday of March in Mexico. We’d like to think the creators just had a little too much fun with the tequila and forgot why they created it on those specific days.
TYPES OF TEQUILA
All tequila comes from the agave plant, but there are different types with their own nuances and details. For the average drinker, you don’t need to fuss about learning these differences, but it can open up your appreciation of the drink while impressing your friends along the way.
The main thing that separates each type is how long each is aged, which affects things like color, flavor, and alcohol content. Generally, the more amber the color, the longer it’s been aged.
- Tequila Blanco - Sometimes called silver tequila, this is an unaged variation that appears clear (or slightly green-tinted) in its bottle and is the most common type of tequila used for margaritas.
- Tequila Reposado - Aged in oak barrels anywhere from two months up to a year, this type has more flavor (spicy or sweet) and kick than unaged tequila.
- Tequila Añejo - Aged in oak barrels for more than a year, añejo (meaning “vintage”) is generally best for sipping neat or as a substitute for recipes that call for brown spirits (like whiskey).
- Extra Añejo - As the name would suggest, these are aged in barrels for more than three years. Like añejo, extra añejo is best appreciated by sipping it neat or on the rocks.
- Tequila Joven - Sometimes called gold tequila, joven (which means “young”) is typically a bottle of tequila blanco mixed with a small amount of aged tequila, but can also get its gold color from additives like caramel syrup.
HOW TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL TEQUILA DAY
Now for the fun part – how to celebrate National Tequila Day. We’ve put together some of our favorite ideas for activities and things to try this year, whether it’s in-person or online.
EAT & DRINK AT HOPDODDY
Hopdoddy has incredible selections of burgers and margaritas, a perfect combination for National Tequila Day. It’s one of the most timeless pairings that you can enjoy on your own or with friends and family. With burger bars across the country (and more opening through 2023), we know our way around good food and drinks.
HOST A TEQUILA TASTING
With all the different types of tequila and a nearly countless number of tequila distilleries, why limit yourself to just one tequila? Invite your friends and family to your home, and ask them to bring along a tequila of their choice. Pour each one into tasting glasses, and see what everyone thinks. You can make it extra official with notecards to add tasting notes and score each sample, or you can hold a vote for favorites among the group.
EXPERIMENT WITH OTHER TEQUILA DRINKS
For most people, tequila either comes neat or in the form of a margarita. We’re not here to disrespect a good margarita, but if you’re looking for something different, there are plenty of other tequila drinks available. Some of our personal favorites include:
- Tequila Sour - sour cocktail and a margarita mix with bitters and egg white foam
- Mexican Mule - variation on the traditional Moscow Mule with tequila instead of vodka
- Envy Cocktail - vibrant tropical-flavored blue drink with blue curaçao and pineapple juice
- Tequila and Coke - not just delicious with rum, try this instead
- Bloody Maria - alternative to Bloody Mary (with tequila and hot sauce instead of vodka)
- Dulce de Tequila - dessert cocktail with cognac and agave nectar for sweetness
USE TEQUILA IN YOUR COOKING
We respect and appreciate tequila as a tasty beverage in cocktails, but it’s also a great ingredient for amateur chefs and culinary adventurers. Incorporate it into marinades and glazes for meat dishes or cook up some margarita-grilled shrimp. Make some tequila sunrise popsicles or a margarita ice cream for a sweet treat to beat the heat.
PLAY DRINKING GAMES
Drinking games almost always make for a good time (or at least good stories). Bringing about endless fun and laughter, drinking games will depend on who you’re with, what you’re doing, and what you’re drinking, but are a perfect way to break the ice or get to know people better. Try something structured like drunk Jenga—writing drinking challenges on various blocks—or a more casual game like “Never Have I Ever” with shots. No matter what type of game you choose, drinking games are sure to make National Tequila Day memorable (or maybe not so memorable depending on how much you drink).
BUILD A TEQUILA DAY PLAYLIST
If you prefer to sit in silence, that’s fine by us, but good tunes set the mood. It can make or break a great time, especially with tequila involved, so we take this very seriously.
You can obviously add your own summery, tequila-adjacent songs, but our essentials for the day include:
- Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville (it’s mandatory)
- The Eagles’ Tequila Sunrise
- Alan Jackson’s It's Five O' Clock Somewhere
- Kenny Chesney’s Summertime
- Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Have You Ever Seen The Rain
- The Cars’ Good Times Roll
FOODS TO PAIR WITH TEQUILA ON NATIONAL TEQUILA DAY
Food and tequila go hand in hand, and there isn’t really a bad pairing. Tequila is surprisingly versatile. If you’re struggling for ideas, we have some combinations for you to try:
- Raw fish - From fish tartare to sashimi to sushi, variations of raw fish are fantastic with a tequila blanco.
- Vegetables - Don’t forget your veggies! Our recommendations include asparagus, green peppers, and tomatillos paired with your favorite tequila blanco.
- Pork - Whether grilled or pulled, pork is a great pairing for a sweeter or spicier tequila reposado, which helps to balance out the fatty goodness that pork has to offer.
- Tacos - while we already discussed Mexican food in general, tacos (and any spicy food for that matter) pair well with a quality tequila joven.
- Chocolate - To finish off with some dessert, consider dark chocolate fudge combined with a tequila añejo for an exceptional sweet treat.
STAY HYDRATED & HAVE FUN
Remember that National Tequila Day is a fun holiday, but it also comes around the hottest part of the year. Stay hydrated and drink responsibly so you can enjoy the day (or days) drinking tequila and spending time with friends and family. Have a great weekend and let us know if you use any of our suggestions! Salud!