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Tequila Shot 

Four shot glasses with tequila bottle and bowl of limes with salt

The classic tequila shot is a spirited entrance into any gathering. This Mexican marvel distilled from the blue agave plant holds within its golden depths a vibrant, zesty character that sets the tone for revelry. Beyond its reputation for lively nights, tequila embodies versatility, offering a spectrum of enjoyment.

The tequila shot transcends its simple ingredients. It’s not merely about the lick of salt, the swift intake, or the bite of lime. No, it’s an experience—a ritual of camaraderie and celebration. The salt, tempers the fiery trail of the tequila, while the lime, with its tangy burst, refreshes the palate, leaving a lingering zest that dances with the spirit’s boldness.

What elevates the tequila shot is its unity of tradition and innovation. Amidst the lively atmosphere of bars and festivities, this ritual, known as “lick, sip, suck,” is a vibrant testament to shared moments of joy and connection. Yet, within this classic act lies a gateway to exploring the nuances of tequila itself.


Taking a tequila shot with lime and salt is a popular way to consume tequila. The origin of this tradition is not entirely clear, but there are a few theories. One theory suggests that the salt and lime were used to mask the taste of low-quality tequila. Another theory suggests that the salt and lime were used to enhance the flavor of good-quality tequila.

According to a legend, the practice of drinking tequila with lime and salt started during the Mexican Revolution in the early 1900s. Soldiers were given tequila shots with salt and lime to boost their morale before going into battle. Another story suggests that the tradition started in the United States during the 1930s.

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Whatever the origin, the classic tequila shot is here to stay.

How to Make It

Four shot glasses with tequila bottle and bowl of limes with salt

Tequila Shot

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes


  • 1 ½ oz Tequila (blanco, reposado, or añejo, according to preference)
  • Pinch of Kosher salt
  • Lime wedge


  1. Prepare the salt and lime: Lick the back of your hand and sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt on it. Hold a lime wedge in your other hand.
  2. Pour the tequila: Fill the shot glass with your preferred tequila. Consider starting with blanco tequila for a smoother taste, reposado for complexity, or añejo for a richer, smokier flavor.
  3. Lick the salt: Lick the salt from your hand to reduce the tequila's burn. Alternatively, sprinkle salt on the shot glass rim and lick it off.
  4. Shoot the tequila: Hold the lime wedge in your mouth, gulp the tequila, then suck on the lime to balance the flavor and cleanse your palate. Experiment with holding the lime between fingers or in your mouth.
  5. Chase it with a drink: Follow up with a chaser (pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine, or add a few drops of hot sauce for a spicy kick) to wash away the salt and tequila taste.

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While the traditional way to drink tequila is with salt and lime, there are many variations that you can try. Here are a few options to consider:

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Flavored Salt

Instead of traditional kosher salt, you can experiment with flavored salts to add a unique twist to your tequila shot. Some popular options include smoked salt, chili lime salt, and even bacon salt.


Sangrita is a traditional Mexican drink that is often served alongside tequila. It is a spicy and tangy blend of fruit juices, spices, and sometimes even tomato juice. Sipping on sangrita after taking a shot of tequila can help to cleanse your palate and enhance the flavor of the tequila.


If you prefer a sweeter and less intense way to enjoy tequila, a margarita might be the perfect option. This classic cocktail is made with tequila, lime juice, and triple sec, and can be served on the rocks or blended with ice. You can also experiment with different flavors, such as pineapple or orange juice, or add a splash of grenadine for a pop of color.


If you’re looking for a smokier and more complex flavor, try swapping out tequila for mezcal. Mezcal is made from the agave plant, just like tequila, but is often smoked during the production process, which gives it a unique flavor profile.

High-Quality Tequila

Finally, if you want to truly savor the flavor of tequila, it’s important to choose a high-quality option. Blanco tequila is the purest form of tequila and is perfect for sipping, while reposado tequila is aged for a few months in oak barrels and has a smoother flavor. Añejo tequila is aged for at least a year and has a rich and complex flavor that is perfect for sipping on its own.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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