Everyone has at least one story about their adventures with tequila, whether it’s the raging hangover or the slammer that went wrong. But tequila is an intrinsic part of Mexican culture and deserves further investigation. Producing tequila is an art form, so a tequila tasting is an ideal way to do justice to this quintessential Mexican drink. Here are 4 of the top tequila tasting experiences you’ll find in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean.
But first, what is tequila?
It’s worth clarifying what tequila actually is, as it’s often confused with mezcal, a similar, but by definition, different drink.
Tequila can only be made in clearly defined areas in five of the Mexican states: Jalisco (where the majority of tequila is made), as well as parts of Guanajuato, Tamaulipas, Michoacan, and Nayarit.
Also, tequila can only be made from the blue agave plant. The liquor that’s produced from any of the other 165 types of agave cannot be classed as tequila. Pretty exclusive, huh?
Now, let’s look at those tequila tasting experiences.
Tequila Academy, Playa del Carmen
The Tequila Academy is a well-respected establishment keen to share the tradition of tequila production and the flavor of some of the finest tequilas around.
Tequila Academy will do an in-venue private tasting if you’re renting a vacation home. Not only that, but you can also hire a chef who’ll whip up a delicious meal to accompany your drinks. If you prefer a group tasting, you can join the team in their picturesque Playa del Carmen location at the rooftop pool of the Be Playa hotel – one of the many quality hotels and resorts in Playa del Carmen.
It’s a great idea for a bachelor or bachelorette party, with add-ons available, including additional premium tequilas or a mezcal package, so you can compare the flavors of these two classic Mexican drinks.
Cost: from 1,000 MXN per person
Tequila Tasting in Casa Mission, Cozumel
If you’re staying on the diver’s paradise island of Cozumel, there’s a tequila tasting experience that might just be perfect – a free tasting offered at one of the island’s most popular restaurants, Casa Mission. During a brief introduction to Mexico’s national drink, you’ll get to sample 8 different kinds of tequila, including favorites like Anejo, Reposado, and Blanco, all of which can be purchased onsite.
And once the tasting is done, why not lengthen your stay with lunch at the beautifully restored Casa Mission hacienda, whose menu includes traditional Mexican delicacies like the delicious sopa de lima (lime soup).
Cost: Free (lunch costs extra)
Another tequila tasting opportunity can be found in the beach town of Puerto Morelos, around 30 minutes south of Cancun.
Here, you can join a tequila expert at La Sirena hotel’s rooftop terrace to learn the back story of tequila, how it’s produced, and – usefully – which type you should drink to avoid a hangover.
Alongside your drinks, an in-house chef creates snacks that will pair perfectly with each tequila, which you can enjoy at your leisure as you take in the beach and ocean views from this prime hotel location.
Cost: from 120 USD per person
Tequila Tour in the Mayan Jungle
If you’re staying in the vicinity of Tulum, this private tequila tasting tour offers a great combination of activities. Your tequila tasting will be combined with either a visit to one of the area’s most famous Mayan ruins at Tulum, or swimming and snorkeling in a unique natural phenomenon of the Yucatan, an underground swimming hole called a cenote.
Either one of these experiences will build your appetite for the main event, which is an educational tasting of the main kinds of tequilas, including Blanco, Reposado, Anejo, and Extra Anejo, as well as a couple of mezcals for good measure. The tour also includes transportation to and from your hotel, plus lunch at a local restaurant.
Cost: from 120 to 164 USD per person depending on group size
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