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Everyone has at least one story about their adventures with tequila, whether it’s the raging hangover or the slammer gone bad. But tequila is an integral part of Mexican culture and deserves further investigation. Producing tequila is an art form, so a tequila tasting is a perfect way to do justice to this quintessential Mexican drink. Here are 4 of the best tequila tasting experiences you’ll find in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean.
But first, what is tequila?
It is worth clarifying what tequila actually is, as it is often confused with mezcal, a similar but by definition different drink.
Tequila can only be made in clearly defined areas in five of Mexico’s 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 blue agave. Liquor produced from any of the other 165 types of agave cannot be classified as tequila. Pretty exclusive, huh?
Now, let’s look at these tequila tasting experiences.
Tequila Academy, Playa del Carmen
The Tequila Academy is a highly respected establishment eager to share the tradition of tequila production and the flavor of some of the best tequilas around.
Tequila Academy will host a private tasting on site if you rent a vacation home. Not only that, but you can also hire a chef who will whip up a delicious meal to go along with your drinks. If you prefer a group tasting, you can join the team in their scenic Playa del Carmen location at the rooftop pool at the Be Playa Hotel – one of many quality hotels and resorts in Playa del Carmen.
It’s a great idea for a bachelor or hen party, with add-ons available, including extra 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 at Casa Mission, Cozumel
If you’re staying on the diver’s paradise island of Cozumel, there’s a tequila tasting experience that just might 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 sample 8 different types of tequila, including favorites like Anejo, Reposado, and Blanco, all of which can be purchased locally.
And once the tasting is over, why not extend your stay with lunch at the beautifully restored Casa Mission hacienda, whose menu includes traditional Mexican specialties like the delicious sopa de lima (lime soup).
Cost: Free (lunch costs extra)
University of Tequila
Another tequila-tasting opportunity is in the beach town of Puerto Morelos, about 30 minutes south of Cancun.
Here, you can join a tequila expert on the rooftop terrace of Hotel La Sirena to learn about the history of tequila, how it’s produced, and, helpfully, what type you should drink to avoid a hangover.
Along with your drinks, an on-site chef creates snacks that will pair perfectly with each tequila, which you can enjoy at your leisure while admiring 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 around 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 region’s most famous Mayan ruins in Tulum, or swimming and snorkeling in a unique Yucatan natural phenomenon, an underground swimming hole called cenote.
Either experience will whet your appetite for the main event, which is an educational tasting of the main types of tequilas, including Blanco, Reposado, Anejo, and Extra Anejo, plus a few mezcals for good measure. The tour also includes transportation from and to your hotel, as well as lunch at a local restaurant.
Cost: from 120 to 164 USD per person depending on group size
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