Go to Jalisco, Mexico, to Become a Certified Tequila Expert

Hannah Smothers
Photo credit: Hannah Smothers | Raydene Hansen
Photo credit: Hannah Smothers | Raydene Hansen

From Cosmopolitan

When I got an invite to join an ~exclusive~ tequila tasting tour in Jalisco, Mexico, my first thought was, Ah, yes—perfect for me, a margarita lover and devoted tequila drinker. I figured I’d spend the trip sipping margs and palomas, sucking limes, and licking salt.

Turns out, I was incredibly (well, mostly) wrong. Before going to Tequila, Mexico, I thought I knew what I was doing when I ordered rounds of shots for my friends (sorry, guys!). But now I actually do, because I’ve seen the fields where the liquor starts out as spiky plants, chewed on bits of agave, and sipped more tequila before noon than I care to admit.

The themed excursion—called, accurately, the Te Amo Tequila Tour—is put together and hosted by the travel agency CheapCaribbean, which is leading the trip one more time from December 5–11, 2019, when a legit tequila expert—as in, he wrote an entire book on mezcal, another agave liquor—will join.

But whether you hit up the tour or book a different tequila-themed Mexico trip, here’s the most ’grammable way to spend a long weekend in Jalisco—and pick up a ton of agave-centric knowledge along the way.

Book Now Te Amo Tequila Tour from CheapCaribbean

You’re in Tequila, a city in Jalisco, to taste a shit-ton of tequila. So to set the mood, I high-key recommend you check into Matices Hotel de Barricas, a boutique hotel that also happens to be a functioning tequila distillery and surrounded by agave fields. Each room at Matices is its own barrel, created solely to be used as places to sleep. To properly brag about your extremely niche round lodging situation, snap a picture at the top of the driveway and get as many of the barrels as you can into the shot.

Book Now Matices Hotel de Barricas

Once you’ve downed a bottle of water and maybe had a little bite to eat, head to La Cata—the very first independent tequila tasting room in Tequila. It’s tucked away just off the town’s main plaza, and the bar is stocked with—you guessed it—more bottles of agave liquor than I’ve ever seen in my life. You can do a flight tasting or be more chill and sip on one of the Pantone-colored cocktails, but whatever you do, go at sunset—the golden light will reflect nicely off your tequila flight, creating a beautiful scene to put on the ’gram.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

Once you’ve slept off your first night of tequila tasting, put on some jeans and hop on a horse for a two-hour ride through the agave fields that surround Matices and run through the town. Just don’t be surprised if, midway through, your tour guide cowboys pull some tequila out of their saddlebags and urge you to take a 10 a.m. shot.

But! The good news is that you’ll be prepped and ready to take it like a champ. On my ride, the guides passed along their tried-and-true technique for drinking the liquor without a burn. I’ll tell you, too, because I’m nice: Put the tequila in your mouth, hold it there while you breathe in, swallow it, and then exhale. It sounds weird, but trust me. After you’ve taken your shot, have a friend take a picture of you looking rugged and slightly tipsy on your horse, put an “Old Town Road” caption on it, and ride through the agave fields.

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making a buddy

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Because you’re probably already a little drunk, sop up your morning shot with lunch at La Posta, the oldest restaurant in Tequila. Don’t leave until you’ve had something that involves mole, take a liquor break by drinking some chilled Tecates, and play with the kittens that run around outside on the patio. Because cats are always going to be better for the ’gram than even the spiciest plate of food, convince one of the kitties to jump into your lap, get a picture of it, and then convince all your friends back home that you’re returning with a plus-one.

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Oh, did you forget already? This is tequila tour. As such, it’s your duty to check out Orendain, a family-owned company that produces bottles you can only get in Mexico (hint: this is where you get your souvenirs). Take a peek at the giant vats and barrels that are used to produce the liquor, and order a paloma from the makeshift bar in one of the distillery’s many plazas. It’s delicious, refreshing, and served in a tiny clay pot. So yeah, def grab an overhead picture of your drink being mixed up and post it to the grid.

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snack time

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Tequila is a delight—a legit small town with even more heart in it than liquor—but after 24 hours of basically only drinking, you’ll probs want a (brief) rest. Book a bus or rent a car and head to Puerto Vallarta, a beach town about four hours away on Mexico’s west coast. But such a long drive deserves a pit stop, so pull over at a gas station on the way and stock up on all the snacks you can carry. I highly rec the hot Cheetos—they’re spicier there, somehow? Grab a Huji pic of your spoils, post it, and then eat up. Once in Puerto Vallarta, check in at Secrets Vallarta Bay, an all-inclusive resort (meaning you don’t have to think about money while you’re here, bless) with swim-up bars and direct access to the shore.

Book Now Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta

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yeah it’s good

A post shared by hannah smothers (@hannahsmo) on Jul 27, 2019 at 6:25pm PDT

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humid bright warm

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Puerto Vallarta has a lot of restaurants, and the best way to eat from as many as you can is to take a food tour. But of course, you haven’t yet had your daily tequila, so book the Mex-ology tour to incorporate some cocktails into your four-hour lunch crawl. The tour varies each time (because not all the stops are always open), but if you hit up the taco cart on the side of the road, definitely get the option that includes beef tongue. And then save room for the chorizo quesadilla at the final stop, because YOU OBVIOUSLY WANT THAT. Snap a picture of your ’dilla on the grill and make all your followers drool.

Book Now Mex-ology tour

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green is good for you

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You’ve had a long, hard weekend drinking tequila and eating tacos. Know what you need now? To chill out for an entire morning in your very own beach cabana. The cabanas are basically their own tiny mansions, complete with a cooler stocked with beer and water plus a private waiter who will bring you bowls of fruit, stacks of pancakes, and then plates of ceviche when lunch rolls around. Post up on the top floor with a frozen paloma (tequila only, okay?), and ask your BFF or Insta husband to take a pic of you looking relaxed, slightly buzzed, and extremely happy against the blue sky.

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