MGM Resorts International’s corporate mixologist Marshall Altier shares expert advice on upping your tequila know-how on National Tequila Day or any day.
It is a good day. It’s National Tequila Day — and if you know one thing about us, it’s that we like good days. To help our readers to make the most out of National Tequila Day, we sought out the advice of an expert. In this case, that person would be MGM Resorts International’s corporate mixologist Marshall Altier.
C&I: Can you share some of the differences between tequila and other spirits?
Marshall Altier: First of all, tequila has a breadth and depth of diversity that is unparalleled by any other spirit category. Since tequila comes from one genus and species of plant, you would think that there would be similarities throughout the category. However, the producer is allowed so much latitude to decide on the way it is made. For example, they can decide the type of still, if/how long the spirits is aged and in what it is being aged in. There is a tremendous amount of diversity in the category.
C&I: What should at-home bartenders know about tequila?
Altier: I always suggest pairing a younger tequila (blanco, silver, plata) with fruit juice base. Easy examples of this would be a margarita and paloma. If you’re looking to working with reposados and añejos, they work better in spirit-forward drinks such as variations of the Manhattan and old-fashioned.
C&I: What are the best ways to enjoy and highlight tequila — from drinking it neat/straight to mixing it with other flavors?
Altier: When it’s not in a cocktail as per above, I love sipping tequila neat and pairing it with simple fruit flavors, like a slice of orange and maybe a little salt or freshly grated baking spices like cinnamon. This is consistent across ages and can be a fun way to play with the experience.
C&I: Any additional advice?
Altier: Try as many tequilas as possible on your journey.
Our collection of National Tequila Day cocktail recipes can be found here.
Photography: Kirvin Doak Communications