I Guess I’m Lucky I Started Late; Gracias a Dios


It seems that I meet two kinds of people when it comes to tequila.  There are those who swear they don’t like it—can’t drink it, and there are those who enjoy it and are interested in the fact that it has become my hobby (ok, passion).  The first kind almost universally had a bad experience in some early life-stage with a large amount of very low-quality tequila, and it stuck with them.  It was the alcohol/chemical equivalent of a shock collar.  They’ve been there once and it was plenty.  Not going there again, thank-you-very-much-sir.  The rest of us live in a brighter and happier world—gracias a dios.

I avoided the bad early experience with tequila in a way that I do not recommend.  It was by growing up in a religion with zero alcohol and a whole lot of other zeroes next to other fun things (no gracias a dios). I was very far along in years before I tried any alcohol but, as fate would have it, I was on a business trip in Texas one Cinco de Mayo when I finally felt free enough to have a drink. I was with a work partner, who ordered me a blended margarita (basically an adult Slurpee).  So history records that I gave up my drink-ginity to a red girly drink, and I was stupid-buzzed after drinking half of it.  But as a tequilaphile, I’m at least glad I can say that my first alcohol, buried somewhere in all that sugar and red dye, was some form of tequila—probably.

In the ensuing months I moved on from that red blended margarita to various other drinks and rookie mistakes as I was belatedly learning to drink.  My biggest rookie mistake was not knowing that the NUMBER in Bacardi 151 indicates the proof value, and going ahead and drinking two straight shots of 75.5% alcohol rum.  The second shot burned way worse than the first shot, and both shots came back up pretty quickly after the second one went down.  That shit is not meant for shooting, as if you didn’t already know what I learned that night.

More learning:  I dated someone who was a bourbon drinker, and became a big fan of good bourbons, both neat and in cocktails.  But in that phase of my life I learned that cocktails with sugar left me feeling worse than cocktails without sugar, and I learned that drinking neat instead of cocktails let me really focus on the spirit itself, which was very interesting.  Still, bourbon occasionally left me with some very nasty hangovers.  Not a lot of times, but once too many.

Complaining to a friend about hangovers led to a conversation about tequila, muchasgracias a dios! That changed everything.  To this day, several years and 329 different tequilas later, I have still never had a tequila hangover.  So I guess I’m the opposite of those shock-collar people.  There’s some kind of extremely good sensory/chemical match between tequila and me that works well and feels comfortable.  I almost never have a cocktail, almost never drink any alcohol except tequila, apart from the occasional beer.  Fortunately I was never ruined by the early bad experiences that so many other people had.

So, fellow tequilaphiles, how did you get here?  We all have a story.  Did you take off your shock collar?  How and when and to what did you lose your drink-ginity?  Send in your story and your photo.  If you’re featured you’ll get some tequilaphile swag, not to mention all the massive prestige…


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