Lifestyle: Tequila and Salt
Almost everyone knows this ritual: lick the salt off your hand, drink the liquor and then bite into a slice of lemon. Of course we're talking about tequila, a Mexican liquor distilled from agaves which is also called Mezcal.
The name tequila probably goes back to the city Tequila near the Pacific coast, where the liquor was probably first distilled in the 16th century; it is also found again in the botanical name of the blue agave whose heart is used for its preparation: agave tequilana. The native Indians called the crescent-shaped heart of the agave "House of the Moon" which is "Mezcal" in their native language.
So much about the naming history, but what is the story with the salt and the lemon? – The drinking rituals for tequila differ, also dependent on regional customs and degree of maturity, respectively quality of the tequila.
In Mexico one enjoys only the common, young (clear) tequila with salt and lemon or lime, whereby the sequence can vary by all means. The best known version is most likely the one mentioned at the beginning: first lick a little salt from the back of the hand, then down the tequila and finally bite into the lemon or lime. The salt taste and citrus flavour are supposed to balance the somewhat hard alcohol taste of the young tequila.
In addition there are indulgence versions with Tabasco, coffee beans, cinnamon, oranges and so on. Older, usually darker tequilas are mostly enjoyed straight.