Do you love the burning sensation that tequila gives your mouth? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, many people enjoy the taste of tequila precisely because it burns.
Why does tequila burn? The answer lies in the alcohol content. Pure ethanol, which is the type of alcohol found in alcoholic drinks, has a burning sensation when it comes into contact with our taste buds and mucous membranes.
In this article, you will learn the science behind the cause of tequila to burn, how to avoid the burning, and some cocktails to try out without feeling the burn.
The Science Behind Tequila’s Burn
When you drink tequila, the ethanol in the liquor comes into contact with your taste buds and mucous membranes. This causes a burning sensation, which is precisely what many people enjoy about this type of alcohol. There are some other factors given below:
Strong Reaction on Taste Buds and Mucous Membranes
The ethanol in tequila causes a strong reaction on our taste buds and mucous membranes, which is why it burns so much. Our taste buds are located on the surface of our tongues, while our mucous membranes line the inside of our mouths.
The combination of the ethanol and the sensitive tissues in our mouths creates a burning sensation that is characteristic of tequila. In fact, you may find that other types of alcohol don’t cause the same burning sensation because they contain a lower percentage of ethanol.
Ph Level of Tequila
Another reason why tequila burns so much is because of its pH level. Pure ethanol has a pH level of around seven, which is highly acidic. This means that it can cause a lot of damage to the tissues in our mouths.
The combination of the high alcohol content and the acidic pH level makes tequila one of the beverages that can cause the most pain when it comes into contact with our mouths.
Presence of Congeners in Tequila
Another contributing factor to the burning sensation that tequila causes is the presence of congeners in the liquor. Congeners are chemicals that are produced during the fermentation process, and they can contribute to the taste and smell of alcoholic drinks.
Tequila contains high levels of congeners, which may be why it burns so much when you drink it. These chemicals can also cause adverse effects, such as nausea and vomiting.
The Climate in Which Tequila Is Made
Another reason why tequila burns so much is that it is made in a hot climate. The high temperatures can cause the ethanol in the liquor to evaporate, which will increase its alcohol content.
This means that you may be more likely to experience the burning sensation when you drink tequila that has been made in a hot climate.
The Distillation Process of Tequila
Tequila is distilled twice which creates more alcohol. During this process, the ethanol is separated from the other chemicals in the drink, which means that it becomes more concentrated.
Tequila that is distilled using pot stills tends to have a stronger burn than those made with column stills. So, if you’re looking for a liquor that doesn’t burn as much, you may want to try one that is made with a column still.
LEARN MORE: What Is Considered The Best Top-shelf Tequila?
How to Drink Tequila Without Feeling the Burn
If you don’t enjoy the burning sensation that tequila causes, there are a few things that you can do to reduce the pain.
Try drinking it with a mixer-
If you mix tequila with a non-alcoholic drink, it will dilute the ethanol and reduce the burning sensation. Some popular mixer choices include cranberry juice, soda water, or fruit juice.
Drink tequila from a shot glass-
If you drink tequila from a shot glass, you will be able to consume it more quickly. This will minimize the amount of time that the ethanol is in contact with your taste buds and mucous membranes.
You may also want to try using a straw to drink tequila. This will help keep the liquor away from your mouth and reduce the amount of contact that it has with your tissues.
Drink cold tequila-
If you drink cold tequila, the ethanol will be more diluted and it will not cause as much of a burning sensation. You can either refrigerate the liquor or pour it over ice cubes.
Avoid drinking tequila on an empty stomach-
If you drink tequila on an empty stomach, the ethanol will be absorbed more quickly and it will cause a greater burning sensation. Try eating some food before drinking your tequila shots.
This will help to slow down the absorption of the alcohol and reduce the amount of burn that you experience.
Take a breath after taking a shot of tequila-
If you take a breath after taking a shot of tequila, it will help to cool down the ethanol and reduce the burning sensation. You can also try sucking on a lemon wedge or chewing on some ice cubes.
Tequila Cocktail for Beginners
If you’re first to try tequila, you may try one of these cocktails. These drinks are made with tequila, but they contain other ingredients that help to reduce the heat.
The Margarita- This cocktail is made with lime juice, orange liqueur, and salt. The acidity from the lime juice will help to reduce the burning sensation, and the orange liqueur will add sweetness which will mask the taste of tequila.
The Paloma- This drink is made with grapefruit juice, club soda, and sugar. The grapefruit juice contains citric acid which will help to neutralize the pH level of tequila and minimize the burning sensation.
The Michelada- This cocktail is made with beer, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, and chili powder. The carbonation from the beer will help to reduce the burning sensation, and the other ingredients will add flavor which will disguise the taste of tequila.
The Tequila Sunrise- This drink is made with orange juice, grenadine syrup, and tequila. The orange juice will add sweetness and acidity which will counteract the burn from tequila. Grenadine syrup is also a sweetener, so it will help to mask the liquor’s flavor.
LEARN MORE: What Goes Well With Tequila Gold?
Tequila Brands to Look Out for
If you want to purchase a tequila that doesn’t have as much of a burn, you may try one of these brands.
- El Tesoro- This brand is made with column stills and it has a smooth taste.
- Sauza Hornitos- This brand is also made with column stills and it has a slightly sweet flavor.
- Patron- Patron is made with both pot and column stills, and it has a complex flavor profile.
- 1800 Silver- 1800 Silver is made with pot stills, but it has a smoky flavor.
- Don Julio- Don Julio is made with pot stills, and it has a fruity flavor.
LEARN MORE: How Much Tequila To Margarita Mix?
Tequila is a liquor that can cause a burning sensation when it is consumed. This sensation is caused by the ethanol in the drink, and it can be minimized by using certain techniques.
If you are new to drinking tequila, try starting with one of these cocktails which contain ingredients that will reduce the heat.