Why Does Tequila Taste So Bad? Answered (2023 Updated)

Last Updated on October 25, 2023 by Lydia Martin

However, not everyone is a fan of this drink, with some finding its taste unappealing or even downright unpleasant. So, why does tequila taste so bad to some people?

We will explore some factors as to why people hate tequila. We will also learn how to make it taste better so you can start enjoying it.

4 Reasons Why Tequila May Taste So Bad

Woman Drinking Tequila

1. Gives Extreme Hangover

Tequila typically has a high alcohol content, which can lead to an extreme hangover, especially if consumed in large quantities.

Additionally, tequila contains congeners, a natural chemical compound produced during the fermentation and distillation process [1], contributing to the severity of the hangover.

Finally, like with any alcoholic beverage, tequila can lead to dehydration, resulting in hangover symptoms like headache, fatigue, and dry mouth.

2. Wrong Drinking Style

Most people or first-timers typically drink tequila by doing shots paired with salt licking and lime biting when they’re out partying.

It is a wrong drinking style since taking shots with salt, and lime often leads to immediate consumption and getting drunk too soon.

Plus, you cannot fully appreciate tequila due to the addition of salt and lime, which mask its spirit and underlying flavor profiles unless you want to party and get drunk.

3. Tried Low-Quality Tequila 

Low-quality tequila may taste bad due to a lower percentage of agave content, the presence of fillers and additives, cheaper production, and a shorter or non-existent aging process.

It often gives off a harsher punch from your tongue down to your throat. Thus low-quality tequila makes a big difference in taste compared to high-quality ones.

4. Bitter Taste

Tequila provides a bitter taste due to the fermentation and distillation process.

Contrary to popular belief, agave is relatively sweet [2] and converts into alcohol during fermentation.

Furthermore, the presence of congeners, the aging process, and the mixing of other ingredients all contribute to the bitterness tequila may have.

So, What Does Tequila Really Taste Like?

Tequila’s distinctive taste is often characterized by its strong and sharp flavor, with notes of earthy, smoky, and vegetal flavors.

“Drinking tequila is more about the journey than the destination.”

— Rainbow Rowell, American Author

Some can also be described as slightly sweet or fruity with hints of caramel, vanilla, or citrus, while others may have a more intense and fiery punch.

Overall, its taste varies depending on the type of tequila (Blanco, Joven, Reposado, Añejo, Extra Añejo, and Curados), the distillation process, the aging process, and other ingredients used in making it.

How Do You Make Tequila Taste Better?

Pair It With Food

Pairing tequila with food will not only make the alcoholic beverage taste better but also the food you will be pairing it up with, creating a more enjoyable and balanced taste experience.

Like wine or beer, tequila can be paired with various foods to create exciting and complementary flavor combinations, including tacos, raw or grilled fish, vegetables, pork, steak, or chocolates.

Mix It In Cocktails

You can mix tequila with various ingredients, such as fruit juices, syrups, and other spirits, to create complex and exciting cocktail flavors.

Doing so helps create a new delicious taste and sensation while making the tequila more palatable and approachable since the alcohol content is diluted with other ingredients.

Drink It Slowly

Slowly drinking tequila will allow you to savor and appreciate the complex flavors and aromas while preventing a strong and unpleasant aftertaste or a burning sensation down your throat.

Furthermore, it allows an enjoyable and relaxed drinking experience for longer times since slow drinking prevents overconsumption and getting drunk too soon. 

Combine It With Salt, Baking Soda, & Mineral Water

Combining tequila with salt, baking soda, and mineral water is not a common practice, nor does it necessarily enhance the taste of the liquor in any way, but instead makes the taste horrible.

However, baking soda does so much as reduce the burn and bitterness of the tequila since it can for the bitterness of some drugs, while the salt works as some kind of flavoring.

Doing this TikTok trend often results in your tequila losing its alcoholic taste and tasting like water with a slippery mouthfeel.


Does drinking chilled tequila make it taste not so bad?

Yes, since the cold temperature can numb your taste buds slightly, making the alcohol taste less harsh and the flavors smoother to be tolerable.

Why does tequila taste so strong?

Tequila typically has a high alcohol content of around 35 to 55% ABV, contributing to the strong taste and sensation.

In Summary

Tequila can be best enjoyed if it’s high-quality or made with 100% agave while sipping it slowly, pairing it with other foods, or mixing it into cocktails.

In addition to slowly sipping, it allows you to savor tequila’s underlying flavor profiles while prolonging your drinking experience in contrast to shots paired with salt and lime.



Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here or feel free to give Lydia a tip.

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