When you think of tequila, you probably think of salt, lime, and a shot glass. The shot glass is an iconic symbol of tequila drinking culture, but have you ever stopped to wonder about its history? The origins of the tequila shot glass are deeply rooted in Mexican history and culture. In this blog post, we’ll explore the history of the tequila shot glass and how it became a staple of tequila drinking around the world.
The Origin of the Shot Glass
The history of the shot glass can be traced back to ancient times. The ancient Greeks and Romans used small glasses to drink their alcoholic beverages. However, the shot glass as we know it today didn’t appear until the 1700s in Europe. Shot glasses were used to measure spirits, which were often used for medicinal purposes.
Tequila and the Shot Glass
When tequila was first distilled in the 16th century, it was consumed in a very different way than it is today. Tequila was often sipped, rather than taken as a shot. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the shot glass became a popular way to consume tequila.
The invention of the tequila shot glass is credited to a bartender named Danny Herrera. In the 1930s, he created the “Bandera” shot, which consisted of three shot glasses: one filled with lime juice, one with tequila, and one with tomato juice. The idea was to take the shots in a specific order to create a taste sensation.
The shot glass soon became a popular way to consume tequila, particularly in the United States. In the 1950s and 1960s, tourism to Mexico increased, and many tourists returned home with stories of drinking tequila shots. The tequila shot glass became a symbol of Mexican culture and a popular souvenir.
Types of Shot Glasses
There are many different types of shot glasses available today. Some are made of glass, while others are made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. Shot glasses come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from tall and skinny to short and wide.
One of the most popular types of shot glasses is the “caballito,” which translates to “little horse.” The caballito shot glass is tall and narrow, with a slightly flared top. It is said to resemble a horse’s leg, hence the name.
Another popular type of shot glass is the “whiskey” shot glass. This type of shot glass is short and wide, with a thick base. It is often used for tequila shots because it allows for a larger pour.
The tequila shot glass has come a long way since its inception in the 20th century. What started as a way to measure spirits has become a cultural symbol of Mexico and a popular way to consume tequila around the world. Whether you prefer a caballito or a whiskey shot glass, the tequila shot is a timeless tradition that has stood the test of time. So, next time you take a shot of tequila, raise your glass to the rich history and culture behind this beloved beverage.
History, how to drink a Shot and curious facts
All of us at some point in a bar tried a shot of tequila. Perhaps at first impression we don’t like it too much, because it is one of those acquired tastes when our taste buds get used to feeling its overflowing force that runs through the mouth and throat. Who would have thought that so much power is hidden in such a small glass?
Let’s talk then about the shot of tequila, this drink that Mexico has brought to the delight of lovers of strong liquors, for those who like the finest and most creative cocktails, and for those who discover all the flavors of this country.
Here I will now tell you a little about it! If you haven’t fallen in love with tequila, I assure you that you soon will. If you had doubts about what you can drink tequila with, keep reading.
History of the tequila shot
The shot, like the great things in the world, has its own history.
Millions of people around the world have one of these containers in their own homes, either for frequent use in drinks of this type or as a mere souvenir placed on the shelf (yes, I’m guilty!).
How will it have arisen? The truth… exactly who knows, because as always happens, one thing led to another and without realizing it we already had a full shot of tequila served in front of our eyes.
There are several theories or stories about how it came about, some of these change from country to country, but we have compiled several stories from Mexico and the United States that we found on the internet and some specialized books on the subject.
We include the United States because during the prohibition of alcohol between 1920 and 1933 there was an exponential increase in the production and export in the form of tequila smuggling to that country.
Due to the climate of political and economic instability that existed during the Mexican Revolution, a large number of distilleries and tequila factories closed. Some historians mention that, of the 87 mezcal (tequila) wine factories registered before 1910, only 8 remained by 1920, but the income from tequila smuggling helped to raise the industry.
And, it can be assumed that due to this type of “exports”, the development of the caballito or shot glass was established both in Mexico and in the USA.
History 1 of the shot glass (Mexico)
It is said more by way of legend that the “horse” is called that way because previously the men in charge of taking care of the agave fields, hung from their necks a cow horn with a hollow tip that they used to drink water and tequila that they transported in gourd (a natural canteen), while they wandered mounted on their horses.
Eventually these small horns were adapted by sanding the base so that they can be placed on a table or the bar counter, with the passage of time they were transformed and began to be made of glass.
In some souvenir shops in the town of Tequila you can still buy cow horns to drink tequila.
History 2 of the shot glass (USA)
Before the tequila in the shot, there was the whiskey. Although there are vestiges of small glasses from the 19th century, it was not until the mid-20th century, after the prohibition of alcohol in the United States, that they were marketed more or less in the shape we know today: glass that is quite thick at the bottom and long, with a Mouth wider than bottom, medium conical.
These small glasses were used to serve portions of moonshine (illegally distilled whiskey) and eventually others appeared for different drinks, perfecting the models with the recommended size for each of them.
History 3 of the shot glass (USA)
On the other hand, it is said that in the past a small glass called “shot glasses” was placed together with the meat served at dinner. Since most of the meat came from game, at the time of serving you could still find small fragments of lead in your piece of meat so you would place these bullet pieces in the glass. Shot glasses = glass for shots
History 4 of the shot glass (Mexico / USA)
It is said that in the old west, especially in the region of what is now California, Texas and New Mexico, which once belonged to Mexico, cowboys used to pay for a small shot of whiskey at the bar by exchanging their bullets. “A shot for a glass” (a bullet for a glass)
History 5 of the shot glass (USA)
Friedrich Otto Schott, German chemist and inventor of borosilicate glass (DURAN, Pyrex or Kimax), opened a glass factory in 1880. This type of glass was originally developed for scientific work but due to its high strength and durability, it ended up being used in the restaurants and bars of the world. Therefore, the Schott glass (Schott Glass), became the shot glass that we all know.
How do you take a shot of tequila?
If someone comes up to you and tells you the correct way to take a shot of tequila, don’t believe them so much. Rather take it as a recommendation because there is really no definitive way how tequila should be drunk.
How much is served?
A shot is now also considered a form of measurement. The jigger, for example, is a tool used in cocktails to measure the amount of liquor that is served in a shot. The dose per glass is approximately 45 milliliters, which is 1.5 ounces more or less.
You do it in the most comfortable way (here the joke is to enjoy every second of the experience), the most attractive and the most delicious (try all the possible ways and notice how you react differently with each one of them until you find the definitive one for you. ).
Tequila, salt and lemon
The most widespread way around the world and already classic consists of placing a little salt in your fist, between the thumb and the index finger, after having licked that area. Then the salt is licked, the drink is swallowed and the lemon slice is sucked.
For many this is the definitive way to drink tequila, but others will not agree because it is such a hasty technique that the drink is not enjoyed, it is not savored, the taste buds are not allowed to be intoxicated with its strength and flavor. . There is another very similar and more enjoyable style.
How do we do it then? Very simple. We need these same ingredients: the served horse, salt and lemon slices:
Cut the lemons in half and place them with the pulp facing up in a container.
Sprinkle the salt over the lemon.
We take a slice of lemon and suck its acid and salty juice. With the juice in our mouths, we drink the tequila. Before swallowing, we allow these ingredients to mix in the mouth as they travel through each nerve ending and we swallow slowly. Here the important thing is to disguise each of the sensations.
Try it both ways and you will notice a big difference!
Of course, take into account that there is NO official way to drink tequila, after all, it also works perfectly in cocktails. What would mixology be without this blue agave distillate!
But tequila is already a wonderful liquor in itself, so drinking it without so much paraphernalia of extra ingredients will help you get to know it more deeply, as you will discover an ancestral world, centuries of tradition and work. All the history of tequila concentrated in a glass with a capacity of less than 2 ounces.
Types of tequila to use with the shot
Although it is possible to use the shot glass for any type of tequila or liquor, a tequila shot works perfectly with both blanco and reposado. Don’t forget to appreciate the color, texture, smell and flavor of each one!
To drink aged and extra aged tequilas, it is recommended to use an old fashioned glass (whiskey glass), in case you want to place an ice, or a balloon glass or cognac glass to better appreciate the aromas of tequila.
White or silver tequila is the one obtained after distillation, without any further processes. It is called like that more than anything because its appearance is crystal clear as if it were water. Unlike other types of tequila, it was not later stored in wooden barrels. It is perfect for cocktail recipes.
It is one that is left for more than two months in wooden barrels, absorbing the flavor and color of the container, thus obtaining a tone similar to amber. Ideal to take it alone in a horse and not lose the subtlety of the flavor and smell of wood.
Recommended tequila shot
It is likely that you already have one or more versions at home, this time we include some original or different options that you can purchase online:
Tequila glass with agave design
This shot glass has an agave design. The pack comes in 3 different colors.
They are handmade with blown glass and are an ideal gift for people who love tequila, mezcal or any agave distillate.
MORE INFORMATION AND CURRENT PRICES
Tequila glass with cactus design
Similar to the design with agave but this time it is a cactus.
The designs are NOT prints or images, it is a small blown glass cactus inside the glass so it attracts a lot of attention when you see it for the first time.
MORE INFORMATION AND CURRENT PRICES
Tequila glass in the shape of a skull
This original design is an excellent option to have at home or as a gift.
It is advisable to use rested or aged tequila, since white tequila does not allow you to appreciate it in its entirety.
MORE INFORMATION AND CURRENT PRICES
Borosilicate shot glass
This tequila glass is ideal for anyone with a passion for science.
Their design is not only similar to beakers used in laboratories, but they are also made of the same material: borosilicate glass.
Fun facts about the tequila shot
Hangover or tequila hangover?
Everything in moderation: a shot of tequila, due to its completely natural origin and chemical processes, does not produce a hangover. We’re talking about a single shot, you don’t want to drink the whole bottle straight away.
Some studies have even shown, although not conclusively, that hangovers are usually produced by secondary alcohols and/or congeners from the distillation process; especially methanol, histamine, acetaldehyde and various polyphenols. In other words, it was not possible to separate the heads and tails properly and the final product (tequila) is not as good quality as expected.
In other words, a poor quality tequila is likely to give you more of a hangover than a good quality tequila.
If you want to learn what the heads, tails and heart are in distillation, click here to read our article on the tequila distillation process.
names and variations
The name of the little horse varies depending on the region of the world where it is used. In Mexico, it is “horse”, of course. Also “shot”, an increasingly popular term, and “tequila glass”.
“Percherón” is the name given to a huge and beautiful breed of horse, so it makes a lot of sense that in some parts of Mexico the largest tequila glasses are also called that, to serve double tequila.
In Spain, the small glasses designed to serve alcoholic beverages that are usually drunk in one gulp are known as “shots”.
Calories in a shot of tequila
The calories provided by a single shot of tequila are barely 45. One shot, please, I’m on a diet!
The reason why salt and lemon became popular
For quite some time now, the tequila that was marketed outside of Mexico had a very questionable quality. This was due more to the fact that agave was not used for its manufacture, but other types of alcohol, which made the taste very unpleasant.
So to make it easier to pass through the mouth, they mixed it with salt and lemon. What a trick, right?
To taste tequila, use the special glass
If the wine has a glass to taste, then the tequila too. The horse is not unique or exclusive.
If what you really want is to taste tequila, enjoy its color, its appearance, its flavor and its smell, it is best to resort to the Riedel glass, which was designed and manufactured for this drink because its shape enhances the penetrating smells of tequilas.
As we mentioned, to drink and enjoy (not taste), aged or extra aged tequilas, the Globo Cup is also used.
“Belief” that it is medicinal for sore throats
As an extra curious fact, there is the idea that tequila has “healing powers” to help us cope with that sore throat that we hate so much.
Just mix it with lemon and honey and you will notice an improvement. Whether this recipe is effective or not, the truth does seem to be.