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Tequila on the rise: Mixologists, restaurateurs dwell on the spirit's popularity

Updated on: 15 June,2024 09:05 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Shriram Iyengar |

As a recent IWSR survey highlights the spirit’s popularity in India, mixologists, restaurateurs and industry voices stir the conversation about this development. Plus, the bars to hit for your next tequila fix

Tequila on the rise: Mixologists, restaurateurs dwell on the spirit's popularity


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Tequila on the rise: Mixologists, restaurateurs dwell on the spirit's popularity

Bitter. Strong. Fiery. Some of these adjectives associated with tequila might underestimate the rising popularity of this agave-based spirit from the heartlands of Mexico. A recent survey by International Wines and Spirits Record (IWSR) in June pointed out an overall rise of four percent in agave and tequila spirits sales across the market. While agave-based spirits include other forms such as reposado, mezcal and añejo versions, it was tequila that dominated the market. Over the last five years, the spirit has seen a rise in sales to over 80,000 cases. Here’s what city mixologists, restaurateurs and industry experts to highlight this trend.

Strong and versatile

Ami Shroff,  flair mixologist and juggler

Ami Shroff,  flair mixologist and juggler
Strangely, I have noticed that Indian trends tend to follow European markets. For the last few years, tequila has been growing in popularity in Europe. Its exclusivity and rarity are reasons that it took some time for people to understand. If you think about it, traditionally fermented drinks are not often bottled and marketed well. In India, feni and mahua are examples that hardly get international attention. They, like tequila, have unique flavour profiles that take getting used to. As their exposure grows, they are appreciated better. Though there are no restrictions, tequila complements spicy and refreshing flavours best.

Spicy tequila

Spicy tequila

. 20 ml star fruit juice
. 10 ml lime juice
. 15 ml jaggery syrup or sweetener of choice
. 1 chilli (muddled)

Add the chilli to the glass, and muddle it. Add starfruit juice, lime juice and jaggery syrup into the glass. Shake and strain the mix into a glass of choice. Garnish with a starfruit slice.

Recipe courtesy Ami Shroff

Spirit of the moment

Aryaan Sundaram, bar operations executive, Monika Alcobev

Aryaan Sundaram, bar operations executive, Monika Alcobev
I do not see the statistics as an aberration, but rather a shift to the spirit. The global exposure tequila has received, and the adventurous nature of the Indian customer has added to its rise. Spirits go through trends. Two years ago, it was gin. Now, it is tequila. There is a give-and-take relationship with the culinary landscape as well. A growing interest in Mexican cuisine, exploration of flavours contributes to the interest in tequila. This interest will grow as the year 

Positioned as a premium spirit for connoisseurs

Devender Negi,  assistant beverage manager, Charlee, Khar

Devender Negi,  assistant beverage manager, Charlee, Khar
Consumers are increasingly willing to pay more for higher quality spirits, and tequila has been positioned as a premium option. High-quality tequilas have gained popularity among consumers looking for unique and sophisticated drinking experiences. They are also perceived as a healthier option owing to their lower sugar content. The advantage is that tequila’s bold flavour adds depth and character to drinks, and is a favourite among mixologists looking to create a unique drink.

Suits the Indian palate

Rizwan Amlani,  partner, Mezcalita

Rizwan Amlani,  partner, Mezcalita
The versatility of tequila and its distinct flavour profile has led to more guests opting for tequila over the traditional choice of whiskeys or other cocktails. In the past, many people associated them primarily with shots and party culture. Now, enthusiasts are increasingly interested in exploring tequila and mezcal for their complex flavours and versatility in cocktails.

The distinctive smoky flavour also pairs well with other ingredients like citrus, herbs, and spices which the Indian palate loves. And because bartenders are enjoying experimenting with the spirit, more cocktails with the spirit are being put on the menu.

As more people become familiar with the versatility and richness of tequila, and the market for high-quality, artisanal spirits expands, we expect tequila to become a staple in the Indian beverage scene.

The Cha Chinga mezcal margarita

The Cha Chinga mezcal margarita

. 2 oz mezcal
. 1 oz lime juice
. 1/2 oz agave nectar
. Salt for rimming (optional)

Rim a glass with salt (if desired). Combine the mezcal, lime juice, and agave nectar in a shaker filled with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into the prepared glass over ice. Garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy.

Recipe courtesy Rizwan Amlani

For your tequila fix

For your tequila fix

. Poco Loco Tapas & Bar
AT Ground floor, 21st Road, 
Khar West.
CALL 919324191366

. Madeira and Mime
AT Trans Ocean House, Hiranandani Business Park, Powai. CALL 9324191366
. The Finch
AT Shah Industrial Estate, Saki Vihar Road, Powai.
CALL 9920910619

. Woodside Inn
AT Indian Mercantile Mansion, opposite Regal Cinema, Colaba.
CALL 9321728192

. SAZ American Brasserie
AT Ground floor, 
Jio World Drive, BKC.
CALL 9920056686

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