The key to tasting tequila well is through the sense of smell, so pay heed to your nose. “Many people tend to automatically do it the way they would wine. They take a big sniff out of the glass. But this is 80-proof alcohol. Therefore, you need to make sure you don’t do that and oversaturate your nose,” says Jose Cuervo brand ambassador Rene Valdez. Instead he recommends three little sniffs. The first is to see what aromas you’re able to identify without moving the liquid. Next, twirl the tequila to let the aromas come through the glass. Alternatively, you might try sniffing through each nostril one after the other. As with wine, different people will be able to pick out different aromas, depending on your susceptibility to spiciness, herbal aromas and so on.

Take a small sip first to get your palate used to the alcohol. Starting with a bit of a neutral spirit, like vodka, is even better. It’s like doing stretches for your tongue’s impending workout. Next, take the tequila onto your tongue and try to hit all of the flavor receptors — salty, bitter, sweet, and so on. “It helps to keep some liquid in your mouth,” Valdez says. “Breathe with your mouth open with the liquid in your mouth.” Finally, of course, swallow it for the back-end notes that will emerge.