Tequila Sunrise over Britain: Unravelling the Factors Behind Tequila’s Rise in the UK

Written by Clara Wood

August 10, 2023

We’ve definitely noticed the amount of tequila we’re buying in. Picantes and Palomas are all this summer’s rage. 

In recent years, the landscape of the UK drinks scene has been undergoing a remarkable transformation. One spirit, in particular, has been riding the waves of change and gaining a remarkable resurgence. Crafted from the blue agave plant, Tequila has a rich history dating back centuries. Initially, it was enjoyed by locals as a sipping spirit, akin to fine wine or aged whisky, in stark contrast to its humble beginnings on the UK party seen accompanied by lime and salt. But now it’s starting to forget the old days of sticky bar tops and questionable decisions and ascending to more sophisticated heights. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the factors that have contributed to the remarkable rise of tequila in the UK. 

Educating the Palate: Redefining the Tequila Experience

One of the driving forces behind tequila’s transformation in the UK has been education. Enthusiasts, bartenders, and brand ambassadors have worked diligently to dispel myths and misconceptions surrounding tequila (one look down the local Weatherspoon’s and these are quickly restored). Educational events, tastings, and seminars have allowed consumers to explore the nuances of different tequila expressions. Alternatively, they can be found displayed across the faces of young and foolish thrill seekers in bars throughout the nation on a Friday night.

Crafting Artistry: Tequila in Mixology

The rise of craft cocktails and mixology has thrust tequila into the limelight like never before. Talented mixologists wield tequila bottles like wands, conjuring up intricate and well-balanced potions that charm any consumer. From complex agave-forward cocktails to innovative fusions that blend tequila with unexpected ingredients, the artistry of mixology has given tequila a platform to shine, oh and how it does.

The Resurgence of Classic Cocktails

London’s cocktail culture has been experiencing a renaissance, with mixologists and bartenders reimagining classic cocktails and giving them a modern twist. With its diverse range of flavours and profiles, tequila has become a favoured ingredient in this creative resurgence. Mixologists have redefined tequila as a sophisticated and versatile ingredient, elevating it to new heights of creativity. The Margarita, once a modest party companion has evolved into a canvas for mixologists to showcase their skills by experimenting with different tequila expressions, citrus variations, and rimming salts. Take the Soho house, Picante de la Casa. A spicy take on the margarita created in 2012 that would become the best-selling cocktail across all the Soho Houses around the world and turn into a viral hit (quite literally). Today, the Picante remains the most ordered drink at Soho House bars around the world by a considerable margin.

Diverse and Dynamic Menus

Cocktail menus are now featuring a wide array of tequila-based concoctions that cater to all preferences. Tequila has an ability to adapt and complement a variety of other ingredients, from fresh fruits to herbal infusions, like the ultimate wingman. Meaning it has become a staple on cocktail menus that reflect the diverse tastes of consumers.

Mezcal: The Smoky Sibling of Tequila

A growing interest in unique and authentic experiences has paved the way for mezcal, tequila’s smoky and complex cousin, to make a significant impact on the city’s bar scene. Mezcalerias, dedicated establishments that specialize in mezcal, have sprung up across London, introducing patrons to the intricate world of agave spirits. The distinctive flavours of mezcal, coupled with its artisanal production methods, have captured the attention of those seeking a little extra spice in their life. If you’re done with the humdrum and the ordinary, mezcal’s the name of the game, my adventurous friend! 

Tequila has moved on from the wild party animal to the sophisticated life of the soirée. But more than just the spirit, this transformation marks changing consumer preferences that value complexity, craftsmanship, and cultural exploration. So don’t be the last one standing at the bar with no one but a slice of lime and a saltshaker to keep you company. Join me in saying Arriba to the spirited evolution of tequila and the vibrant cocktail culture it has inspired! 


Hosting an event this summer….? Forget the classic cocktail submission. Cater to everyone’s preferences and bring a touch of sophisticated Mexicana flair to the table with tantalising tequila recipes that will keep the good times rolling.  

For your cocktails, use Altos 100% agave. For sipping El Rayo or UWA are great intros to good tequila or if you really want to go to town, Clase Azul. 

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