You know the drill. It gets to that certain part of the evening and someone thinks it’s a good idea to order a tequila. A round of shots appear – you might protest at first – but then one goes down and that’s it – you’ve got the Flava! Lick the salt, do the shot, then suck on a slice of lime. It’s tradition.
But actually, it has absolutely no rooting in Mexican culture. They would never approach tequila (particularly quality, 100% agave tequila) but banishing the taste with citrus. And while some of them will take a pinch of salt after eating something especially spicy to neutralise the flavour, the salt n lime combo is most definitely something invented by Americans.
There is an apparent bit of history associated with the practise, that dates back to the 1930s. After an epidemic of Spanish Influenza hit Mexico then certain doctors prescribed the medicine of tequila with salt and lemon – they thought these additions would help the body absorb the tequila ore quickly and therefore hurry along the ‘remedy’. This was know as ‘tequila cruda’.
However, it is commonly known that now people only slam down salt and lemon when they’re shooting cheap tequila – and one should only ever do this with blanco tequila. Anything else and you’ll be masking the great taste and wasting your money!