Use Orange And Cinnamon To Give Tequila Shots A Festive Spin

With the holiday season officially here, it's the perfect time to start planning what boozy drinks you'll be serving alongside your seasonal food. Seeing as the holidays are a time of celebration, it doesn't hurt to have some tequila shots on hand — and we have the perfect way to make those shots feel more festive: Add cinnamon and orange.

For this spin on the classic shot, the cinnamon and orange will replace traditional salt on the rim and lime wedge on the side for after. Not only is the replacement much more in tune with the holiday season, but an expert has confirmed that these flavors pair extremely well with tequila. The expert in question is Jaime Salas, the Head of Agave Advocacy at Proximo Spirits, who spoke to Tasting Table about why the pairing of orange, cinnamon, and tequila is so complementary.

Salas explained, "These flavors work so well for tequila because the warmth and spice from the cinnamon and sweet citrus of the orange emphasize the very same flavors present in aged tequilas, derived from the oak aging process, creating a delicious pairing perfect for savoring during upcoming holiday festivities."

What tequilas to use and how to enjoy it

If you're intrigued by the idea of using orange and cinnamon in your tequila shot, we need to cover an important question: What tequila works best with this combo?

Salas encourages experimenting with different tequilas but recommends a reposado. He said," Given reposados are aged in wooden barrels, these tequilas generally have a warm and spicy finish that pairs well with the combination of sweet orange and cinnamon." Salas specifically recommends either Cuervo Tradicional Reposado or Gran Centenario Reposado. He picked these two because they both have notes of nuts, toffee, and vanilla, which complement the orange and cinnamon, so you can also opt for any tequila with a similar profile. If you're more of a mezcal person, Salas recommends 400 Conejos. He explains, "The balanced and mellow herbaceous notes of cooked agave complement the sweet flavor of orange, while the pleasant smoky finish of the spirit is a delicious companion to cinnamon."

After you've prepared your shot, Salas notes you don't have to down it like a typical shot, adding, "You can also consider sipping the tequila, topped with a cinnamon-dusted orange wheel." Finally, there's a cocktail option that incorporates all of these flavors: the Apple and Pear Ponche by Chef Pati Jinich, which contains one of Salas' tequila recommendations, Gran Centenario Reposado. Salas described the drink as "a cocktail recipe that brings together orange and cinnamon flavors to create a delicious cocktail perfect for the fall and winter seasons."