El Pasoans, Texans in general for that matter, love tequila ... silver, reposada, anejo ... you name it, we'll drink it.

We all have our favorites but many want to step up their game some or get something special for an occasion or a gift or something.

Once you've decided to step out of your comfort zone, here is how to tell if a tequila is good BEFORE you spend a lot of money on it.

First of all, there are several types of tequila Blanco (AKA "Silver" and my personal favorite), Reposado, Anejo, "Extra" Anejo, (this one's new to me) and Mezcal.

So, how do you tell a good tequila without actually buying and/or tasting, it? It's actually pretty simple.

There are rules regarding the distilling of tequila, for example, it must be made in one of these areas of Mexico: Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, or Tamaulipas.

Those rules are taken VERY seriously. So much so that a Norma Oficial Mexicana, (NOM) is applied to every bottle of Tequila made.

The NOM can then be searched on websites like this one and will tell you lots of stuff about the tequila in question. Like which distillery made it for example.

Believe it or not, there are over 3,000 brands of tequila but only 200 distilleries so, there's some "sharing" going on.

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Some NOMS are associated with hundreds of tequila brands, indicating perhaps a lower quality product as these enormous distilleries are often known for using additives in their products to create detectable taste differences between the brands they produce. Whereas smaller, family-owned distilleries will carry their own unique NOM.

You can also find out what kind of water the distillery uses, whether or not they offer tours and much, much more.

A NOMS can pretty much make anyone a tequila expert, even if they don't even drink.

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