A Field Guide to Tequila

What It Is, Where It's From, and How to Taste It


By Clayton J. Szczech

Formats and Prices




$16.99 CAD



  1. ebook $12.99 $16.99 CAD
  2. Hardcover $25.00 $32.00 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around October 3, 2023. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

For the tequila curious and the tequila connoisseur alike, a complete, illustrated guide to one of the world’s most popular spirits
Time to put away the shot glass—tequila long ago left its spring break clichés in the dust. Today, it is not just a sophisticated global phenomenon but is poised to surpass vodka to become the number one spirit in the U.S. by sales. Which means there’s no better time for A Field Guide to Tequila, the new bible on this popular spirit.
            Whether you’re already an aficionado who likes to slow-sip an artisanal extra-añejo or a margarita lover curious about your favorite drink and what makes it special, A Field Guide to Tequila takes you step by step into everything that makes tequila tequila, from how it came about, to how it’s made, to how to select, taste, and serve it. Beginning with the origin of every bottle of tequila—the unique blue agave (which is actually much closer, biologically, to a lily than a cactus)—it’s all here: The life cycle of the blue agave and the complex process of turning it into liquor (hint: There’s harvesting, steaming, roasting, and—still in use in one legendary distillery—working mules). The five classes of tequila, including the unfortunate myth of blanco’s inferiority. How to read a tequila label. The seventeen tequila producers to know and brands you need to explore, from giants of the industry like Patrón and José Cuervo to traditionalists, artisans, and innovators, including Tapatío, Siete Leguas, Ocho, G4, and Cava de Oro. The real deal with so many celebrity tequila brands, a phenomenon that started with Bing Crosby. How to set up a tequila tasting. A complete guide to tequila tourism, including dos and don’ts for visiting the town of Tequila, best times to go, essential stops, and a glossary of Spanish. Oh, and a recipe for a best-ever margarita, plus three other classic tequila cocktails, including the Rolling Stones’ favorite, the tequila sunrise.
            With its striking visuals and appealing package, A Field Guide to Tequila is a go-to reference that felicitously also feels like a real gift book—and vice versa.


  • Szczech leaves no stone unturned in this comprehensive guide to Mexico’s most celebrated agave spirit. From his expert explanations of the nuts and bolts of production to his thoughtful exploration of industry trends and debunking of myths, he distills his knowledge and experience into an enjoyable read. A Field Guide to Tequila is a valuable resource for the serious agave enthusiast and the casual dabbler alike.
    Emma Janzen, Author of Mezcal: The History, Craft and Cocktails of the World's Ultimate Artisanal Spirit, and co-author of The Way of the Cocktail and The Bartender's Manifesto
  • A Field Guide to Tequila offers a profound yet accessible dive into the world of tequila. This much-anticipated book is replete with rich historical and cultural detail and offers fresh perspectives on tequila marketing, regulatory policies, and environmental concerns. Szczech’s close attention to the people and communities shaping, and shaped by, tequila sets his writing apart. A Field Guide to Tequila will be an invaluable resource for aficionados and novices alike.
    Dr. Marie Sarita Gaytán, author of ¡Tequila!: Distilling the Spirit of Mexico
  • Szczech deftly navigates a vast landscape of information and presents it in a way that’s rich with detail yet easy to understand. A definitive book on not only the spirit itself, but the stories of the people and the place that make tequila so special.
    Jeffrey Morgenthaler, author of The Bar Book and Drinking Distilled
  • This is the tequila book the world needs....Szczech has done a great job at nailing the parameters that make it what it is, along with highlighting some of the largest and most traditional players in the category. This is now the first book I recommend about the category.
    Camper English, author of Doctors and Distillers: The Remarkable Medicinal History of Beer, Wine, Spirits, and Cocktails

On Sale
Oct 3, 2023
Page Count
248 pages

Clayton J. Szczech

About the Author

CLAYTON J. SZCZECH is a writer and sociologist who has been studying and teaching about Mexican alcoholic beverages since 2006. He has operated the groundbreaking educational tour company Experience Agave since 2008. He cofounded La Cata, the first brand-independent tasting room in Tequila, Jalisco, in 2016. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Sunset, The Guardian, AFAR, Wine Enthusiast, Virtuoso Life, on CNN en Español, and on Amazon’s Distilling Mexico. He holds numerous certifications related to tequila and mezcal, is a permanent legal resident of Mexico, and is currently pursuing a doctorate at the University of Utah. His academic work focuses on the socioeconomic and environmental outcomes of Geographical Indication regimes, with an emphasis on Mexico. In 2023, he was selected as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. A Field Guide to Tequila is his first book.

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