Why Is Tequila An Upper?

Tequila is a distilled alcoholic beverage that originated in the town of Tequila, in the western Mexican state of Jalisco. It is made from the blue agave plant, and is known for its unique flavor and the effect it has on the body. One common belief is that tequila is an “upper,” meaning that it has stimulating effects on the body, rather than being a depressant like other forms of alcohol. In this article, we will explore the science behind this belief and examine the factors that make tequila unique.

The Role of Agave

One factor that sets tequila apart from other types of alcohol is the presence of the agave plant. The blue agave plant is rich in fructans, a type of carbohydrate that is not fully digested in the human body. This means that when we consume tequila, the fructans remain in the digestive tract and act as a type of dietary fiber. This can have a number of positive effects on the body, including improved digestion and an increase in the production of certain hormones.

The Importance of Distillation

Another key factor in the unique effects of tequila is the distillation process. Unlike other forms of alcohol, tequila is distilled at a relatively high proof level. This means that it has a higher concentration of alcohol compared to other drinks, such as beer or wine. When we consume tequila, the high proof level means that the alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream more quickly, which can create a sense of euphoria and stimulation.

The Effect of Congeners

Congeners are chemicals that are produced during the fermentation and distillation process of alcohol. They are responsible for the distinct flavor and aroma of different alcoholic beverages. In the case of tequila, the congeners present in the drink may contribute to the stimulating effect that it has on the body. This is because tequila contains lower levels of congeners compared to other alcoholic beverages, which can lead to fewer negative side effects, such as headaches and nausea.

Tequila and Agave Nectar

Tequila is often consumed in combination with other ingredients, such as agave nectar. Agave nectar is a natural sweetener that is made from the sap of the agave plant. It has a low glycemic index, meaning that it does not cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. When agave nectar is consumed with tequila, it can help to offset the negative effects of alcohol on the body, such as dehydration.


In conclusion, the idea that tequila is an “upper” is based on a number of factors, including the presence of fructans in the agave plant, the high proof level of the drink, and the lower levels of congeners compared to other alcoholic beverages. While tequila does have some unique properties that can have a stimulating effect on the body, it is important to remember that it is still an alcoholic beverage and should be consumed in moderation. As with any type of alcohol, excessive consumption can lead to negative side effects and long-term health problems.

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