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Is Tequila An Upper or Downer?

Charl Joost
Last Updated: February 24th, 2023

Is tequila an upper or a downer? An often asked question linked to the statement that tequila is the only “upper” alcoholic spirit.

However, This statement is incorrect as tequila is a spirit containing ethanol that is a depressant.

What are Uppers and Downers?

uppers and downers

Uppers and downers are slang terms for how substances will affect the central nervous system. Uppers are stimulants that increase energy and alertness and can heighten feelings of invincibility.

Downers are depressants that slow down the messages between the central nervous system and the brain making a person feel relaxed with a sense of well-being and will decrease alertness and focus.

What is Tequila?

what is tequila

Tequila is an alcoholic beverage produced from the fermented juices of the blue agave plant. The soils in the Tequila region are ideally suited to grow the blue agave, with the agaves grown in the highlands of the Los Altos area being larger and sweeter.

The blue agave looks similar to the aloe vera plant but is much bigger, has sharp barbs on the tips, and is harvested after seven to ten years of growth. The blue agave produces a bulb called a pina that looks similar to a white pineapple.

After harvesting, the pinas are steamed in industrial ovens and then mashed. The extracted agave juice will ferment in wooden or stainless steel vats for several days. The resultant wort is then distilled twice to produce clear tequila.

The liquor is either bottled as clear Tequila (Blanco) or pumped into bourbon barrels to develop a mellow flavor and amber color. Reposado tequilas age for a minimum of 2 to 9 months. Anejo tequilas are aged for 18-36 months.

Tequila is a Depressant

tequila is a depressant

Alcohol (ethanol) is a depressant that depresses the central nervous system causing a calming and sleep-inducing effect.

Tequila is a depressant as it contains alcohol, the same intoxicating ingredient that beer, wine, whiskey, and vodka have, with an alcohol content of 38 to 40% ABV, the same as whiskey or vodka.

Tequila will thus affect you in precisely the same way as any other alcoholic drink.

Many people believe that when they drink tequila, it makes them act differently than when they drink only beer or wine; however, this is not the case, as the alcohol in beer, wine, tequila, and vodka all affect the brain in the same way.

How Tequila is Drunk

how tequila is drunk

How an alcoholic drink is consumed can affect how you behave; for example, tequila is usually drunk in the form of shots, with several being taken in quick succession, whereas wine is typically sipped slowly to relax.

Tequila has a reputation for making any occasion raucous and wild, and this is quite often the case, but that is due to tequila being associated with heavy binge drinking.

Drinking excessive amounts of whiskey or vodka in a short time will have the same effect.

Tequila, as a mix in a cocktail such as a Margarita, is usually sipped slowly, thus creating a more relaxed, euphoric mood.

Effects of Tequila (alcohol)

The effect of alcohol is to slow down brain activity, and how much and how fast you drink will determine the symptoms of intoxication; among others, slurred speech, slowed reaction time, and impaired vision.


How is tequila different from other alcohol?

Tequila is distilled from the agave plant’s fermented liquid, giving it a different character from other alcohols that only affect its taste and has no secret ingredient that makes you want to go wild and party.

How many shots of tequila are needed to get drunk?

The average person will get mildly drunk after two shots, moderately drunk after four shots, and if more is consumed, he will be very drunk.

Is Tequila An Upper or Downer – Conclusion

Although tequila can initially have some stimulant effects, such as increased heart rate and a decrease in inhibitions, it is primarily a depressant – meaning it slows the body down. It is not an upper but a downer.

About The Author

Charl Joost

Charl is a trainer, public speaker, and professional writer. While he has been coached to niche down, he has many passions. These include golf, gardening, technology, and a decent cup of coffee or two. Charl loves to learn about new products and tries everything he writes about.

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