Bananas And Tequila Are The Unexpected Pairing That's Worth A Shot

Whether you enjoy your favorite liquor neat or in a cocktail, pairing it with complementary flavors can amplify the whole experience. Congruent (i.e. similar) flavors will play together beautifully, while combos with contrasting flavors balance each other out. Bananas and tequila, for example, are an unlikely duo that shines thanks to their distinctive yet well-matched tastes. 

We know tequila pairs well with fruit, as it's is often seen in citrus-centric mixers like the Paloma cocktail. Those who find tequila drinks to sting too much might like it with bananas even more. The sharp, earthy, and sometimes smoky elements of a young blanco or reposado tequila can be tempered by the smooth, creamy texture of bananas. The light, tropical sweetness of the fruit is also a great match for the toasty vanilla and caramel notes that are found in barrel-aged añejo tequilas.

By playing with these ingredients, you can create delicious drinks with both congruent and contrasting effects. Try mixing up a banana margarita or blending a banana daiquiri with fresh fruit, or mix a banana liqueur with a blanco tequila with some bite. Or, mix up a milkshake-like Dirty Banana — a combo of rum, fresh banana, banana and coffee liqueur, and half-and-half — with an aged tequila in place of the rum.

How to use bananas and tequila in drinks

Bananas are no stranger behind the bar. They are well-suited for blended drinks with a rich texture, and are a refreshing addition to tropical tequila cocktails. Knowing when to use an añejo versus a reposado tequila can helpful. Añejo varieties, aged for one to three years, are smooth and rich, while reposados aged two to 11 months are lighter and earthy, making them ideal for different recipes. Unaged blanco tequila adds an extra burn to a drink that's more strongly sweet and fruity. 

Incorporating bananas into blended drinks can be as simple as throwing some slices into the blender, but for a less creamy result, infused liqueurs introduce banana flavors without an added texture. If you like some smoke in your liquor, you should get to know mezcal and try combining it with the fruit, too. This cousin of tequila makes for a bold, spicy sidekick for Banane du Brésil, a popular South American banana liqueur.

If you like to lean into the spicier side of tequila, infuse your banana liqueur with ginger and turmeric. Your homespun concoctions will be refreshingly sweet and spicy. Keep in mind that the fruit doesn't need to be the defining characteristic of a drink — the banana-shy can try just a slice or two as a fun garnish on a favorite tequila tipple. The combo just might shock you with its deliciousness.