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T+L Reports: Tequila Expert

Once the nectar of frat parties, Mexico's favorite liquor has come of age. T+L talks to San Francisco-based tequila expert and restaurateur Julio Bermejo about how to drink it like a pro. GET REAL Look for 100 percent agave, the tuberous plant from which the spirit is made. KNOW YOUR AGE Blanco is unaged, herbaceous, and clear. Reposado, aged up to a year, is fuller bodied, and añejo, one to three years old, has an oaky flavor and deep tan hue. SKIP THE MARGARITA Sip it like they do south of the border. ORDER IT COMPLETO You'll get tequila and a palate-cleansing sangrita made of tomato, orange, and lime juices. THREE FOR THE ROAD Try the ceviche and a reposado at OYAMEL (2250 B Crystal Dr.; 703/413-2288; dinner for two $60) in Arlington, Virginia. London's MESTIZO (103 Hampstead Rd.; 44-207/387-4064; dinner for two $62) is the sexiest tequila bar in Europe. In San Francisco, Bermejo's TRES AGAVES (130 Townsend St.; 415/227-0500; dinner for two $50) has 100 varieties. ¡Salud! —CLARK MITCHELL

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