Knock Back Some Tequila… Aye Caramba!

Used during rituals some 2,000 years ago, Tequila is a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, 65 km northwest of Guadalajara, and in the highlands of the north western Mexican state of Jalisco. The liquor is made by peeling, roasting and crushing the Agave plant, which is then fermented and distilled. While premium tequila is only made up of agave, the cheaper varieties are usually distilled by using both, agave or other sugars. Premium Tequila is usually distilled twice. The two types are generally referred to as highlands and lowlands, but are never mentioned on the label.

One of the main problems of people who buy Tequila is that they choose Tequila based on its popularity, thinking that popularity equals quality. But with Tequila, that is not always the case, which is why people need to explore different brands and get familiar with the different tastes out there. For those who are interested in either grabbing a bottle at a liquor store or having a frozen margarita at the bar, this is for you.

If the label on the bottle doesn’t say 100% agave, it means that the spirit has been blended with artificial flavors, colorings and fillers. These kinds of tequilas do not have a great taste and obviously cannot be considered as pure. When it comes to Tequilas, the small family distilleries often produce more vibrant tastes than the ones that are usually found plastered on billboards.

Joven

These tequilas are also known as suave, gold and abocado, which all imply youth and smoothness. Joven can be made up of 100% agave, but is usually made with 50% mixed tequila.

Blanco

This type is usually bottled right after being distilled, which gives it its clear white color and its name.

Reposado

The first level of aging is usually termed as reposado or ‘rested’. Each distillery is required by the Mexican government to the tequila not be rested for more than twelve months. The tannins and resins that are used in the reposado give it a subtle nuance which distinguishes it from the rest.

Anejo

Anejo, means “vintage”. A whole year of resting produces a spirit which is smoother and more sophisticated in taste. Anejo is usually aged for one to three years, they are darker in color and have a more complex flavor.

Extra Anejo

This classification of tequila has been around for a while now. Extra Anejo or ultra-aged tequila is aged for atleast three years, which makes it so strong that the commercial alcohol must be adjusted by diluting it with water.

Tasting Tequilas

To many of us tequilas are synonymous with shots, but the best way to truly enjoy it is to sip it neat. Tequila is most often served in a narrow shot glass, but can also be found in anything from a snifter, tumbler and long-stemmed Riedel tequila glass. While sipping tequila is always considered as a reasonable option for those who want to experience the subtle flavors, Tequila is best known for its role in Margaritas.