Tequila, the mexican fire water. For some the nectar of the gods but for others a cursed drink. Either way it never fails to make your night.. interesting. Here we explore the finer side and reveal some unexpected facts.
Ultimately, personal taste is something undisputed. We cannot tell you what the best tasting drink would be, but at least we can make you aware of what is supposed to be the highest quality drink available.
We do that by going back to the roots of a drink. How a drink should be distilled, the aging process and what ingredients should be used to make the perfect blend. Not that we expect you to do it all by yourself, though by all means you could try.
What is Tequila?
Tequila is made from the blue Agave plant that grows in and around the area of Tequila, Mexico. And as you might have guessed; Tequila is considered the birthplace of Tequila! Amazing right! This also means that “true” Tequila can only be produced in Mexico. They even went as far as to stipulate this in the Mexican and international law. Genuine Agave Tequila can only be produced in the states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas.
Blue Agave plant looks something like this. ---->
First off all we can, bluntly, distinguish 2 different types of Tequila, namely Mixed Tequila and 100% Agave Tequila.
You are most probably very familiar with mixed Tequila, which you can easily get at your everyday supermarket or liquor store. And very coincidentally at all the clubs you’ve ever been to. (the stuff that generally messes you up)
By law, which the Mexicans take very seriously (trust me on this one) when it’s about Tequila, the mix only needs to be 51% distilled so they can bulk the booze and ship it across the world. The rest of the drink is just water and flavour.
Don’t mess with the Mexicans and their laws. If it is not 100% Agave don’t even try to put it on your label. The 100% Agave Tequila is exactly as the name suggest, 100% distilled Agave extract. Distilleries are only allowed to add distilled water to manage the alcohol level.
4 different classifications
Besides the mix and 100% Agave there are several different classifications to Tequila.
Silver or Blanco/White are clear Tequilas with little to no aging (no more than 60 days in stainless steel tanks). It can be either mixed or 100% Agave. These are usually used for mixing.
Gold Tequila is generally mixed Tequila. It is unaged silver Tequila that has been coloured and flavoured.
Reposado (Rested) is aged in wooden tanks. This class can be either mix or 100% Agave and is the most popular version of Tequila in Mexico. Once again by Mexican law (no seriously, they take this shit serious), the liquor needs to be aged for at least 2 months but the higher-end drinks are usually aged 3 to 9 months.
Añejo (Old) Tequila is aged for a minimum of 12 months in wooden barrels. Best quality Añejo you can get are mostly aged for 18 months to 3 years for mixed Tequila and even up to 4 years for 100% Agave. However, some distillers are not a huge fan of excessive aging (3-4 years) because “oak aging will overwhelm the distinctive earthy and vegetal agave flavour notes”.
To have a quick read about the different brands and flavours, click here.
Or if you want to go into full detail reading, you can visit this website.