The reputation of tequila as a party beverage has long since faded. Modern distillers create complex spirits that are delicious neat over ice. Tequila production is an art that takes years to perfect. The best producers don’t cut corners while creating the smoothest, most sophisticated expressions possible employing age-old techniques. Here, we discuss the definition of tequila (and how it compares to Champagne), the traditional processes used to create it, and the various varieties with Tequila mexicano.
Tequila is a distilled spirit produced only in five regions of Mexico: Jalisco (where 99% and the town of Tequila located), Guanajuato, Michoacan, Tamaulipas, and Nayarit. These regions are known as the Denomination of Origin Tequila (DOT) and recognised in more than 40 countries. Tequila mexicano is made from the Agave tequilana Weber Blue, also known as blue. Only one of the 166 agave species, called Weber Blue, may be used to create tequila. Of the 166 agave species, 125 found in Mexico.
Primary Tequila varieties:
After distillation, blanco (white) or plata (silver) can be bottled right or left to rest for up to two months in neutral oak or stainless steel barrels.
Young (joven) or gold (oro) tequilas occasionally blended with matured tequilas but are more frequently unaged tequilas made in the same way as blancos but given a golden tint by the addition of colouring and flavouring compounds.
Reposado (rested) must mature for a minimum of two months and maximum 12 months in indeterminate size oak barrels or vats known as “pipones.” best for drinking and mixing beverages.
Aejo must age for at least one year or a period of one to three years in wood casks with a maximum volume of 600 litres.
Extra Aejo – These can be likened to high-end French Cognacs with similar price tags and typically have a smokey flavour. Tequilas of the Curados category, introduced in 2006, are flavoured with fruits like lemon, orange, strawberry, pineapple, and pears. A minimum of 25% agave spirit must use 75ml of sweeteners, colouring, and flavourings per litre. Seventy-five per cent of the fermentable sugars must come from cane or corn.
Tequila is often consumed neat in Mexico at room temperature, without salt or fruit slices. Equal-sized shots of tequila and sangrita, or “little blood” in Spanish, a classic Mexican libation mixed with orange juice, lime juice, pomegranate juice, and fiery chilli sauce, are prevalent in some areas. These alternatively drink with and without lime.