By now you know (or should know) that Tequila graduated from the liquid fuel of your best college parties. In fact, the craft of Tequila-making arose from the Mexican valley that bears its name in the 1600s. That’s hundreds of years of art and science in every bottle. The finer points could take weeks to break down. Tons of research, and drinking. There’s a faster way.
Let’s refresh on the basics. Tequila and Mezcal are closely related. All Tequila is Mezcal, but not all Mezcal is Tequila. By law, real Tequila can only be produced in five Mexican states, chief among them, Jalisco. To be authentic it must be made from the Tequilana Weber or Blue Weber desert agave plant (agave has a multitude of varieties). Look for “100% agave” on the label; avoid “mixtos” which are blends lacking unique flavor profiles. Real Tequila has earthier or sweeter impressions, depending on regional micro-climates where agave grows.
From there, just remember the four major Tequila types and you’re primed:
- Blanco/Joven/Silver (aged 0-2 months)
Crystal-clear and crisp, blanco/joven Tequilas have youth on their side. A great example of this is Avión Silver with hints of citrus and fire.
- Reposado (2 months-1 year)
The word “reposado” means “rest” and this Tequila does, usually not longer than one year. A bottle of Gran Centenario Reposado exemplifies it with fruity sweet notes.
- Añejo (aged 1-3 years)
Anejo Tequilas are aged longer, in barrels that once held bourbon or whiskey. Color and character are added. Flavorful Partida Anejo is a prime example.
- Extra Añejo (aged at least 3 years)