“Drinking tequila is more about the journey than the destination”
~ Rainbow Rowell
Today is Cinco De Mayo so it only seems fitting that this post relates to the shining qualities surrounding tequila. In my younger days, tequila meant nothing more than party shots and an almost certain headache. Thank goodness I’ve evolved. While shots still have their place, there is a much higher relevance for this fascinating distilled beverage.
Our tequila journey started initially because John and I both have great regard for a well made margarita. What began as exploration for the best cocktail ingredients has morphed into an immense appreciation for the complexity that tequila offers all on its own. We recently purchased tequila sipping glasses and like wine glasses they do make a difference in the tasting experience. Shopping for tequila has taken on new meaning now that we are armed with the information below.
Tequila is made from the blue agave plant and there are two categories that you need to be aware of. 100% De Agave is made with only the sugars of the weber blue agave plant. Mixto is made with 51% agave sugars and 49% other sugars.
Blanco/White/Silver – Clear and unaged, it is usually bottled shortly after being distilled.
Joven/Gold – Tequila that is not left to mature but has added colorants or flavorings. Some common additions are caramel coloring, oak tree extracts, glycerin or sugar syrup.
Reposado (Rested or Aged) – The tequila must be stored in wood barrel for at least 2 months but no longer than 12 months. This is a strict requirement put in place by the Mexican government. Most often, French or white oak barrels are utilized. The type of barrel used makes has a broad impact on the characteristics of the final product.
Anejo (Extra Aged or Vintage) – Bottles can only be labeled Anejo if the tequila is aged in oak barrels with a maximum capacity of 600 liters and for a minimum of 1 year with the typical aging process being 1-3 years. This process produces a refined product.
Extra Anejo (Ultra Aged) – Must be aged in wood or oak for a period of at least three years. The maximum 600 liter capacity of the barrel is applicable with this variety as well.
It is also important to note that tequila production is territory specific. To be called tequila it must come from agave in five Mexican regions: Jalisco and specific boardering areas of the surrounding states including Guanajuato, Michoacán and Nayarit. The exception is a small area in the state of Tamulipas. If it is not produced in one of these areas it must be called Mezcal.
So mix it, sip it but most of all enjoy it!
If you are looking for a margarita recipe for an upcoming fiesta, the Cadillac Margarita is our favorite recipe so far. We used Herradura tequila, Grand Marnier and fresh squeezed lime juice. Cheers!
Stay tuned for a margarita-centric post soon. Feel free to share your tequila musings with us! I would love to hear all about your favorites.
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