Types Of Tequila – How is Tequila Made, Mezcal vs Tequila, Tequila Brands

Types Of Tequila

Have you ever taken a shot of Tequila? Or at least seen or heard some of your friends do one? Know the types of tequila?

There is something unique about Tequila that makes it one of the popular spirits in the world of Alcoholic drinks.

Sure, it tastes different and it gives a unique flavor than any other spirits. But that’s not all!

Therefore, you need to understand a little bit of background about Tequila before getting to know its types like Reposado, Anejo and Joven.

So, what does Reposado mean? Is Anejo meaning something in Spanish? Let’s find out in detail in this article.

What is Tequila?

Tequila is a distilled spirit made from Blue Agave Plants (Agave Tequilana). 

Similar to Whiskey, there are certain laws that govern the ways Tequila can be produced. 

Tequila can only be produced in Mexico, and specifically only in certain parts of the country. Majority of Tequila comes from the State of Jalisco and in certain municipalities of Nayarit, Michoacan, Guanajuato and Tamaulipas.

Tequila is one type of Mezcal, which is the broader category of spirits made from Agave plants.

So, what is the difference between Tequila and Mezcal?

Mezcal vs Tequila:

Mezcal vs Tequila

Mezcal is a distilled spirit made from Agave plants. There are several kinds of Agave plants, and any spirit distilled from Agave plants is technically called Mezcal.

But remember, Tequila is a Mezcal by itself.

Throughout this article, you will see comparisons between Tequila and Whiskey. It is because, as you will see, they follow similar patterns throughout their production and bottling process.

No wonder, they both are valued depending on this production process.

How is Tequila made?

As we have seen before, the Blue Agave plants are the main ingredients for making this spirit.

A Blue Agave plant is a member of the Lily family, and is usually giant and has barbs on the tips. And, it looks more like an Aloe vera plant but is not the same. These plants usually take 7 to 10 years to mature and ready to be harvested. There are certain types of Agave plants that even take 25 years to mature (those used in Mezcal).

These agave plants produce a bulb-like structure underground called piña. These piñas are removed and baked to convert the starch into sugar

These baked agave piñas are then crushed to extract the juice, which is then fermented using yeast to convert sugar to alcohol

This fermented juice is later distilled to form Tequila. Here, the Tequila spirit can either be bottled immediately after the distillation or aged in oak barrels for a certain number of days or even years. 

Tequila is usually bottled with about 35% to 40% ABV alcohol, while some may even be  up to 55%.

Types of Tequila:

Types Of Tequila

Broadly, Tequila is classified into two categories – Mixto and 100% Agave. 

Mixto – this kind of Tequila should contain no more than 49% of Sugars from Non-Agave plants like Cane and Corn. They should also not contain more than 1% of additives like Caramel, oak extract or other syrups and flavoring substances.

100% – this kind has only one thing – 100% Blue Agave and literally no additives. These are the purest form of Tequila you can buy and they are marked with words like Azul, Puro or Weber Blue agave.

Apart from these categories, Tequila is usually differentiated into five types. They are

Tequila Blanco:

Also called Silver Tequila or White Tequila. This Tequila is bottled straight after distillation and filtration processes and is usually not aged or rested ( at least not more than 2 months). They are clear spirits and are usually affordable and all purpose drinks.

Tequila Reposado:

Reposado means Rested in Spanish. This Tequila is rested or Aged in Oak barrels for at least 2 months to a maximum of 12 months. Due to this aging in Oak barrels, they are soft and straw in color (similar to Whiskey). This aging imparts the flavors like caramel and Oak and you can sip it straight.

Tequila Añejo:

Añejo means Old. This type of Tequila is aged for at least 1 year to a maximum of 3 years. Due to this aging process, the spirit gets darker and more oak flavors including the caramel and butterscotch

Añejo tequila is generally valued more than the other two. This is because the aging process seems to impart that strong flavor that is usually the more preferred in the spirit world. This only gives both Whiskey and Añejo the distinction.

Extra-Añejo:

Only very recently, this extra category was introduced, to identify highly aged Tequila. Any tequila that is aged more than 3 years is called Extra – Añejo. So, these are highly valued, similar to old whiskies. Even the flavors and characteristics are similar to both.

Tequila Joven:

Also called Oro, Gold or Dorado, Jovnen is usually Gold in color because this type of Tequila is a mix of Aged and Unaged Tequila. And is similar to Blended Whiskey. They also sometimes include additives to impart flavors like Caramel or even other grain alcohols.

Reposado vs Añejo:

Both these types of Tequila are aged and the difference is in the aging period. Reposado (meaning Rested) is aged for a minimum of 2 months to a maximum of 12 months while Añejo (meaning Old) is aged from 1 year to 3 years. 

Both have a significant change in their colors and flavors depending on how much time they are rested in Oak barrels. The higher the aging, the more distinct the oaky flavors are and darker the color is. 

Reposado is good for Cocktails and even for consuming neat (only if you get high quality reposado) while Añejo is best enjoyed on the rocks. If you are able to purchase a good quality Añejo Tequila, you can just have them on the rocks, and you will find no faults. 

You may still replace Whiskey with Añejo in certain cocktails, but do it only if it is absolutely necessary. 

How To Drink Tequila:

Since there are several kinds of Tequila, you can drink Tequila in different forms. 

First up, the Tequila Blanco is a clear and usually mild sweet spirit, which can be consumed straight as a shooter drink or mixed with cocktails. Tequila shots usually have Blanco or sometimes Reposado.

Añejo and Extra Añejo are usually consumed on the rocks or neat just like how you drink a bourbon or scotch. 

Joven is better suited for Cocktails. 

Tequila Cocktails:

Tequila Cocktails

There are plenty of cocktails made using Tequila, but let us see some of the famous and most popular ones.

Margarita: A classic cocktail! Everyone knows about Margarita and there are so many variations to this Margarita drink. But, classic always remains classic and is made using Tequila as the primary ingredient. Mix Tequila, Cointreau and Lime Juice and you have your Margarita ready! Use either a Blanco or Reposado!

Tequila Sunrise: Alright, this is arguably the most popular cocktail exclusive to Tequila. A brilliantly looking cocktail like a Sunrise, this one uses Tequila, Orange Juice and Grenadine

So use Blanco! A quality Blanco!

Paloma: Yet another Blanco Tequila specific Cocktail. Add some Tequila, Grapefruit Juice, Lime Juice, Simple Syrup and Soda water and you are good to go!

Tequila Brands:

Almost 75% of Tequila produced in Mexico is imported by the United States. And more and more countries seem to expand their Tequila market in recent times. 

Let us see some of the best Tequila brands you can buy.

Blanco Tequila:

Casamigos Blanco
Patron Silver
123 Organic Blanco

Reposado:

Don Julio Reposado
Herradura Reposado
Clase Azul Reposado

Añejo / Extra Añejo:

1800 Añejo
Solenta Organic Añejo
Don Julio 1942
Cazadores Extra Añejo

Joven

Casa Dragones Joven
Jose Cuervo Especial

Well, I think we have, by now, understood more about Tequila and why all the hype is around this special spirit!

So go, grab some nice Tequila and enjoy your drink!

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