It's summertime, so time for some general information about tequila, as in the different types, what is a tequila made off, why not all agave products can be called tequila, etc.

First off, what exactly is a tequila?

The distilled spirit of the agave plants in general is called mezcal.
Tequila is the product of the blue agave.While other agaves can be used, only the product of the blue agave can be called a tequila. And only if it is made in the tequila region in mexico. If made anywhere else, it can't be called a tequila, prohibited by law.
The Mexican government made this law to create a quality mark for tequila.

When the blue agave plant is around 6 to 8 years old, the leaves of the plant are removed, and the juicy heart of the plant is collected. This heart is heated and shredded. After that, it gets masurated, and the *musto* is fermented, and later distilled.

Now comes into play what style of tequila they plan to make out of it.

First off there is the choise of a pure 100% agave tequila, and then there is a mixto, a spirit with 51% pure agave, and the other 49% is often filled with sugarcane, or other sugars.
In general the 100% agave products are the one to look out for, and are in most cases superior to the mixto's, due them beeing all agave, and not a random mix with often artificial flavourings and colourings added to give the mixto a impression to be aged. All pure agave tequila's will have 100% agave text written on the label in some form.

Then there are the different types:


This is a often non aged, clear tequila. This is as pure as it gets (unless it's a mixto ofcourse..). Some brands do store the tequila in stainless steel tanks to smoothen a bit before shipping.


In most cases a mixto, where they will add colourings and flavourings to give the impression of age. But it can be a mix between a blanco or reposado or older tequila. But if so, it will tell you on the label somewhere: 100% agave.


This is a real rested tequila. Aged in wooded barrels between 2 and 11 months, it will take over a bit of the colour and taste of the wood itself. So the material and possible former uses of the barrels (storing whiskey, wines etc) can greatly effect the taste.


The next best step, tequila aged for at least a year. Since it's aged longer, it will have more properties of the wood and a darker colour.

Extra Añejo

This is a even more aged tequila, aged more then 3 years, taking yet even more properties of the wood in it.

In general, how more ages the tequila is, how better suited for sipping pure. Most blanco's can be used best for cocktails, or shots. But this also depends on the brand, and also on the pricetag of the bottle. Since time is money, the more aged a tequila is, the more you will have to pay for it. And to let a expensive extra añejo simply vanish in a mix drink and let all unique flavours get masked by the taste of something else is simply not done.

For more detailed information take a look at tequila.net.

And as always, feel free to comment.

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