Tequila Learning


 

 
Tequila is Mexico’s national spirit or drink. It is a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant and best known for its distinctly bold flavour as a staple ingredient in many classic cocktails. There are two grades of Tequila: Tequila and 100% Agave Tequila.
 

Tequila or 100% Agave Tequila?  

Technically, Tequila can include up to 49% of other fermented sugar sources, which can even include such sources as high fructose corn syrup, sugar, or molasses. However, 51% of the fermentable sugars must come from the Agave tequilana Weber, Azul (blue) variety. This means that Tequila is actually a mixed alcohol and is where the term “mixto” comes from; although, that term is no longer commonly used as it is not an authorized labelling term.

 

100% Agave Tequila must be made using 100% blue agave or Agave tequilana Weber, Azul (blue) variety and is pure, without any fillers or additives. If you see the following on the label: “100% de agave”, “100% puro de agave”, “100% agave”, “100% puro agave” you will know that it is a quality product that is government regulated and meets this standard.

 

Fun Fact

The agave plant is NOT a cactus, though it is commonly mistaken for one. It is a member of the Amaryllis (Lily) family. This means that it is more closely related to a Lily or Yucca plant than a cactus.

 

Silver or Blanco Tequila

Silver Tequila is a designation of the Tequila’s clarity. It does not mean second place or second best, it means that it is a clear spirit. Silver Tequila is also known as Blanco or Plata Tequila. Blanco Tequila or 100% agave Tequila is considered by many to be the truest expression that a Tequila can have. Unlike whiskey, this spirit is not aged. It spends only 60 days (at most) in stainless steel barrels or flavour neutral oak. If there is a slight golden colour from the short period of aging, the colour can be filtered out in order to remain a clear spirit.

Blanco Tequila gains its namesake for the clarity of the Tequila or spirit. It is clear and unblemished to the eye. It has the most pronounced notes of its raw material: agave.

 

Patron Silver Tequila
PATRON
SILVER TEQUILA
Casamigos Blancos Tequila
CASAMIGOS BLANCOS
TEQUILA
1800 Silver Tequila
1800 SILVER
TEQUILA
El Jimador Blanco Tequila
EL JIMADOR
BLANCO TEQUILA
Cazadores Blanco
CAZADORES BLANCO
TEQUILA

 

Tequila Definitions - Reading the Label 

 

Tequila 100% Agave:

Must be made using 100% blue agave or Agave tequilana Weber, Azul (blue) variety. Tequilas that meet this standard of 100% agave Tequila have this designation on the label: “100% de agave”, “100% puro de agave”, “100% agave”, “100% puro agave”. 
 

Tequila (Mixto):

This grade of Tequila requires that 51% of the fermentable sugars to come from the Agave tequilana Weber, Azul (blue) variety. Tequila can include up to 49% of other fermented sugar sources. These may be other agave species or even non agave sources such as high fructose corn syrup, sugar, or molasses. 
 

Piña:

The bulbous base part of the agave plant. Once the spiny leaves are cut off the plant, the remaining part is called the piña as it resembles a giant pineapple. Mature piñas used in Tequila production can weigh up to 90kgs or close to 200lbs.
 

Abocado:

A process of adding a controlled quantity of one or more of the following to Tequila to soften it: caramel, oak extract, glycerin, or sugar syrup. 
 

Blanco/Silver/Plata:

Clear Tequila that is generally not aged. It spends only 60 days at most, in stainless steel barrels or flavour neutral oak. If there is a slight golden colour from the short period of aging, the colour can be filtered out in order to remain a clear spirit.
 

Joven/Gold:

A Blanco Tequila with added abocado. Blending in a small amount of Reposado or Añejo to the Blanco is also considered to be Joven.  
 

Reposado:

Tequila “rested” in oak barrels for a minimum of 2 months. 
 

Añejo:  

Tequila aged at least one year in oak barrels 600 liters or smaller.   
 

Muy Añejo/Extra Añejo:

“Ultra Aged” Tequila spending a minimum of 3 years in oak barrel 600 liters or smaller.  
 

Mezcal:  

A distilled spirit from Mexico that also uses agave as its base material. Mezcal is from a different designated zone in Mexico than Tequila is. Mezcal has its production methods as well as regulations that they must abide by.    
 

NOM:

Norma Official Mexicana number. It is a number that licensed Tequila producers are issued by the CRT that shows they abide by all the regulations of Tequila. Each number is linked to a specific producer.
 

CRT:

Tequila Regulatory Council (Spanish: Consejo Regulador del Tequila), is the governing body of Tequila and its registered producers. They maintain the standards of the product.

 

Espolon Blanco Tequila
ESPOLON BLANCO
TEQUILA
Suaza Hornitos Plata Tequila
SAUZA HORNITOS 
PLATA TEQUILA
Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver Tequila
JOSE CUERVO
TRADICIONAL SILVER TEQUILA
Tromba Blanco
TROMBA BLANCO
TEQUILA

 

 

Fun Fact!

Tequila can only be made in Mexico. It can also only be made in select municipalities within Jalisco, Nayarit, Guanajuato, Michoacán, and Tamaulipas. Beverages must also meet strict government regulations in order to be Tequila. This is much like the Champagne or the Bordeaux AOCs of France.

 

Tequila has a protected region of origin, much like the ones that France has. The Declaration for the Protection of Appellation of Origin Tequila (also called the Denomination of Origin Tequila – DOT) is what protects Tequila. On Tequila labels you will find a number on it. This is the NOM or the Norma Official Mexicana number. It is a number that licensed Tequila producers are issued by the government that shows they abide by all the regulations of Tequila. Each number is linked to a specific producer. Using the NOM, you should be able to look up a producer’s other products.

 

 


 

What should Tequila taste like? 

This is a complicated question. There is no ONE perfect Tequila flavour profile. There are in fact many perfect flavour profiles. They are combinations of the notes listed below; you just have to find the right Tequila to sing for you:

Great Tequila contains the following:

  • Fresh agave - the sharp leafed succulent from which Tequila is made. It has been compared to hints of strong green pepper.
  • Bitter citrus - this note is comparable to grapefruit or perhaps Pomelos.
  • Floral notes - this flavour is subtle and usually only adds a hint of sweetness. This is the base flavour of cooked agave juice.
  • Alcohol - Tequila often has a pronounced alcohol “richness” that balances out these other notes.

 

 



 

Fun Fact

Tequila is a comparatively young alcohol. In 1795, the first license to distill was granted to José Maria Guadeloupe Cuervo. Over time, this has been shortened to José Cuervo. It is now the number 1 selling Tequila world-wide, and is an 11th generation family run business in Jalisco, Mexico.   

 

 


 

What to Serve Tequila With 

Foods that traditionally go with Tequila are Mexican foods or foods with bold flavours like cilantro, citrus, and chili peppers. One thing to keep in mind though is the burn; alcohol enhances the spiciness in food. If you like the spice and want to enhance the spiciness of your food, sip your Tequila neat or with ice. If you want to mellow the spice of the food, serve it with a cocktail that compliments your flavours in the food. 

When to Serve Tequila 

If you want to serve Tequila, or 100% Agave Tequila, like a local from Mexico: serve it neat. No salt or lime is required. The use of Tequila or 100% Agave Tequila in cocktails is gaining popularity the world over. Tequila or 100% Agave Tequila is popular from your classic Margarita, Tequila Sunrise, or Paloma cocktail. Give it a taste, try it on its own, make a classic cocktail, or substitute Tequila for your usual liquor in your favourite cocktail. Who knows, maybe you will find a new favourite or invent your own signature cocktail!

 


 

Fun Fact

There is no worm in the Tequila bottle. Tequila does not permit any additions to the liquid. The worm is a tradition found in some Mezcal bottles, not Tequila.