What Is Tequila?

What is Tequila?

Tequila is a regional specific name for a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila. Although tequila is similar to mezcal, modern tequila differs somewhat in the method of its production, in the use of only blue agave plants, as well as in its regional specificity.

Tequila Categories: 

100% de Agave – is Tequila made with only the sugars of the Weber blue agave.

Mixed Tequila –  is Tequila made using 51% agave sugars and 49% other sugars.

Each of the tequila categories has distinct characteristics.

Types of Tequila?

Tequila Blanco | White | Silver
Clear, unaged tequila that is normally bottled right after being distilled; however, sometimes this tequila will rest for a few weeks before being bottled. 

Tequila Joven | Gold
Blanco Tequila that has not been left to rest or mature but to which colorants and flavorings, such as caramel coloring, oak tree extracts, glycerin, or sugar syrup, have been added prior to bottling. They can be made from 100% agave but are normally made with the 51% mixted tequila. The blending of silver tequila with aged or extra-aged tequila is considered gold or joven tequila.

Tequila Reposado – Rested or Aged
The first  level of aging is termed reposado or rested and is aged for a period of two months but no longer than 12 months. This is a requirement of the Mexican government. Each distillery has its own preference for the type of barrel used in aging but french oak or white oak are the most popular. The type of barrel used will have an effect on the flavor of the final bottled product.

Tequila Añejo – Extra Aged or Vintage
Añejo, which means “vintage”, can only appear on bottles that contain tequila, aged in oak barrels having a maximum capacity of 600 liters, a minimum of one year, a requirement of the Mexican government. A year of resting in a cool bodega produces a smoother and more sophisticated taste. American whiskey barrels, french oak casks, or cognac barrels, are commonly used to age this tequila. Añejos are typically aged between 1 and 3 years. They are darker in color, more complex in flavor, and smoother than reposado tequilas. The commercial alcohol by volume must be adjusted by the addition of distilled water for each type of tequila.

Tequila Extra Añejo – Ultra-Aged
Utra-aged or Extra Añejo tequila has been aged for a period of at least three years, without specifying the aging time in the label, in direct contact with the wood of oak or Encino oak containers with a maximum capacity of 600 liters. Its commercial alcohol content must be adjusted by dilution water.