How Tequila Appeared
As Mexican legend goes, tequila was born during the severe thunderstorm when lightning struck a crop of agaves and caused a fire. The fumes of the burning plant were sweet and pleasant, so the native Aztecs took notice. They found the way to ferment agave and discovered the white potion gave them feelings of euphoria. That milky white fermented drink was the granddaddy of tequila, and they called it “Pulque” (in Spanish).
Tequila is a specific type of mezcal that is made under strict regulations, authenticated by the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) such as:
- The teritory of production. Tequila can be made in 5 Mexican states: Jalisco, Tamaulipas, Nayarit, Michoacán, and Guanajato.
- Tequila can be produced from blue agave (also known as Tequilana Weber) only.
- The ABV must be between 35% up to 55% alcohol by volume.
- Labeling. Each bottle of tequila must have the following info on the bottle: brand name, "Tequila", category (100% agave), ABV, the Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM) number.
Types of Tequila
Depending on the percentage of agave content in the spirit, there are two categories of tequila:
- 100% Agave Tequila means that 100% sugar alcohol of this spirit comes from exclusively Blue Agave and nothing else. Apart from the 100% Agave mark on the bottle, there is one more prompt that will help you to choose the best tequila. There are 5 regions of Mexico, where tequila is protected as a designation of origin product. These are Jalisco, Tamaulipas, Nayarit, Michoacán, and Guanajato. If you see on of these names on the label that means that this bottle is definitely worth buying.
- Mixto Tequilas (you’ll just see ‘tequila’ on the bottle) means that up to 49% of the alcohol has been derived from non agave sugars, most commonly corn or sugar cane, the artificial coloring can be added as well. Avoid this type of tequila, as it is not a pure spirit that can bring you an unpleasant present the next morning — a hangover.
Within these classes, there are such categories of tequila :
Blanco (Plata) Tequila, also known as “Silver Tequila”. It is not aged tequila and it is bottled soon after distillation. Can be in contact with oak casks for up to 60 days. The tasting profile of silver tequila includes the strong herbal notes, citrus, pepper, and sea salt hints and a subtle floral touch.
Reposado Tequla, reposado means “rested”. This type of tequila is aged for a minimum of two months and no more than 1 year. Reposado tequila has a pleasant golden color and delightful smoky aroma. Reposados balance the boldness of a Blanco with the smooth caramel and vanilla notes of toasted oak.
Anejo Tequila, meaning "aged tequila". Has to spend a minimum of one year, and no more than three, in oak casks no larger than 600 litres. Often those barrels were previously used for ageing whiskey. The result is typically an oaky tequila with a long and complex finish.
Extra-Anejo, meaning “extra-aged tequila”. Spent at least three years in oak barrels no larger than 600 litres, these are the oldest and most expensive tequilas. Oak notes are dominating. Extra-Anejo tequila has a lot in common with cognac.
Curados, is a new type of tequila, launched in 2006. This tequila is flauvored with natural ingredients, such as lemon, orange, strawberry, or pineapple. It consists of a minimum 25% of agave spirit, and 75% of other ingredients such as cane and corn sugars, sweeteners, and flavourings.
How to drink Tequila?
In its motherland, Mexico, tequila is drunk neat, at room temperature. As for the salt and lime, these things are nothing but the aids for drinking low-qulaity, sharp tequila. If you choose a 100% blue agave tequila, there is no need to drink it with salt and lime as the spirit is smooth and sippable.
Tequila is the base in many of the world’s favourite cocktails such as Margarita, Tequila Sunrise, Paloma.
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