Published on April 26, 2023
What do you know about the origins of Tequila?
The town of Tequila was founded in 1656 in what is now the Mexican state of Jalisco. It didn’t take long for tequila to be produced throughout the country and Jose Cuervo was the first to commercialize the product. The late 1800s saw the first exports to the United States and the following Mexican Revolution and World Wars added to the international popularity of tequila.
Tequila can only be made within particular regions of certain Mexican states. They include: 124 municipalities of Jalisco (including the town of Tequila and most of the modern tequila production), 8 municipalities in Nayarit, 7 municipalities in Guanajuato, 30 municipalities in Michoacan, and 11 municipalities in Tamaulipas.
When navigating your tequila options, you will encounter five types of tequila. They vary based on standards set by the CRT due to the manner in which they are produced. Many of the best-known brands of Tequila will offer a Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo Tequila in their portfolio.
Blanco tequila is a clear spirit that can be either 100% agave or mix to. These tequilas are “aged”— more like “rested”—no more 60 days in stainless steel tanks, if they are aged at all. The unaged Blanco’s give the drinker the rawest taste of agave available and have a notable earthy flavour that is distinctly tequila. If you have not tasted a Blanco, then you are missing out on the pure taste of the agave plant.
Silver tequila is primarily used for mixing and is perfect for almost any tequila cocktail and often smoother than the gold tequilas for shots. If you are looking for a quality, affordable, all-around tequila to keep in stock, a Blanco is your best option.
Joven or Gold Tequila: Joven (young) or oro (gold) tequilas are the ones that many older drinkers are familiar with, particularly if you spent any time doing tequila shots in the last few decades of the 20th century. Gold tequilas are responsible for many bad tequila experiences and were the most widely distributed in the U.S. during that time. These are often unaged tequilas that are typically mixtos and have been coloured and flavoured with caramel, oak extract, glycerine, syrup, and other additives. While many gold tequilas leave something to be desired in comparison to the other classes, there are now a few decent bottlings available. If you are going to drink a gold tequila, stick to.
Añejo tequila is “old” tequila. These tequilas are aged, often in white, French oak or used bourbon barrels for a minimum of one year to produce a dark, very robust spirit. Most Añejos are aged between 18 months and three years while some of the best can spend up to four years in barrels. Many tequileros believe that aging longer than four years ruins the earthy flavour tones of the spirit. Añejo tequilas tend to be very smooth with a nice balance of agave and oak. You will often find butterscotch and caramel undertones, which makes these perfect for sipping straight (chilled if you like) or for those special cocktails.
Reposado (rested) tequilas are aged in wood casks for a minimum of two months and many are aged from three to nine months. The barrels mellow the flavours of a pure Blanco and impart a soft oak flavour to the agave as well as giving the tequila its light straw colour. It has become popular for distilleries to age their tequilas in used bourbon barrels, which adds another dimension to the finished taste.
A little more expensive than Blanco’s, reposado tequilas are the middle ground of the three main types found that are now pretty standard in a brand’s tequila line-up. They are versatile enough to be used in a great number of tequila cocktails, particularly those that have lighter flavours like the margarita. Reposados also make great sipping tequilas.
Jose Cuervo Especial gets its distinctive golden colour and smooth mellow taste from resting in oak casks. Drink neat, on the rocks or as a base for a superior Margarita.
The aromas and flavours of rich, sweet, freshly roasted coffee with notes of chocolate, vanilla and agave combine to give a smooth, rich coffee finish.
A signature double-distilled 1800 Silver Tequila infused with natural, ripe coconut flavor. With its slightly-sweet and medium-bodied tropical taste, this versatile spirit is delicious on the rocks.
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About the author
Chloe looks after all copywriting and proof-reading for Drink Warehouse UK, working with the Marketing team to deliver educational content to all our customers. She has spent many years in the hospitality sector, moving from behind the bar to now helping venues to stock their own. You can find more from Chloe about beer, cider, spirits, wine, non-alcoholic, soft drinks and RTDs all over our blogs, website, social media and Set The Bar magazine.