WHAT IS TEQUILA?
Tequila, named after the colonial town where it was first produced, is the national spirit of Mexico. Mexican law requires all tequila to be made from blue agave grown in specific areas of Mexico. The Mexican state of Jalisco is the primary region and a small number of other designated areas.
Tequila’s source of fermentable sugar is the blue agave plant. The agave looks like a giant blue aloe vera plant, sometimes reaching as high as six feet tall. Although it looks like a cactus, its actually a member of the Lily family.
The heart of the agave plant, the pina, is harvested when perfectly ripe. The pinas are then shredded and cooked. If it is a blended tequila, additional sugars are added. If it is 100% agave tequila, no other sugars are needed, and the mixture then ferments. The mixture then goes through various stages of distillation.
When the tequila is distilled to 40% alcohol and the desired flavor is attained, it is either bottled(as an unaged, silver, blanco or plata tequila), or then placed in wooden barrels to age and enhance the flavor and character of the tequila (producing reposado and anejo).
Types of Tequila:
Blanco, silver, or plata – unaged
Gold, oro – unaged with caramel coloring added, and sometimes sugars and/or oak extract
Reposado – aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels
Anejo – aged a minimum of one year, but less than three years in oak barrels