Simply put, tequila is a type of distilled spirit, created from the blue agave plant. It’s often created in Santiago de Tequila, Mexico and thus its name, tequila. Most types of tequila have alcohol content to a tune of 38 – 48 percent. However, there are strong tequilas that contain alcohol content to a tune of 55%. With more than 1000 brands of tequila to choose from, it’s important to get acquainted to the different types and the groups they fall into. This editorial lists the various tequila types available in the market today. Read on.
Tequilas are categorized into two main groups; Tequila mixto (mixed) and 100% blue agave. Tequila mixto is basically tequila mixed with other ingredients. Tequila mixto is comprised of 51% blue agave, while the remaining 49% is made of sugars (cane sugars). Other mixto tequilas contain additional ingredients such as oak extract flavoring, sugar based syrup, glycerin and caramel color. 100% blue agave, just as the name suggests, is comprised of blue agave only.
The Types of Tequila
These two main categories are further divided into five types of tequila, categorized with regards to how they’re aged.
It’s also known as tequila Blanco, Plata, platinum or white tequila. This is basically pure blue agave spirit. As such, it’s un-aged, clear and it has its true flavors. The Agave’s intensity is present and so is its natural sweetness. Tequila Blanco can be bottled immediately after distillation or stored for a maximum of 4 weeks. If stored for up to 2 months, it provides a smoother (suave) spirit.
Some people call it tequila Joven or tequila Oro and it looks much like aged tequila though it’s actually a young drink. It’s typically a mixto, containing colorants and flavorings. These tequilas are often cheap and therefore used in bars and restaurants for mixed drinks. However, there are exceptions where silver Tequila or Anejo Tequila are mixed with a Reposado to form Gold Tequila. When this kind of blend is used, the Gold Tequila upholds the 100% agave classification.
This is an aged drink. Tequila Reposado is also known as Rested Tequila and is rested in wooden barrels for a period of at least two months but not more than one year. This aged spirit has a golden hue and its taste adopts a good balance between wood flavors and the Agave. There are various types of barrels used when aging the Reposado Tequila including French oak and American oak. When cognac, whiskey barrels or wine barrels are used, the tequila inherits a unique flavor from the previous spirit.
Anejo Tequilas are also known as aged or extra aged tequilas. This is mainly because they are rested or stored for a minimum of one year (usually one to three years). In addition to that, they are aged in barrels that don’t exceed the capacity of 600 liters. Tequila that has been aged for this long adopts a dark color, mostly amber, and its flavor becomes smoother, richer and also more complex.
Tequila Extra Anejo
Just as the name suggests, this is an ultra aged Anejo. It’s a relatively new drink, defined in 2005 and requires to be aged for a minimum of three years in oak barrels. Just like it is in Anejo, distillers store this spirit in barrels that don’t exceed a capacity of 600 liters. This extended amount of aging give the Tequila a much darker color (mahogany). Additionally, it becomes so rich to an extent that it becomes arduous to distinguish extra Anejo tequilas from the quality aged spirits. It’s also extremely smooth and complex.
Besides the aforementioned types, there are other two types that distillers manufacture. This includes Tequila reserva which is kept in oak casks for elongated periods of time (approximately 8 years). These tequilas are very rare to find as they are manufactured in small quantities and considering the elongated aging, they often cost a fortune.
The manufacture of tequila-flavored beverages is one trend that’s on the rise. The flavors vary considerably in terms of the quality of the tequila. Other Tequila spirits you may find in the market include Tequila Cremes, Tequila Liqueurs, Tequila Infusions and Tequila Soft Drinks. These products are often used restaurant dishes and desserts as well as in specialty cocktails.
This clearly demonstrates the wide range of Tequila brands in the market. With this kind of information, you can easily pick the tequila that offers the kind of taste, flavor, richness and smoothness you desire.