Tequila is the victim of a lackluster reputation; it’s usually associated with margaritas when we eat Mexican food or with some hardcore partying where the shots are flowing. There’s really a lot more to tequila than meets the eye and after our latest trip to Mexico, I’m excited to share with you some of the things I learned that will help you appreciate the craftsmanship that goes behind the production and enjoyment of this spirit. So here are the 10 things you should know about tequila:
1. I hate tequila, I always get a hangover!
All these years, you may have had only yourself to blame for those tequila hangovers if you weren’t paying attention to the label. By Mexican law, tequila only has to be 51% blue agave to be dubbed tequila. These tequila mixtos are usually bad news, next time pay attention to the label and choose an 100% blue agave tequila and you’ll thank me!
2. What’s tequila made of?
There are hundreds of varieties of agave, but tequila must be made from blue agave. And the blue agave can only be grown in 5 states in Mexico. Most of the blue agave for tequila is grown in the state of Jalisco, where the town of Tequila is located.
3. Tequila is a place?
Yes!! Tequila is named after the town of Tequila, Mexico! It’s a real place and you should visit!
4. Can tequila be grown outside of Mexico?
Not only must tequila use blue agave that is grown in the 5 states in Mexico, the actual tequila has to be made there as well. Anything made outside of these 5 states is considered mezcal, which means distilled spirit made from agave.
5. How long does it take to grow a blue agave plant?
It takes a blue agave plant about 7 years to mature enough to be made into tequila. Talk about patience!
6. What kind of tequila is there?
Tequila, like bourbon and whiskey, has different varieties; some are ready to drink after the distillation process and some require barrel aging.
- Blanco is clear in color and is usually not aged at all
- Reposado is slightly golden in color and is aged from 2 months to 12 months
- Añejo is a darker gold color and is aged from 1 year to 3 years.
- In addition to these typical varieties, there is also Extra-añejo which is 3+ years. One distillery owner said his Extra-añejo was like his second child since it had been aging for 7 years!
Tequila isn’t for shooting and shouldn’t be consumed with salt and lime. Good tequilas are like a fine bourbon or whiskey and should be dipped so you can enjoy its natural flavors.
8. How should I serve my tequila then?
Tequila should actually be consumed out of tequila glasses (they look a lot like champagne flutes). This enables you to smell and and enjoy the flavors that the distilleries worked so hard to produce!
9. Tequila pairs with food?
Tequila can be paired with your favorite foods like chocolate with an Añejo or a nice steak with a Reposado! There are restaurants in Mexico that have tequileros, the equivalent of a sommelier, to make the perfect tequila pairing for your meal.
10. Is a worm in my tequila a must?
There are no worms in real tequila. If you see a worm, run away!
Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll go through the whole tequila making process and how to drink it. I hope it’ll give you a whole new appreciation for this highly misunderstood beverage!