Tequila is a spirit produced from the blue agave plant. Unlike other major spirit categories, tequila can only be made in a few designated areas in Mexico. It can be aged in oak barrels or bottled straight from the still, allowing for a wide variety of styles and flavor profiles. Tequila is most often blended together with other tequila distillate creating a 100% agave product, or mixed with grain spirit resulting in what is called a “mixto.” Origin: Believed to have originated around the town of Tequila, in the State of Jalisco in the 16th century. The highly fermentable sugars from the agave plant were fermented into a low alcohol juice called pulque before Spanish settlers distilled it into a spirit.
White or Blanco
Blanco tequila can be bottled right after distillation, often blending with water to reduce the alcohol proof. It can be either 100% agave or blended with grain to create a mixto.
Reposado is tequila that is “rested” for at least two months in oak vats or barrels. Most reposados are 100% agave, but can be made as a mixto.
Añejo is the Spanish word for “aged.” Añejo tequila must be aged in oak barrels for at least one year. Most añejos are 100% agave but can be made as a mixto.
o Established in 2006 as an official category of Tequila, Extra Anejo tequilas are aged in oak barrels a minimum of 3 years. It is not uncommon for some of these to also be finished in other types of barrels such as Burgundy wine, or sherry barrels.
Usually labeled gold tequila, due to the addition of caramel coloring to darken the liquid. The only difference between gold and silver tequila is the color from the caramel.
While tequila is made from only Blue Weber Agave, Mezcal can be made from any type of Agave, which there are many types found throughout Mexico, but most of the Mezcal production is based in Oaxaca. The word “Mezcal” loosely translates to Oven-cooked Agave. Mezcal is made in the same way tequila is produced. Cooking the heart of the agave plant(the Pina) to produce sugars for fermentation, then distilled. Mezcal, typically, has a very smoky character, mostly from the smoke from the fire used while cooking the agave pinas. The agave in Tequila, these days, is mostly cooked in brick ovens, or stainless-steel vessels, removing the smoky aspect. There are also subtle differences between the different types of agave used, from region to region.