Ditch the lemon and salt! It’s time to enjoy this fine Mexican spirit for what it really is: a classy, complex beverage that deserves to be sipped, not shot. We walk you through the right way to experience tequila.
Everyone seems to have a tequila memory (or lack thereof).
Just one whiff of the stuff can be an instant, unwelcome reminder of its night-ruining, stomach-churning effects.
As with any falling out, it’s tempting to take the easy route and stay bitter towards the offending party. In tequila’s case, however, it’s worth pushing aside your pride and giving the drink another shot (not literally this time).
Tequila is a misunderstood spirit. We’re afraid of it because we don’t understand it, which is perhaps why we quickly shot it back, rather than giving it a chance to be savoured like a fine scotch or brandy.
There’s no better time to shake hands and make peace with tequila than USA National Tequila Day (July 24th).
It’s a spirit richly steeped with culture, flavour and texture, and deserves respect (plus significant space on your top shelf).
So before we introduce you to our premium range of tequilas – the kind you should be drinking, here’s what you need to know about the Mexican liquor.
- Tequila is made from a native Mexican plant called Blue Weber Agave. The best tequilas are made from 100 per cent Blue Agave. ‘Mixto’ tequila contains only 51 per cent.
- Most tequila production takes place in the city of Tequila and its surrounding areas in the Jalisco region of Mexico.
- Agave grown in the highlands are sweeter than the herbaceous agave of the lowlands.
- The name ‘Tequila’ is safeguarded by law. In order to bear the label, the spirit must be produced in Mexico using the blue agave variety of the Jalisco region.
- There are five aging categories:
- Blanco (smooth, simple flavour)
- Joven or Oro/Gold (a Blanco with added sweetness or a blend of Blanco and Resposado – the strongest ABV and harshest flavour profile)
- Resposado (aged in oak for 2-11 months before storing – an "all purpose" tequila)
- Añejo (aged in oak for a minimum of one year – pronounced "on-YAY-ho")
- Extra Añejo (aged in oak for a minimum of three years)
- Like wine, the price of tequila differentiates based on quality. So like an $8 bottle of red, a $30 bottle of tequila isn’t going to taste too flash (Terrible Tequila Night #2, anyone?)
Sauza tequila wouldn’t exist without the three Don’s – Don Cenobio Sauza, Don Eladio Sauza and Don Francisco Javier Sauz.
Founded in 1873, Don Cenobio was the first distiller to produce a spirit from blue agave, which he named ‘tequila’. The father-son-grandson trio were also the first company to globally export the golden spirit.
Sauza tequilas are double distilled in copper pot stills to retain the full agave flavour. This produces a smoother, purer spirit.
Most tequila drinkers have been acquainted with Pepe Lopez. It’s produced by one of Mexico’s oldest tequila families at La Mexicana Distillery from natural spring water and top-notch blue agave.
Pepe Lopez is known for it’s light amber, citrusy Gold tequila. Their fresh tasting Silver tequila is also worth a try.
Don Jose Antonio de Cuervo founded this leading family-owned and run tequila brand in 1795. He began producing tequila in 1758 after obtaining land from the King of Spain.
The Spanish first distilled pulque in the early 1500s (a booze made from fermented agave sap) to create mezcal (sometimes bottled with worms).
Sauza and Cuervo dominated the tequila market during the 1900s. Their extensive range of tequilas can be found here.
If you're still not sure about tequila, the Patron tequila blends are a delicious place to start. Their XO Café combines tequila with coffee and is best enjoyed in cocktails or as a post-dinner digestif. For those with a fiery disposition, XO Café Incendio might be the tequila for you. It's a chocolate-infused tequila with a spicy chili kick.
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