Admit it. We’ve all done it at least once, and I’m not talking about dancing on tables. We’ve all held our breath and dubiously eyed a shot glass filled with golden liquid. The process begins with salt on the back of your hand (or the rim of a shot glass); lick the salt; tip back your head and swallow the tequila; immediately bite into a lime.
But tequila isn’t just for shooting, and tequila connoisseurs will tell you to savor the taste and aroma of the liquor instead of gulping it.
A little bit about Tequila: Mexican law requires tequila be produced, bottled and inspected in Mexico, specifically in the state of Jalisco or Gujanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit, and Tamulipas. Tequila is made from the juice of the blue agave plant, which is distilled and fermented. Although Mexican law mandates tequila must be at least 51% agave, the best tequilas are 100%. Any tequila that is not 100% agave is considered a mixto tequila. Mixto tequilas can be produced outside of Mexico.
Types of tequilas:
Bottled soon after distillation, silver tequila is not aged over sixty days and can be either pure agave or mixto. Blanco tequila is used in fruity drinks, such as margaritas.
Gold tequila is actually silver tequilas that contain caramel and or oak extracts for coloring and flavoring. The gold is a sweeter tasting tequila, and considered smoother, and is the preferred tequila for shots. Golds are also used in mixed cocktails.
Reposado tequila is aged in wood barrels or casks for two to twelve months. Considered a sipping tequila, reposado has a robust flavor and can be either 100% agave or a mixto. In addition to sipping, reposado is excellent for shots or in cocktails.
Añejo tequila is dark and smooth due to the aging process of at least twelve months in oak barrels. The barrels can be either white or French oak, and sometimes used bourbon barrels are utilized. Considered a vintage tequila, añejo should be sipped neat.
Extra Añejo (ultra-premium):
Considered a newer class tequila, extra añejo is aged for twelve months to three years or more, but no more than four years. Sip neat in a snifter to enjoy the excellent aroma of the new ultra-premium class of tequila.
Note: Mezcal is produced from the maguey agave and other varieties of the agave plant. Tequila is only produced from the blue agave plant.