The Agave Plants Importance In Making Tequila
The amazing agave plant is used to create tequila. Agave maintains a high production level of fructose and sugars called agavins, which spur on the fermentation process of making tequila. Agave thrives in Mexico because it needs rich, sandy soil filled with nutrients. The hot, dry climate makes for the ultimate agave growing conditions. You could technically grow these plants elsewhere, but they are traditionally grown in Mexico for the sole purpose of making tequila and mezcal.
Once this succulent reaches around five years of age, yellow flowers sprout on top, and this represents the end of the agave life cycle. Even more crazya fully grown agave plant can reach heights of seven feet tall!
Step : The Pot Still Is Fired Up
The still is inspected before turning on the heat. Clamps, domes, hoses, and condensers are all checked. The still is fired up to raise the temperature of the tequila wash. The tequila wash goes through two separate distillations. In the first, the entire distillate is collected without separating the heads, hearts, and tails. Once the still reaches 168 degrees fahrenheit, the temperature is increased to continue producing distillate. This process continues until the distillate measures less than 20% ABV, which we measure using a hydrometer. The remaining contents of the still are kept as they are used in the second step of the distillation process. The first distillate is diluted by 20% with water. Then, we stir the mix thoroughly and add it back into the still. Were ready to begin our second round of distillation.
Tequila Mezcal And Pulque Terminology
100% agave One of the two official variations of tequila, made exclusively from only sugars from the “Agave Tequilana Weber, Variedad Azul” . Premium tequilas are made with “100% de Agave,” and can only be bottled in Mexico, not bulk-shipped for bottling outside. See mixto.
A granel Low-quality mezcal or tequila, usually only distilled once, sometimes fermented with the help of chemicals.
AbocadoUnaged tequila, mixto, often called gold . See joven abocado.
AcocoteLong-necked tool for siphoning aguamiel from scooped out section of maguey, to make pulque.
AcordonarLand preparation: to gather the dried undergrowth into small piles along the furrows to be burned after clearing.
Agave sazonRipened or mature agave – takes between eight and 12 years.
Agave DesertiSmall agave used in Baja California for the regional beverage.
Agave Potatorium Used to make bacanora, the regional mezcal of Sonora.
Agave Tequilana Weber AzulThe only agave allowed for use in tequila, and only when grown in specified regions according to the normas. Grown mostly in Jalisco, as well as limited areas in neighbouring states.
Spirit or liquor, usually made from cane sugars.
AguamielThe sweet sap extracted from the piña of the agave plant. It is fermented for several days and then distilled to make tequila and mezcal, or fermented alone to make pulque. Aguamiel is sold as a regional drink in the states of Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Hidalgo .
CampesinoFarmer, or peasant.
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Step : Aging The Tequila
There are various aging timelines for tequila. There isnt a legal requirement to age tequila, but each type of tequila has its own aging characteristics. Each type has its own look and flavor profiles.These are, Blancos or silver tequilas. These arent usually aged, but can rest in oak for up to 60 days. Slightly aged blanco may have a slight green tinge to it.Joven is a type of blanco blended with aged tequilas. It has a caramel hue and other additives for coloring.Reposados are aged in oak barrels anywhere from two months to a day before the 365th day of the year. They are darker in color than blanco and joven and develop a richer flavor due to aging in barrels. Añejos are aged in oak barrels for one to three years. On the higher end of quality, these are sipping tequilas.Extra Añejos are aged longer than thirty six months in oak barrels.
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A tequila club subscription is the best way to familiarize yourself with varieties of tequila without needing to conduct your own research.
Tasters Club is a great way to experiment with different types of whiskey with the help of experts. We curate sought-after, rare bottles from around the world, put one in a subscription box, and send it to your doorstep every month. Each box contains one 750ml bottle of Bourbon as well as tasting, history, and distillery notes so that you can gain knowledge and a refined palate for bourbon.
Enjoying This Alcohol Today
You do not have to know about the procedure to make tequila or the regulations surrounding it to enjoy a shot or your favorite tequila beverage. However, it does make your next night at a Mexican restaurant more interesting to know exactly how this drink became what is today.
Tequila at Guads
If you are craving this distinctly Mexican beverage, you can get it at our restaurants. We have over 100 of the finest tequilas, including: Patron Silver, Don Julio Añejo, and Cazadores Reposado.
Visit us at either of our two Tucson locations and explore our delicious food and extensive tequila menu.
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Whats A Good Inexpensive Tequila
Here are the best cheap tequilas.
- Bets Overall: El Jimador Silver Tequila.
- Best for Margaritas: Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila.
- Best White: Arette Blanco Tequila.
- Best for Shots: Agavales Blanco Tequila.
- Best Reposado: Espolòn Tequila Reposado.
- Best for Sipping: Bribon Reposado Tequila.
- Best Anejo: Lunazul Anejo Tequila.
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Bonus: Difference Between Tequila And Mezcal
Now that you know how tequila is made, another question may arise: What is the difference between tequila and mezcal? The liquors typically go hand in hand as spirits originating from Mexico and being made from the blue agave plant. That is about as far as the similarities between these two go. Here are some of the key differences between the two.
All tequilas are considered mezcals, but all mezcals are not considered tequilas. Similar to how bourbon and scotch are both whiskey types, tequila is technically a type of mezcal. Mezcal is defined as any agave-based liquor, according to spirits writer John McEvoy. Tequila is an agave-based liquor that is only made in Mexicos specific regions and must only be made of the bue agave plant. On the other hand, mezcal can be made from more than 30 different agave types. The most common agave varieties used for mezcal are arroqueño, tobaziche, tepeztate, tobalá, and espadín, which accounts for up to 90% of mezcal and is the most common agave.
Tequila and mezcal also generally come from different regions of Mexico, although there is some overlap. Tequila is produced in five places: Guanajuato, Michoacán, Tamaulipas, Nayarit, and Jalisco, which is where the actual town of Tequila is located. Mezcal can be produced in nine different areas of Mexico. These areas include Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Michoacán, Puebla, and Oaxaca, which is where over 85% of all mezcal is made.
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Pathogens Affecting The Plant
As agave production has moved to an industrial scale since the end of the 1980s, diseases and pests, collectively referred to as TMA , have hit the crops. Through the 1990s, diseases spread, particularly fungi and bacteria, exacerbated by the low of the agave plants. Other problems include the agave , , and a fungus, .
Joven Or Gold Tequila
Joven or gold tequila is unaged tequila that is typically colored and flavored with caramel, oak extracts, or syrups. Basically, you can use a Blanco tequila and add in an extract to achieve the gold or caramel coloring. Gold tequilas look very similar to Reposado tequilas. There are simply labeled as Gold on the bottle.
After you age your tequila how you like it , bottle it up, grab some limes and enjoy. You earned it!
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The Crowns Of Tequila
Its time to get sipping! But before we dive into the different styles of tequila, lets clear one thing up. Not all tequila is made equal. Just like any spirit, there are well crafted, clean, sippable tequilas and there are the ones that willwell? Likely leave you feeling a bit worse for the wear in the morning. While how much you drink and how well hydrated you stay certainly plays a role in that, with tequila theres one other aspect to consider. Are you drinking 100% Blue Agave or Tequila Mixto? While 100% Blue Agave Tequila is pretty self explanatory, lets take a minute to get clear on the rest of the bottles out there.
Tequila Mixto, by law, must contain 51% Blue Agave. The remaining 49% can come from any other neutral spirit base. So its kind of like drinking tequila and vodka mixed. Not exactly, but thats kind of the idea. Producers are also allowed to add caramel color, oak flavoring, glycerin and sugar based syrups to tequila mixto. So how can you tell? Well make sure your bottle says 100% on it. If it just says tequila and theres no statement about being 100% de agave or 100% puro de agave you know you have a mixto. Ok, now that we know we have a 100% agave tequila in our hands lets talk styles!
La Cava De Don Samuel
From the small highland town of Atotonilco in Jalisco comes this extraordinary line of tequila.
Don Samuel was one of the biggest commercial entrepreneurs in the town, said Bonilla. In 2007 he created a special production of around 10,000 bottles of Reposado tequila. This reserve is so unique, and there are not that many on the market. It must be tried.
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Why Is There A Worm In Tequila
No bottle of tequila will ever have a worm. The worms might show up in a bottle of mezcal, but not always. True tequila, produced under the regulations set by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila, A.C. in Mexico control the standards. No worms. Mezcal on the other hand, may have a worm put in the bottle purely as a marketing gimmick – and it seems to be working. You looked.
Tequila Is Made From Any Agave
False. Tequila is not prepared from a cactus as there is also the myth, the agave is not a cactus. The tequila is prepared exclusively from the pineapple of the blue variety tequilana weber agave whose maturation requires between six or seven years. With some other agaves of other species, other Mexican drinks are made such as mezcal, pulque, sotol, bacanora and raicilla.
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Best Under $: Teremana Blanco
Courtesy of Total Wine
Region: Jalisco | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Pepper, Citrus, Earth
Leave it to The Rock to have his name behind a classy blanco, which is produced using high-mountain agave roasted in brick ovens and distilled in copper pot stills. Lynette Marrero, bar director at New Yorks Llama Inn, is a fan. Its made in the most authentic way and without any additives, she says, so its great for connoisseurs looking to sip on a serious tequila. But, she also serves it to people wanting to learn more about the category.
She likes its clean character and wonderful flavor: The agave shines through, complemented by fragrant citrusy and earthy notes, vanilla and a hint of aromatic peppery spice.
The Blue Agave Plant Only Has One Life To Give
It doesnt help efficiency that blue agave is a one-time use plant. Once theyre finally ready to harvest, the agave plants have their piñas or hearts called that because they end up looking like pineapples ripped out. Those are the parts that will be steamed, crushed, and fermented into tequila.
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The Truth About ‘tequila’ Made Outside Of Mexico
Paired with a wedge of lime, a smattering of salt, or mixed with ice and sweet and sour mix for a margarita, tequila consumption in the United States is usually about disguising the taste of the spirit. However, in Mexico, tequila has an entirely different connotation and there’s a different practice surrounding its consumption. According to Cookist, “good tequila is actually sipped and not slugged down at once.” They say that it’s customary to enjoy it by having “100% agave tequila filled in a shot glass and then by taking small sips of it.” The Daily Meal says forget the shot glass: Good agave tequila should be enjoyed from a snifter like a scotch.
One big difference in the flavor and quality of tequila is where and how it’s made. If you’re buying tequila that isn’t made in Mexico or isn’t made with the specific plant varietal that’s required of tequila, chances are that it’s not actually tequila that you’re sipping.
Where Is Tequila From
The first tequila distillery was in the town of Tequila, in the state of Jalisco. Much like the way in which France controls the wine regions and naming of wines, Mexico controls the regions where tequila can be produced. The state of Jalisco is the largest area that produces tequila with the seal of approval, and there are other smaller areas near some cities in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit and Tamaulipas. If you’re interested in purchasing some high-quality tequila, head over to our spotlight on 11 Mexican- and Mexican American-Owned Tequila & Mezcal Brands You Need to Know.
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Are Cheap Tequilas More Expensive Than Other Affordable Spirits
If theyre made from 100 percent blue Weber agave, yes, they can beand that has everything to do with the specific limitations of working with agave. Unlike spirits such as whiskey or vodka, which are made from plants that yield a crop every year, tequila is made from a plant that takes a minimum of about seven years to reach maturity. This limits the ability of producers to respond quickly to changing market trends, and several well-publicized agave shortages in recent years have demonstrated the role that scarcity plays in the booming world of agave spirits.
Tequila Or Mezcal Which One Is Better
Mezcal and tequila are not mutually exclusive as you can enjoy both as I do.
Mezcal is tequilas grown-up sibling offering a smoky character that requires certain level of experience to enjoy. So if you have never had agave spirits I recommend that you start with tequila and later move on to mezcal. Just be aware that once you try mezcal youll find everything else bland mezcal ruined my taste for drinks I once considered great such as whiskey or bourbon.
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Products Made With Agave
Our beautiful and beloved Mexico is one of the countries that has a highest level of Biodiversity in the world, and within these natural riches, lies the agave. There are around 300 species worldwide, from which approximately 159 are found in our territory. Its area of origin is the arid region that today is found between northern Mexico and the southern United States. It is estimated that the genus began to diversify 12 million years ago.
The product from the agave that is best known by a majority is the spirit drink called Tequila, however, with the great diversity that this species has, we can’t be surprised to learn that there are many products that can be made from the agave plant.
The meaning of the word agave comes from the Greek , which means “noble” or “admirable”. It makes reference to a genus of monocotyledonous plants, usually succulent, belonging to the Agavácea family. They receive numerous common names, such as agave, pita, maguey, cabuya, fique or mezcal, among the most known ones.
The products derived from the agave plant can be found in several business branches, such as medicine, food, fuel, cleaning, cosmetics and recycling.
Here are some examples of agave products:
- Agave syrup and fructans
- Bug repellent
This is one of the products that you can find at the souvenir shop of Quinta Sauza at an affordable price and in two presentations: light and dark. The latter, having no color extraction process, has a more intense flavor.
Collecting Your Tequila Distillate
Next, youll be collecting your tequila distillate. This is where all of your hard work up to this point will pay off! Its definitely the most satisfying part of this entire distilling process. This step is a mixture of art and science. It takes an experienced distiller to get this process dialed in and exactly right. However, dont let that deter you if youre a tequila distilling newcomer. You know what they say, practice makes perfect. Its no different here. After you run a few batches with your still, youll gain a familiarity with the whole process and be able to really improve by taking notes and making the necessary adjustments.
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The Differences Between Tequila And Mezcal Explained
Agave is a magical plant. With over 200 known species, many of which can be made into myriad byproducts, it is a diverse, multifaceted entity. Perhaps the best-known uses for agave are tequila and mezcal.
Mezcal is relatively new to the States, but it is picking up steam as unique bottles with innovative flavors and strong tradition are increasingly available. Both are staples for any good bar or beverage program.
Difference Between Tequila And 100% Agave Tequila
There are over hundreds of Tequila brands, but have you ever thought about how there are different types of tequila? In the most basic sense, tequila is divided into two types – the mixed kind and the pure agave kind. Here we will discuss how tequila and 100% agave tequila are different from each other.
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