How Is Tequila Made
Tequila is made from agave, a plant that is native to the Jalisco state in Mexico, home to, you guessed it, the town of Tequila. The blue agave plant produces a bulb which once properly processed, juiced and fermented/distilled produces the spirit we all know and love. The process involves harvesting, distilling, and then, depending on the type of tequila, it will be aged for a period of time to get the right flavour and taste. If youre after a premium tequila, youll want to look out for those that are made from 100 per cent blue agave rather than those that substitute some of the agave for other ingredients . Legislation exists in Mexico to control what can actually be called tequila based on where its produced, the amount of time it has been aged for, what the ingredients are and what the percentage of alcohol is.
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My romance with agave and Aztec culture began as a teenager in the 90s while growing up in Eastside San Jose, Californiawhere I enrolled in Mexican and Aztec studies at local colleges to understand the history, language, and mythology, Quiñonez says. Im a first-generation Nicaragüense and I was raised in a diverse and culturally rich community dominated by hard working Mexicanos from Jalisco, Guanajuato, and Michoacán. My first experiences with tequila were mainly during celebratory and joyful occasions: family gatherings, weddings, and holidays. And the brands that resonated with my early years were Chinaco, Siete Leguas, and Tres Magueyes, because they had always represented quality and tradition.
Its officially margarita season. Make sure to make yours with quality tequilaor a superb mezcal, if youre looking for a smoky kick.
Today, Quiñones is still in the spirits industry, but shes made the leap to become her own boss: Shes now the CEO and founder of her own boutique consulting firm, which specializes in global route-to-market strategiesfocusing on agave-based beverages, cannabis, and the multi-cultural luxury world at large, where she works only on projects and clients she truly believes in.
Rebecca Quiñonezs curated list is a tribute to the legacy, art, and craft of the unsung heroes in the industry: the agaveros, los jimadores, tequileros, and mezcaleros.
Best Under $: Don Julio Blanco
Most great tequilas clock in around $40 to $50, so choosing just one can be challenging. However, in terms of availability and quality, Don Julio always overperforms. This blanco tequila is made from hand-picked blue agave and is double-distilled . Notes of citrus zest, vanilla and pepper dominate the spirits flavor-packed palate. Sip over ice with a squeeze of lime or mix into your next cocktail for an elevated drinking experience.
This ultra-satisfying tequila from Casa Dragones is fresh, fruit-driven and layered with flavor. Notes of juicy tropical fruits, green apple skin, grapefruit, black pepper and a touch of minty freshness dominate the spirits smooth and full-bodied palate. For those looking to step up their tequila game without breaking the bank, this simple upgrade is a no-brainer.
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Best Tequila For A Margarita: Sauza Hacienda Silver
Dating back t0 1873, Sauza has been making tequila long enough to know what theyre doing. Both Sauza Hacienda Silver and Hacienda Gold come in at under $20 per bottle. Silver, however, tastes great in a margarita. Sauza claims plenty of green apple in its base tequila, but it certainly finishes with a nice citrus bit perfect for a margarita.
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Tequila Is Just For Shots: False
Tequila shots, with salt and a lime wedge, are part of our collective drinking unconscious. So much so, it feels like theres no other way to enjoy tequila.But expert bartenders say that you should allow the flavors of your tequila to open up, like a fine wine or scotch. Its much more common in Mexico to sip your tequila slowly the shot with lime and salt is primarily an American practice.
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Casa Noble Crystal Blanco
Triple-distilled for a smoother-than-glass finish, according to the brand, this blanco offers black pepper, cranberry, and olive brine on the nose. The palate skews more toward dried fruits, such as prunes, as well as cedar and fresh agave. This is a well-balanced, vegetal option. Average price: $37.
Best Coffee Tequila: Patron Xo Cafe
Looking for something a bit different? Patrón Xo Cafe is just the thing, thanks to it’s super smooth coffee taste.
It’s an extraordinary blend of ultra-premium Patrón Silver tequila and the pure, natural essence of fine coffee, sourced from the Mexican states of Veracruz and Chiapas.
The tasty drink has the aroma and taste of fresh coffee balanced with vanilla notes, and has a smooth yet dry finish.
It’s delicious over ice, chilled in a shot or mixed into your favourite cocktail.
- Patron XO Cafe, £30, Tesco – buy here
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How Popular Is Tequila Right Now
Good question. Lets look at the stats, shall we?
Nielsens research shows spirits sales have increased across the board during Spring 2020, with tequila sales growing especially fast. Sales of this spirit have risen by 55% during the recent COVID-19 outbreak. Cinco de Mayo likely played a major factor as well, with alcohol E-commerce platforms like Drizly reporting massive increases in tequila sales. Drizly representatives told SPY that tequila sales on the platform grew by an incredibly 882% over the last few months. Even after Cinco de Mayo, interest remains steady, with the online retailer reporting 546% growth in deliveries during the week of 5/18/2020.
Tequila Category #: Tequila Gold
Sometimes called tequila joven. Tequila Gold is a Blanco that has not been allowed to mature so it has not developed the distinct coloring that comes with ageing. So, to get the golden color, just prior to bottling colorings and flavorings are added in the form of caramel, oak tree extracts, glycerin, or sugar syrup.
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Best Blanco: Don Fulano Blanco
Courtesy of Don Fulano
Region: Jalisco | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Lemon peel, Lemongrass, Cooked agave
“Theres a saying: ‘Whiskey is aged in wood, and tequila is aged in the ground,'” says Hurley. Thats so true because agave takes six to eight years to mature, so you can detect the influence of the terroirthe soil, sun and shade of mountainsespecially in a blanco. He calls this one from the Altos region phenomenal.
Produced by Jaliscos famed Fonseca family using deep well water, Don Fulano Blanco offers “green cooked agave notes, a little bit of pepper and minerality, and hints of lemon peel and lemongrass, Hurley says. Along with those complex layers of flavor, Hurley likes its mouthfeel. It has a nice body all the way through, so its one of the easiest drinking tequilas out there,” he adds.
Blancos showcase the terroir and the agave, but they also show any imperfections. Look for spirits with a medium to full body, a bit of attitude, minerality and brightnessand not much ethanol burn. You can tell an impure spirit if you get that. Morgan Hurley, Marketing and Beverage Director, Mex 1 Coastal Cantina
Best Cristalino: 1800 Cristalino
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Sweet, Smooth, Peppery
A recent innovation, cristalino is made by stripping the color from aged tequila. Its essentially a way to circumvent the steep pricing of agave due to crop shortages by using what distillers already have in stock. The 1800 Cristalino is a good bottle to uncork when drinking with non-tequila fans. Blended from 16-month-old añejo aged in American and French oak, its rested for an additional six months in former port barrels before double filtering. As youd expect, its sweet on the nose and the palate, with a luscious mouthfeel, but it finishes with some of the pepperiness that bespeaks the agave. Sip this neat or on ice.
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Rooster Rojo Blanco Tequila
Tequila from the town of Tequila itself. This bottle comes from the Fabrica de Tequilas Finos distillery, a producer of many fine spirits. Rooster Rojo blanco is the brainchild of esteemed master distiller, Arturo Fuentes Cortes. Its full of herbaceous and citrus flavours, sparked to life by fiery pepper. Read our full Rooster Rojo blanco tequila review.
Best Tequila On A Budget: El Jimador Reposado Tequila
El Jimador is another Amazon bestseller having been awarded the gold medal by The Tequila Masters in 2010.
The must-have has been aged in oak barrels for two months, which is what gives it its mental yet warm and peppery flavour.
This spirit is a huge hit with customers who have rated it five stars, it is also the number one selling tequila in Mexico.
One review read: “Jimador is lovely light smooth Tequila. It is without doubt the best tequila I have ever imbibed and have been Tequila enlightened.”
- El Jimador Reposado Tequila, 70 cl for £25.99 from Amazon – buy here
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Best Reposado: Siete Leguas Reposado
Courtesy of Drizly.com
Region: Jalisco | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Baking spices, Vanilla, Slate, Shale
Like many bartenders, Chasse considers this reposado from Siete Leguas her favorite tequila in general, regardless of the expression. The distillery where it’s made uses a mix of grinding methods: efficient roller mill and traditional tahona, a millstone carved from volcanic rock. The result: “A nice balance between sustainability and the wonderful qualities of earthiness from the more fibrous milling of the tahona, she says.
With its mix of minerality, wood-driven vanilla notes and baking-spice panache, this versatile reposado is perfect to sip on anytime along with many different types of foods, says Chasse. “It just makes my heart happy.
Patrn Estate Release Blanco
If youre going to spend close to $100 on a blanco tequila, youll no-doubt expect a truly special bottle. This limited-edition release is made exclusively from agave grown on the grounds of the Patrón estate. And its more than just a marketing gimmick. This blancos aromas are intense and concentrated, with a nose that starts off spicy before perfumed floral notes enter the fray. The palate is perfectly balanced but not without complex character. Average price: $93.
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What Is Tequila Made From
Tequila is made from the extracted juices of the agave plant. By law, tequila must include at least 51 percent Weber blue agave, and the majority of tequilas exclusively use that variety. The agave juice is fermented and distilled, and the tequila is diluted to bottling strength. Tequila destined to be reposado or añejo is aged in wood barrels for two months to a few years. Silver tequila is unaged, but can rest in stainless steel for up to two months. Gold tequila is the only style that can include coloring and flavoring additives.
Best Selling Tequilas In Mexico
The 10 best selling tequilas in Mexico are produced in the Mexican state of Jalisco. Tequila is synonymous with Mexico, just like champagne is with France. The countrys warm climate and nutrient-rich soil are ideal for growing blue agave, from which tequila is made. The state of the soil is also important in determining the taste of the tequila. Tequila created in the highlands has a sweeter, floral and fruitier flavor than lowland tequila.
About 80% of all blue agave is grown in Jalisco, and almost all tequila distilleries are located in the state. So Jalisco is the main tequila producing region in Mexico. Mexican law also allows certain states like Tamaulipas, Nayarit, Michoacan, and Guanajuato to produce tequilas. Tequila has the denomination of origin status, which means that the spirit will only be called tequila if it is produced and bottled in the specific areas of Mexico mentioned above.
There is no specific way of drinking tequila. It can be mixed with drinks in tasty cocktails, sipped neat or gulped as a shot with a wedge of lime and salt. The most popular tequila cocktail in America is the classic Margarita.
10 best selling tequila brands in the US
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What Are The Best Tequila Brands
If youre ready to pick up a couple of new bottles of the best tequila brands , here are our favorite bottles to buy. Most of these spirits are available on sites like Drizly and Reserve Bar, two super convenient alcohol delivery sites. For some of these options, weve also made suggestions to pair them with certain foods, just as you would a fine wine.
Tequila Market: Regional Analysis
Regionally, the global tequila market is widespread into the regions of North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East and Africa. Each of these regions are classified on the basis of nations. Currently North America is dominating the market on account of major contributions from Mexico. Apart from this, lifestyle that involves regular consumption of alcohol in the United States and Canada will also aid in expansion of the North American market in the forecast period.
On the other side, the adoption of western culture, rising disposable incomes of people and rising inclination towards alcoholic beverages are likely to create lucrative growth opportunities for the Asia Pacific market in the coming years. In addition to this, the increasing popularity of night life, clubs and other party places in developing nations are likely to help generate significant revenues for the Asia Pacific market in the coming years.
This study by TMR is all-encompassing framework of the dynamics of the market. It mainly comprises critical assessment of consumers or customers journeys, current and emerging avenues, and strategic framework to enable CXOs take effective decisions.
Our key underpinning is the 4-Quadrant Framework EIRS that offers detailed visualization of four elements:
- Customer Experience Maps
- Insights and Tools based on data-driven research
- Actionable Results to meet all the business priorities
- Strategic Frameworks to boost the growth journey
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Whats The Proper Way To Taste Tequila
Shooting tequila with lime and salt is a hard habit to break. But in truth, thats no way to appreciate this complex and nuanced spirit. To drink tequila like a real connoisseur, follow these simple guidelines.
- After pouring about 1 ounce of tequila in a brandy snifter, hold the snifter at the base . Appreciate the color of the tequila by raising the snifter to eye level.
- Swirl the tequila gently to the left for about 1 minute. Does the tequila cling to the side of the glass before falling slowly to form whats called the string of pearls effect?
- After taking a small sip, keep the tequila between your lips and tip of your tongue for about 10 seconds. Swish the tequila around the inside of your mouth before swallowing. Let the flavors come to you.
Whats most important is to find out which tequila you like best. That way, whether you mix tequila into a margarita or drink it straight, youll always be satisfied. When sampling tequila, pay attention to what kind of tequila youre trying. Here are the primary kinds of tequila:
Exotico Blanco 100% Agave Tequila
Exotico Tequila Blanco is one of the best solutions if you are looking for an affordable bottle, providing excellent value in taste and flavor.
Furthermore, it is a premium and unaged spirit made from 100% blue agavesurprisingly outstanding for its price range.
If you want to make a delicious margarita for cheap, this is the best tequila for you. It is perfectly transparent and crisp Blanco with spicy undertones and a robust taste of fresh agave, hints of pepper, and herbal notes.
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Tequila Is Nothing More Than Cactus Juice: False
While the agave plant has pointy needles and sharp leaves, its really more of a succulent than a cactus. Fun fact: Agaves are more closely related to the Joshua Tree than that prickly desert dweller we know so well. True tequila must be 100% agave, and the best brands harvest the agave when its at least a decade old.
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In the Best Blanco category, Playa Real Silver earned top spot. Following behind in the gold spot is Prospero Tequilas Blanco. Silver winners include Satryna Blanco, Tequila Ocho Plata, and Volcan De Mi Terra Blanco. At the bronze level Lunazul El Humoso and Cierto Tequila Private Collection Blanco.
Cierto Tequila had a good showing at this years awards. In addition to earning top nods in the annual competition, Cierto Tequila walked away with seven additional awards: Best Extra Anejo, along with one Gold medal, two Silver medals, and two Bronze medals.
The Best Reposado is 818 Reposado. In the gold category, Corazón Tequila Reposado and Cierto Tequila . Playa Real Reposado, Prospero Tequila Reposado and Lunazul Reposado placed silver.
Cierto Tequila also cleaned up well at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competitionthe brand took home a total of nine medals at the prestigious awards, including Best in Class. Cierto Tequila produces 100% natural tequilas in the highland region of Jalisco. Cierto is owned by the Elevated Spirits Company.
How is tequila as a category faring in the time of Covid-19? The countrys beer industry has falteredMexico shut down all non-essential industries in March.
Beer production slowed, but tequila industry authorities were able to get the spirit categorized as an agricultural product .
The IWSR noted that US sales of tequila grew 36% by volume between 2015 and 2019.
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