Tequila is one of the fastest-growing spirits in the U.S., with America consuming even more than they do in its homeland of Mexico. The biggest growth is in the premium and super-premium categories, as drinkers discover the pleasure of sipping rather than slamming good tequila. Tequila is in fact a type of mezcal, but one that has a specific “domain of origin” status and which must be made from a single species of agave, the blue agave. Tequila must be made in certain designated areas in Mexico, the biggest being the state of Jalisco, where the town of Tequila is located. Rack “tequila” must contain at least 51% blue agave sugars, and the remainder can be just about anything, including corn syrup. However, quality tequila will state on the bottle that it is made from 100% blue agave. Anything less than this (think Cuervo Gold) is called a mixto. Within Mexico, tequila can be bottled at anything from 62 to 110 proof, but within the U.S. it must be at least 80 proof. Blanco (silver or white) tequila is sold unaged, reposado tequila must be aged at least two months in white oak barrels, and añejo (aged) tequila are aged for twelve months minimum. Finally, extra añejo must be aged for at least three years. A new variety of tequila, generally called cristalino, is aged tequila that has been filtered to remove color, giving it the appearance of a blanco but the flavor of an añejo.

Top Tequila Posts:

Understanding the Different Styles of Tequila
A Visit to Casa Herradura
A Visit to the Don Julio Tequila Distillery

Review: Gracias a Dios Mezcal Espadin

By Robert Lublin | June 2, 2022 |

Over the last few years, a number of new mezcals have come to the USA in response to exploding interest in the smoky agave distillate. Gracias a Dios, Spanish for “Thank God,” is a joven (unaged) mezcal made by Oscar Hernández. It is made with 100% espadín agave grown in Matatlán, Oaxaca. It deserves note…

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Review: Astral Tequila Blanco

By Robert Lublin | May 21, 2022 |

Astral is a new 100% Blue Weber agave tequila from the lowland region of Jalisco, Mexico. Currently, only a blanco, unaged tequila is available. The distillery’s website explains how it is made, all very familiar stuff: Our production process is steeped in tradition and features a unique milling process using a tahona, a stone wheel…

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Review: Curamia Tequila Blanco

By Christopher Null | May 20, 2022 |

Curamia is a new tequila and the brainchild of Dafna Mizrahi, a chef from Guadalajara, Mexico. The brand launched late last year in the U.S. with only a blanco expression; a reposado has since arrived. Of special note is its female-centric street cred: Curamia is the first tequila brand 100% female-founded and made by women:…

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Review: Tequila Tromba, Complete Lineup

By Christopher Null | April 30, 2022 |

Here’s a fun fact: Tequila Tromba is the top-selling independent tequila… in Canada. A Highlands-born spirit, Tromba is now tiptoeing its way into the U.S., where all three traditional expressions are available. We tried them all. Here goes. All are 80 proof. NOM 1547. Tequila Tromba Blanco – Very light-handed on the whole, this silver tequila…

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Review: Inspiro Tequila Luna Blanco

By Christopher Null | April 29, 2022 |

Looking at the bottle above, you might expect Inspiro to be a vodka. I promise this is not but rather a blanco tequila, which launched in the U.S. in late 2021. The brand was founded by Mara Smith, a former Chicago attorney, who fell in love with tequila and recruited Ana Maria Romero Mena to…

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Review: El Mayor Tequila Extra Anejo – Sherry Cask Aged

By Christopher Null | April 29, 2022 |

El Mayor has been cranking out special editions like mad, including multiple spins on its extra anejo bottling. This one is particularly unique, spending 38 full months in sherry casks. It isn’t finished, it’s completely matured in sherry casks — though the type of sherry is not disclosed. It’s a powerhouse bottling that melds two…

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Review: Del Maguey Mezcal – Vida, Las Milpas, Chichicapa, and 100% Tobala

By Christopher Null | April 22, 2022 |

Ron Cooper founded Del Maguey (pro tip: “del ma-gay”) in 1995, created the category of artisanal mezcal in the U.S. singlehandedly. The brand has gone nowhere but up since, thanks certainly due to the way it works. Rather than being a bulk product, Miller works with 12 different families in 10 villages in Oaxaca (and…

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Review: Calirosa Tequila – Rosa Blanco and Anejo

By Christopher Null | April 20, 2022 |

The gimmick with Calirosa is right in the name: Instead of ex-bourbon barrels, this tequila is aged in California red wine barrels — even the blanco, for a short time — which gives the spirit a naturally pink, or rosa, hue. The operation uses a blend of highland and lowland agave and makes three expressions,…

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Review: Tequila Partida Elegante

By Christopher Null | April 18, 2022 |

Elegante is arguably Partida’s most elevated offering, an extra anejo — and not a cristalino, mercifully — that spends 40 months in oak before bottling. While many extra anejos are ultra-sweet desserts in a glass, Elegante manages to keep agave clearly in its sights. The nose is peppery and green, buttressed by coconut and caramel,…

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Review: Tequila Gran Diamante, Complete Lineup

By Christopher Null | March 25, 2022 |

Tequila Gran Diamante is a new brand out of Jalisco (by way of Southern California), using Highlands agave to make a full line of three tequilas which are bottled in some of the most over-the-top decanters I’ve encountered in years. While these bottles trickle into bars and retail, we received samples of the complete lineup…

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