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: Lejana Y Sola Mezcal Joven

By Christopher Null | May 24, 2021 |

Lejana Y Sola (“afar and alone”) is a sister brand of PaQui Tequila, which we reviewed when it was first released a whopping 11 years ago. This joven mezcal is an “ensemble” made from espadin and cuishe and is made in Lachila, Oaxaca via traditional methods that include the use of a horse-drawn tahona to…

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Review: Milagro Tequila, Core Lineup (2021)

By Robert Lublin | May 22, 2021 |

The Milagro line of tequilas has expanded, but its original, core lineup continues to be a popular, affordable, and widely available option that we last reviewed in 2015. Let’s try the most recent bottlings and see how they compare to earlier ones. All expressions continue to be 100% blue agave and 80 proof. Milagro Tequila…

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Patron Smoked Margarita Kit

Review: Patron x JonBoy Margarita Collection Kit

By Mike Gerrard | May 1, 2021 |

For Cinco de Mayo this year, Patron Tequila has partnered with tattoo artist JonBoy and the Cocktail Courier website to produce all the ingredients needed to make a Fresh Ink Smoked Margarita. There’s a choice of JonBoy artwork when you order, and this is included in the package by way of coasters and cocktail stoppers,…

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Review: Jose Cuervo Playamar Sparkling Tequila – Mango, Grapefruit, and Lime

By Rob Theakston | April 28, 2021 |

Along with a pandemic and general global turmoil, the last few years have also brought us the sparkling, ready-to-drink craze that seems to be in full bloom with no foreseeable end in sight. Never one to miss an opportunity, the powers that be at Cuervo have jumped in, and the results are pleasantly surprising. The…

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Review: Tequila Partida Cristalino Anejo

By Christopher Null | April 19, 2021 |

Partida keeps cranking out new luxe, high-end tequilas, but today we’re getting a look at a new entry into its standard lineup, a long-awaited cristalino expression. This expression takes an 18-months-aged anejo tequila then, as all cristalinos do, filters out the color, leaving it perfectly clear. There’s big agave on the nose here — more…

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Bottle of La Adelita Black Cristalino Tequila

Review: La Adelita Tequila Black Cristalino

By Mike Gerrard | April 12, 2021 |

Several tequila distillers are lobbying to have cristaliño added to the four existing official tequila categories. A cristalino is an añejo or extra añejo tequila that after aging has been filtered to have color but not flavor removed, producing a spirit that is clear, but with all the flavor that the tequila has picked up…

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Review: Espanita Tequila, Complete Lineup

By Christopher Null | March 19, 2021 |

Get ready for more new tequila, this one from a brand called Espanita, which produces its 100% blue agave in Jalisco’s Highlands. The standard trio of expressions are currently on tap, all impressively priced. Thoughts follow on the complete lineup. All are 80 proof. Espanita Tequila Blanco – Initially big and peppery, this blanco pulls…

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Review: 1800 Tequila – Reposado, Anejo, and Cristalino

By Christopher Null | March 3, 2021 |

1800 is a tequila brand that seems always to be on the shelf, yet our coverage is a bit spotty, including reviews of the blanco, extra anejo, and even a coconut flavored expression. Today we fill in the gaps — looking at the reposado, anejo, and new cristalino expressions from this label, the lattermost of…

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Review: Pierde Almas Mezcal Espadin Joven

By Christopher Null | February 27, 2021 |

Oaxaca-based Pierde Almas produces at least 8 different mezcal expressions, including this unaged joven bottling made from 100% espadin agave, naturally fermented in small wooden vats and double distilled in copper pots. No flavorings or additives. Boldly smoky on the nose, this is a very intense mezcal that pours on the campfire character. Notes of…

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Bottle of Mezcal Don Ramon

Review: Mezcal Don Ramon Joven

By Mike Gerrard | January 27, 2021 |

Don Ramon’s range of tequilas have been around for a while, aiming for an upmarket image by recruiting ex-James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan as their brand ambassador. It’s notable, then, that in late 2020 they chose to launch Mezcal Don Ramon. Mezcal is usually seen as a more artisanal spirit than tequila, often made in…

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