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: Tres Generaciones Tequila – Anejo Cristalino and La Colonial Reposado

By Christopher Null | December 12, 2022 |

It’s hard to believe it’s been 13 years since we covered anything from Tres Generaciones. The brand has evolved in the last decade-plus, and has even changed its bottle design completely (and for the better). Today we’re looking at a pair of 2022 releases from the brand, one expected, one a bit more unusual. First…

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Review: Tequila Codigo 1530 Estate Harvest Blanco

By Christopher Null | December 9, 2022 |

The latest release from Codigo 1530 — owned in part by George Strait and nothing if not an innovator —  is a literal return to roots: A blanco made with agave grown on Codigo’s own land. Less than 1% of all tequila produced is estate grown, making this a real rarity — though the decision…

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Drinkhacker’s 2022 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | November 24, 2022 |

When they said Covid was over, we didn’t think we’d be summarily dropped into a new financial crisis to replace the one we just got out of. The good news is that the holidays have arrived just in time to provide a welcome (if brief) break from yet another year of chaos. At Drinkhacker, we…

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Review: Grand Mayan Ultra Aged Tequila

By Christopher Null | November 18, 2022 |

Grand Mayan Tequila — which comes in distinctive, squat ceramic bottles — returns with its newest expression, formally known as Grand Mayan Ultra Aged Limited Release. It’s a full extra anejo and more, aged five years in oak. Curiously, it’s billed as using Central-Highland Blue Weber agave, while Grand Mayan’s prior expressions were made with…

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Review: Cincoro Tequila Gold

By Christopher Null | November 17, 2022 |

Michael Jordan’s Cincoro Tequila brand continues pushing upmarket, it’s latest being a curious blend called Cincoro Gold. This luxe offering blends all four of Cincoro’s other expressions — Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, and “a generous proportion of” 40-month old Extra Añejo — into a product that doesn’t have any official categorization. “Gold” of course has a dangerous…

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The Top 10 Tequilas and Mezcals of 2022

By Christopher Null | November 17, 2022 |

2022 has been another big year for tequila, with extra-old expressions coming from every corner – and spending time in all manner of barrels – as well as cristalino bottlings becoming suddenly, incredibly popular. Mezcal continues its rise in popularity, with celebrity mezcal now becoming a thing. We drank a lot of tequila and mezcal…

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Review: Contraluz Mezcal Cristalino

By Christopher Null | November 16, 2022 |

Aged mezcal is hard enough to find. Now Contraluz has dropped a first for us: cristalino mezcal (in this case a reposado that’s been filtered to clear). The innocuous looking spirit — which is not quite clear but rather a very pale yellow — offers plenty of surprises in the glass. The nose sees plenty…

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Bottle photo of El Tequileño Reposado Rare on white background

Review: El Tequileno Reposado Rare

By Frank Dobbins | November 14, 2022 |

For El Tequileño’s Reposado Rare expression the appellation “rare” is more fitting than meets the eye. By law reposados are required to be aged for less than one year, but El Tequileño circumvents these rules by maturing this limited edition tequila in a massive 25,000 liter American oak container known as a pipón for 6…

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Review: Tequila Don Julio Ultima Reserva

By Christopher Null | November 9, 2022 |

Don Julio dropped two luxe expressions this year, culmination with a rerelease of Don Julio Ultima Reserva, its top-end bottling which was originally released in 2021. We missed round one but were excited to see a second small release of this 36-month old extra anejo hit the market in time for the 2022 holiday season.…

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Review: Catedral de Mi Padre Mezcal Espadín

By Robert Lublin | November 7, 2022 |

Catedral is a California-based brand started by father-daughter duo Jeff and Sydney Block. For each of the six varieties of mezcal they offer, they partner with a different Master Mezcalero. The Espadín we are trying today was made by Jorge Octavio Cardaz Cualtamirano in the mountains outside Oaxaca City, Mexico. Let’s give it a try.…

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