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: Gran Centenario Rosangel Hibiscus Tequila

By Christopher Null | May 5, 2009 |

We’ve gone through flavored vodka and flavored rum. Now you can start adding flavored tequilas — hitting the market in earnest now — to the mix. Unlike, say, Agave Loco, Centenario’s Rosangel is a much more subtle product. The only similarity is the original base spirit: Reposado tequila, rested for two months (in Port barrels…

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Herradura’s Cinco de Mayo Fun Facts

By Christopher Null | May 5, 2009 |

I have no idea if these “cinco fun facts” about Cinco de Mayo are 100% accurate — Herradura sent them along — but they’re fun to read while you’re sipping tequila, Pacifico, or whatever else floats your boat on this fine drinking day. 1. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the 1862 Battle of Puebla where Mexico…

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Review: Gran Centenario Azul Tequila Reposado

By Christopher Null | May 3, 2009 |

Cinco de Mayo is just two days away, and that means it’s tequila time. Here’s a new one that just launched in April. Gran Centenario already makes a full line of tequilas, including a reposado, but recently the company expanded with a new brand called Azul. The big draw: At $16 a bottle, it’s about…

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Review: Agave Loco Pepper Cured Tequila

By Christopher Null | April 19, 2009 |

The story goes that master distiller Tom Maas and his crew found that, in the old days, some enterprising people in Mexico were preserving peppers not in vinegar but in tequila. And rather than simply eating the deliciously tequila-flavored peppers, someone had the idea to try to do it the other way around: Use the…

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Review: Jose Cuervo Especial Plata Tequila

By Christopher Null | April 18, 2009 |

Cuervo’s latest doesn’t stray far from its profitable core: Jose Cuervo Especial is a mixto tequila (meaning it’s over half blue agave and the rest neutral grain spirits) and unaged. The results should surprise no one: Especial is a crystal clear and clean spirit, (it’s also known as simply “Cuervo Silver,” although it doesn’t actually…

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Review: Tequila Ocho Plata Single Estate 2008 and 2009

By Christopher Null | April 10, 2009 |

Vintage tequila? You betcha. Tequila Ocho produces tequilas in individually numbered bottles and dated to the vintage of the agave harvest from the estate in question. It’s said to be the first single-estate tequila to be released in the U.S. — bringing to the tequila world what has worked (and worked well) for wine. We…

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Review: Tres Generaciones Anejo Tequila

By Christopher Null | April 1, 2009 |

As promised in February, we finally got our hands on Tres Generaciones’ Anejo tequila, so we could finally round out the line we first examined here. Though it spends six times the amount of time in oak barrels as 3G’s reposado (“at least” 12 months vs. about 2 months), this anejo is barely darker in…

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February 22 Is National Margarita Day

By Christopher Null | February 21, 2009 |

Most people don’t need an official pronouncement to drink margaritas, but every little bit helps, I guess. Tomorrow is National Margarita Day (for real), Did you know? In honor, our friends at Tequila Herradura — which claims to have been the first tequila ever used in a margarita cocktail — offers some fun facts for…

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Tequila Cocktails from Don Julio

By Christopher Null | February 18, 2009 |

Spend last night at an epic (10 dishes!) dinner thrown by the good folks at Don Julio Tequila (reviews here), showing off how Don Julio products work as a cocktail recipe component — and how those cocktails fit with food (turns out, quite well). Not a bad cocktail among the bunch — though the fan…

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Review: Tres Generaciones Plata and Reposado Tequila

By Christopher Null | February 7, 2009 |

Part of the Sauza mini-empire (along with Hornitos), Tres Generaciones is the company’s newest and most premium tequila, 100 percent agave, of course. We tried the plata (silver) and reposado bottlings (but, alas, the anejo wasn’t available). Both are 80 proof. Tres Generaciones Plata Tequila – This is a very respectable blanco tequila, extremely smooth,…

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