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: 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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Review: Mijenta Tequila Blanco

By Christopher Null | January 25, 2021 |

Mijenta is a new highlands tequila (originated by a former Bacardi CEO) that bills itself as carbon neutral and having a “distinct flavor profile.” For now it is available only as a blanco. A reposado and additional expressions are coming down the line. Ana Maria Romero, who created Volcan de Mi Tierra, serves as Maestra…

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Review: El Sativo Single Estate Tequila Blanco

By Christopher Null | January 22, 2021 |

El Sativo is an organic, “single estate” Lowlands tequila that claims to “set itself apart by utilizing a special distillation method that naturally highlights the agave plant’s precious resources known to have mood lifting and energy boosting attributes.” OK. Every bottle sold gives back to ocean conservancy charities. It’s available only as a blanco, and…

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Review: El Mayor Tequila Extra Anejo – Rum Cask Finish

By Christopher Null | January 20, 2021 |

El Mayor’s Extra Anejo recently got a special edition line extension. This limited edition variant takes El Mayor’s XA (which has already spent 3 1/2 years in bourbon barrels) and finishes it for an undisclosed length of time in rum casks. There’s also no detail on the rum distillery that El Mayor has partnered with.…

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Review: Dry Land Whiskeys and Cactus Spirit

By Christopher Null | January 16, 2021 |

Longmont, Colorado is home to Dry Land Distillers, a true grain-to-glass craft operation “influenced and inspired by Colorado’s landscapes.” “With a focus on single grain 100% wheat whiskeys, prickly pear cactus spirits, native Colorado gin and pure cane sugar rum, Dry Land spirits represent the authentic flavors of the American West,” per the company. Today…

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Review: Tequila Partida Roble Fino – Complete Lineup

By Christopher Null | January 11, 2021 |

Tequila Partida is taking a cue from the Roca Patron with the launch of an upscale series of tequilas that pushes the brand further upmarket. This new limited release series is known as Partida Roble Fino, the trick being that its three expressions — Reposado, Reposado Cristalino, and Añejo — are all finished in sherry-seasoned single…

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Review: Bandero Tequila Blanco

By Christopher Null | January 2, 2021 |

Bandero’s agave is grown in the Guachimontones region of Jalisco, making it a Lowlands tequila. Available only as a blanco, Bandero lays claim to being “the world’s smoothest sipping tequila,” which is as bold a statement as it is meaningless. That aside, let’s give it a taste. Bandero calls its character heavy on florals, but…

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