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: Dulce Vida Tequila, Complete Lineup (2010)

By Christopher Null | January 15, 2010 |

Dulce Vida: “The sweet life?” The lush life is more like it. Tequila already gets a bad rap for turning ordinary citizens into raging drunks, and Dulce Vida has to go and pump it up to 100 proof just to make sure the job gets done. I’m sure their hearts were in the right place.…

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Drinkhacker’s 2009 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | November 27, 2009 |

Booze: The gift that keeps on giving, whether you like it or not. It’s now tradition at Drinkhacker to look back at the best new spirits of the year, offering our suggestions on our favorite tipples — and the stuff that’s most likely to impress your holiday giftee should he find a neatly wrapped bottle…

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Herradura’s Battle of the Tequileros

By Christopher Null | November 24, 2009 |

I recently had the great opportunity to attend Tequila Herradura’s battle of eight Bay Area mixologists, each trying to outdo the other. Some photos of the event held at San Francisco’s Tres Agaves — including a live “harvesting” of agave plants… oh, the carnage — follow. My favorite drink of the evening — Tony Devencenzi’s…

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Review: Antiguo de Herradura Tequila, Complete Lineup

By Christopher Null | November 4, 2009 |

As the story goes, Antiguo de Herradura was a version of Herradura served only to guests of the Herradura estate, beginning in 1924. These bottlings are said to be recreations of those original spirits (they’ve been bottled in Mexico since 1995, when they were re-launched), a higher-end version of Herradura tequila for those special moments…

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Review: 901 Tequila Silver

By Christopher Null | October 17, 2009 |

Most tequilas try to trick you into feeling nostalgic with their fancy, old-school bottle designs, calligraphied labels, and rich histories. 901 says to hell with all that: This is a modern tequila with up-to-the-moment styling. (Curious why? This is a Justin Timberlake project. No, really.) The tequila, however, is indeed a classic experience. Available exclusively…

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Review: Don Roberto Tequila, Complete Lineup

By Christopher Null | October 16, 2009 |

Don Roberto is a tequila that’s been made in Mexico since 1840. Now it finally arrives in the U.S., and the company had master mixologist Junior Merino on hand to talk teq (did you know: There are only 128 tequila distilleries in Mexico but over 1,000 tequila brands?) and mix up some delicious tequila cocktails…

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Review: Oro Azul Tequila, Complete Lineup

By Christopher Null | October 9, 2009 |

It takes balls to call your spirit “The World’s Best Tasting Tequila,” and if we were judging on guts alone, Oro Azul would get top marks across the board. But what this line really offers is affordability plus the promise of 100% agave tequila. They also come in conversation-piece-friendly pyramid-shaped bottles. Here’s how they stack…

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Review: El Grado Tequila Reposado

By Christopher Null | September 13, 2009 |

Released this summer, El Grado is a new, ultrapremium, 100 percent agave tequila to arrive on U.S. shelves. Available in the three traditional expressions (and mainly in Texas for now), we got our hands on the reposado for a sample. Rested for six months in old bourbon barrels, El Grado’s reposado is a pale yellow…

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Review: Buen Amigo Tequila Blanco

By Christopher Null | August 16, 2009 |

Is Buen Amigo a good friend, as its name would imply? Let’s find out, shall we? An unusual citrus nose is immediately evident on this blanco tequila, which is apparently a mixto tequila despite one of its reposado big brother versions being a 100% agave version. Pungent and charcoal-like, Buen Amigo’s hard-edged nose gives way…

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Review: Jose Cuervo 250 Aniversario Tequila

By Christopher Null | July 31, 2009 |

Folks, I had to work my way up to writing this one. It’s not every day you get to try a tequila with such a pedigree… and I hope you’ll get the chance to sample it eventually for yourself. But first, some history: Jose Cuervo is the world’s oldest maker of tequila, with 10 generations…

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