One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila, Floor.

I have decided to write you a blog on a little loved, but never the less exciting spirit called Tequila.

Tequila


Let us start at the beginning

Tequila is made using the Blue Agave plant that grew initially around Tequila in Mexico.


It was first produced in the 16th century near Tequila, the city being established in 1656. It was a fermented and then distilled beverage made from the sap of the Blue Agave. Eighty years later, around 1600. It was mass-produced in the first factory in the territory of what is now known as Jalisco by Don Pedro Sanchez de Tagle.
There are now over 100 distilleries making over 600 brands in Mexico, and over 2000 brand names have been registered.

The blue agave is grown for 8-12 years before being harvested; during this time, they are pruned to encourage the “pina” to grow. A mature Pina (agave plant) usually weighs between 80 and 300 pounds, but most are around 200 pounds. Farmers know when the Pina is ready for harvest as it begins to shrink and then develops a maroon tinge and red spots appear on the leaves.
The carbohydrate-rich Pina is cut from its stalk when harvested. Some farmers or Jimadors can gather more than a ton of pinas in a day.
It takes about 7kg of pina to produce 1 litre of 100% agave Tequila.

Fermentation

The pinas are then processed to allow the plant’s sugars to be released and made into a wort sprinkled with yeast and allowed to ferment. The result of the fermentation produces a liquid of about 5-7% alcohol.
The fermented wort must be distilled twice to produce the alcohol-associated with Tequila. The first distillation takes 1.5 – 2 hours and is about 20% alcohol. The second distillation takes 3-4 hours. Its output takes the Tequila up to 55% alcohol. Distillers then add de-mineralized water to reduce the alcohol content to 40%ABV.

Types of Tequila

All Tequila is clear after distillation; the colour comes from aging in wooden barrels or additives like caramel or wood essence.
Tequila is bottled in one of 5 main categories.

Oro (gold) is Tequila that is young and adulterated. It does not have to be aged, doesn’t contain 100% blue agave, and caramel, fructose, glycerin, and wood flavouring are added to resemble aged Tequila.
An example of an Oro Tequila is Sauza Tequila Gold, good for Tequila-based cocktails.

White tequila

Blanco (white) is usually 100% blue agave; it is clear, not aged but bottled soon after distillation. It is stored for thirty days and has a smooth, fresh flavour and a herby, peppery quality of the blue agave.
An example of Blanco Tequila is Cazcabel Blanco.

Tequila

Reposado (rested) is Blanco that has rested for a minimum of 2 months, aging is always less than a year, and in oak barrels. The wood aging endows Resposados with hints of vanilla and spice and produces a more mellow character than Blanco. It’s good for sipping.
An example of Reposado Tequila is Pancho Datos Reposado Tequila.

Anejo ( aged or Vintage) Blanco has aged a minimum of one year but less than three years in oak barrels. Amber in colour, it has a smooth, elegant, and complex flavour that is to be compared to fine Cognacs.
Example of Anejo Tequila is Casa Noble Anejo.

Extra Anejo (extra or Ultra aged) aged for a minimum of 3 years in oak barrels; this category was established in 2006.
An example of Extra Anejo is Rey Sol.

The worm has turned.

It is a common misconception that some Tequilas contain a worm in the bottle. Only certain Mezcals contain the worm or (con gusano), and this only started as a marketing gimmick in the 1940s. The worm is the larval form of a moth that lives on the agave plant; finding one in the plant when processing indicates an infestation and consequently a lower quality product.

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