Knowing your Tequila...
Updated: Sep 6
Everyone has a tequila story… proclaiming the highs and lows of shots, slammers, frozen margaritas, sangritas or dubious holiday cocktails, followed by hazy memories and sore heads. But there’s a very different side to the spirit that hails from the state of Jalisco in Western Mexico. A tale rich in history, culture, volcanic terroire, natural ingredients, cultivation and craftsmanship. Given that it's National Tequila Day tomorrow (24th July), we thought what better time to tell the tale and share some of our favourite tipples!
Tequila is distilled from the sugars of the blue agave plant, native to Mexico, which go on to be fermented, distilled and often aged in barrels fordepth of colour and intensity of flavour. Today there are strict regulations imposed by the Mexican Government on the production of Tequila in order to protect the industry. To be classified as Tequila, products must be made in Jaliso or more recently 4 other neighbouring states, the ageing requirement is for at least 14-21 days, production using 100% natural ingredients and a minimum ABV ofg 38%. Premium Tequila must be made from 100% blue agave, whereas lower grade spirits, ‘mixtos’, typically contain 51% agave.
There are 4 common types of Tequila:
Plata - un-aged white/Blanco
Reposado (rested) - aged in wooden barrels for up to one year, light gold in colour
Añejo - aged in wooden barrels for 1-3 years, vibrant gold colour
Extra añejo - aged in wooden barrels for 3+ years, richer golden hues
Like many spirits, Tequila is deliciously versatile and despite its reputation as the drink that gets the party started there are many ways beyond the tequila cruda (salt and lime) ritual to bring an air of discovery and excitement, at a conscious, rather than unconscious level, to your Tequila Nights.
Here are some noteworthy contenders in each of the product categories:
Inspired by modern-day Mexico, with a focus on field to bottle production and a fresh and natural take on Mexican history. This surprisingly good Tequila, coming from two London boys, has been designed specifically for drinking with tonic.
Tequila Fortaleza Blanco
When it comes to taste, Fortaleza doesn’t disappoint. Its Still Strength (previously only available at the distillery) at 92% ABV which is delivered through a unique cooking, fermentation and two-times distillation process - delivers a deliciously bright and slightly more rustic taste than its traditional Blanco.
Produced by an all-female tequiliera, reinvesting a portion of profits back into the community and commitment to minimal environmental impact, Mijenta is the epitomy of good conduct tequila-making. But importantly the liquid itself is up-there too, with considered ageing both in terms of casks and timeframe. It has velvety smooth taste and is satisfyingly sweet on the palate.
Don Julio 1942
Often considered the daddy of premium Tequila for its distinction and refined taste, this is a liquid paying tribute to the year Don Julio Gonzálezbegan his tequila-making journey. Produced in small batches, this ultra smooth Añejo is full of complex character and its packaging alone, worthy of celebration
QUI Extra Anejo
Rich in colour, QUI rare is a very special Tequila, aged in both Tennessee whisky and French Bordeaux barrels for 12 years, which delivers an incredibly smooth and elegant liquid, reminiscent of an exceptional Scotch.
Enjoy National Tequila Day responsibly...and be sure to let us know your favourite Tequila!