Tequila is one of the most popular spirits worldwide, commonly enjoyed in shot-form or blended into a spectacular variety of cocktails. Despite the popularity of the alcohol, many people still don’t know about the different types of tequila, where they come from, and how they’re made.
We’re here to clear up the confusion. In this blog post, you can expect to learn everything you need to know about tequila, including an explanation of the three key types on the market.
Keep reading to find out more about this tantalising beverage!
Like many spirits, Tequila is brought to life through a process of distillation. While vodka is produced using sugar beet molasses, cereal grains or even potatoes, this Mexican-made drink is derived from agave.
Native to the Americas, there are 166 different plant species – 125 of which can be found in Mexico. While many types of agave exist, only the Weber Blue form can be used to make Tequila. It takes its name from the German botanist who first classified the species in 1905, labelled based on the blue tint to its leaves.
Considering agave’s Mexican prevalence, it’s no surprise that the drink can only bear the Tequila title if made in Mexico, produced in only five areas of the country. Distillers must rely on Weber Blue alone, strictly monitored and regulated by Mexico’s government.
3 Types of Tequila You Should Know About
One of the critical causes of confusion surrounding tequila comes from the varying types on offer. Many people can’t pin down the difference between them, especially once they’ve enjoyed a shot or two of the beverage.
Let’s take a look at the three most popular Tequila types and the differences between them.
Blanco is the Spanish word for white, appropriately used to title tequila in its purest form. Colourless and freshly distilled, Blanco Tequila relies purely on the natural flavours of agave to deliver a captivating tastebud experience. If the distillation isn’t spot on, avid drinkers are guaranteed to spot the difference.
Depending on the style, the taste of Blanco tequila can be described as:
- Bold and fruity
- Sharp and peppery
- Earthy and deep
It’s widely believed that the Spanish invasion of the Aztec civilisation kickstarted the invention of Tequila. As you’d expect, processes have been vastly refined since then – people undoubtedly weren’t enjoying the purity of Blanco in the 1500s!
Blanco Tequila is distilled and aged for a much shorter time than the other offered types – usually two months or less. They’re recognised for their high-quality production, refined to perfection to release only the flavour of agave. It’s bottled shortly after production to capture its purity and delivered to the shelves of bars worldwide for drinkers to enjoy.
For the best quality Tequila Blanco, you would expect ingredients to contain only 100% agave. However, Blanco can also be made using a blend of other sugars to substitute the desirable plant in some more affordable versions.
Unlike Blanco Tequila, Joven is a lot rarer and less easy to find on the shelves of your local off-license. It originates as the distilled Blanco tequila, enhanced by adding something to it. In some production lines, this involves blending with colour or glycerine to create a sweeter taste. In others, Blanco is mixed with another category of tequila, such as Añejo or Reposado.
Since the taste of Blanco can be pretty harsh due to its highly pure distillation, Joven offers an alternative drinking experience. It’s smoother, sweeter and more easily consumed, made universal with caramels or other tasty additives.
We’ve already touched on the combination method used to create Joven, but let’s take a closer look at some of the additional ingredients you may discover in this drink.
Joven is often mixed with:
- Caramel syrups
- Fruit syrups
- Light colourings
- Alternative sprits
- Añejo or Reposado Tequila
Joven Tequila that’s created by mixing Blanco and another 100% agave spirit is often called a sipping tequila, pure and high-quality enough to be enjoyed throughout an evening. However, when it’s produced with additional sugars and additives, it’s not considered a sipping drink, and can cause a much more severe hangover the morning after.
Reposado is quite different from Blanco and Joven, mainly due to the long ageing process it needs before reaching the glass. Rested in oak barrels, it has a much smoother taste compared to other forms of tequila.
The flavours can vary depending on the brand, but Reposado usually offers notes of:
- Woody, oak infusions
- Sweet vanilla
- Deep caramel
Reposado Tequila takes its name from the Spanish word for ‘rested’, primarily to describe the ageing process used to create it. Unlike Blanco, which is left to sit for a maximum of two months, this spirit is aged over a period of 2-12 months.
As a result of this process, Reposado is often used in popular tequila-based cocktails such as a margaritas, palomas or a tequila sours. The longer resting process takes the edge off slightly, reducing the sharp or bitter aftertaste of blue agave.
So, that’s everything you need to know about tequila and the three most popular types. Popular in bars, restaurants and supermarkets worldwide, this alcoholic beverage continues to be the party drink of choice for millions.
Whether it’s sipped over ice, enjoyed in a cocktail or slurped as a shot, there’s no denying the variety and brilliance of this exceptional spirit.
Are you a beverage distributor, mixologist or consumer looking to discover a whole new range of handcrafted alcohol brands? Contact us via the Babco Europe website today!