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We may think of tequila as a great party drink, but it’s also considered an art, like wine tasting. There are so many types and flavors of tequila available; it’s like a flavor fiesta. Some places also offer tequila tasting, like Hacienda Tres Rios in the Riviera Maya, Mexico. There’s even a World Tequila Conference. Tequila is a big deal and worth exploring.
Let’s touch on its origins. Legend has it that the very first tequila was born by an act of nature during Aztec times. Lightning struck an agave plant (the source of that wonderful tequila nectar). It burst into flames, creating a fermented liquid from the core of the agave plant. When the Aztecs tasted it, they enjoyed its flavor and effects, believing that it was a drink of the gods and so named it: pulque ("pool-kay")
That’s an apropos name for such an exotic, intoxicating drink. When the Spanish arrived, favoring the Aztec beverage, they distilled it and called it tequila. The name comes from the town of Tequila, in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, where it was first produced over 200 years ago.
Today, more than 100 distilleries exist in Mexico, producing more than 600 different tequilas, made from the blue agave plant. Distilleries must follow a strict set of processing standards dictated by the government (Mexicans take their tequila very seriously). Mexican law requires that all tequila contain at least 51% agave. Genuine tequila containing 100% agave can only be produced, bottled, and inspected in Mexico.
Note: Agave liquor is not tequila. When buying tequila, make sure it’s labeled as “tequila.”
Oro or Joven (gold or young): Young tequila, not aged, gold-ish color; additives are used to resemble aged tequila. This type includes added flavoring to mellow its crisp, harsher flavor. Commonly used for mixed drinks and shooters.
Blanco or Plata (white or silver): Young tequila, not aged, white color. This type typically has a harsher, robust, and tastier flavor than the aged types. Also commonly used for mixed drinks and shooters.
The three aged types of tequila below are richer, smoother, and more complex, containing flavors that are spicy, woody, citrusy, floral, herbal, sweet, and sometimes with a hint of vanilla or chocolate. These types are best consumed neat, chilled, and sipped like brandy.
Reposado (rested): Aged between two months and one year, golden color.
Añejo (aged or vintage): Aged between one and three years, amber color.
Extra Añejo (ultra aged or maduro): Aged a minimum of three years, darker amber color.
Jose Cuervo (try their tropical flavored tequilas)
Sauza 100 Años
Jalapeno Tequila by Tanteo (a milder, well-balanced pepper and agave flavor in a slightly sweet Blanco base). Sounds delicious! What’s your favorite tequila?
A nice place to learn more about tequila is at La Destileria in the Hotel Zone, Boulevard Kukulcan, Km. 12.65, Cancun. Consider learning the fun and finer side of tequila while on your next Cancun vacation. These days, there are some great travel deals!