All About Tequila And Its Four Types
Image Credit: Pixabay. Whether drunk neat or mixed into cocktails, there’s no denying the appeal of tequila.

It goes into citrusy margaritas and makes evenings fun when shots of it are downed with lemon and salt. Whether drunk neat or mixed into cocktails, there’s no denying the appeal of tequila.

Tequila is a distilled liquor made from the Weber blue agave plant. It’s mainly produced in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, and also some other parts of the country. The agave plant (or agave tequilana) has tall, spiked leaves on the top, similar to the top of a pineapple. The “heart” of the agave plant also looks like the outside of a pineapple. This is why it is also called the ‘piña’, which is the Spanish word for pineapple.

The alcoholic drink is made by harvesting the blue agave plant. The piña of the blue agave plant is heated and baked in a special oven called an ‘horno’, and then pressed and shredded to extract its liquid sugars known as the ‘mosto’. These sugars are then fermented with yeast and water and result in tequila. The clear tequila is distilled and either bottled immediately, or aged in steel or oak barrels to develop different flavours and colours.

Based on age, here are the different types of tequila:

Tequila blanco

Also called silver tequila, tequila blanco is considered the purest form of tequila. It is bottled immediately after distillation. Tequila blanco is clear because it is not aged or rested in oak barrels and can have a slightly citrusy flavour. It is the variety of tequila used in popular cocktails like margaritas. Good tequila blanco brands include Patrón, Espolòn, and El Jimador. 

Tequila reposado

In Spanish, reposado translates to ‘rested’ and so tequila reposado is a variant that is slightly aged. Like tequila blanco, it is made from the blue agave plant, which is fermented and then distilled. After distillation, tequila reposado is aged for two months to one year in oak barrels. This gives it a light amber hue. This type of tequila usually has flavours of oak, vanilla, and citrus. It sometimes replaces tequila blanco in cocktails like margaritas. Quality tequila reposado brands include Casamigos, Don Julio, Fortaleza, and Herradura. 

Tequila añejo

Añejo means ‘vintage’ or ‘old’ in Spanish. Tequila añejo is typically aged for one to four years. This variant is aged in American or French oak barrels, and has a dark amber colour. The flavour notes are of oak, vanilla, and caramel. It is considered the smoothest of all types of tequila and is best enjoyed on its own instead of in cocktails. This makes the ideal tequila for shots. The long ageing time makes this type of tequila expensive, but there are affordable brands like Hornitos, Don Julio, and Cazadores.

Tequila extra añejo

Aged for at least three years or more in oak barrels, tequila extra añejo is less common than other types of tequila. It has a dark amber colour and notes of oak, vanilla and cinnamon. Tequila extra añejo is produced in small quantities and is recommended for sipping on special occasions since it is expensive. Brands that sell this type of tequila include Patron, Jose Cuervo, and Tequila Mandala Dia de Muertos.