Good tequila was not meant to be slammed. Better labels should be sipped slowly. Bites of lime & salt in between sips are perfectly okay. Try a reposado or añejo for the best results, you'll be surprised at how palatable a good tequila can be.
Plata (Silver or White ) - Fresh from the still, this is the original stuff. Contains no additives. Excellent for mixed drinks, but better labels can also be sipped.
Joven Abocado (Gold) - White tequila with artificial caramel colors and flavors added. More popular in the U.S. and best used in mixed drinks.
Reposado (Rested) - Aged a minimum of two months to one year in oak tanks or barrels. Sometimes takes on a slight natural tint from the oak barrels. Most are 100% agave. Mix in drinks or sip it, the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
Añejo (Aged) - Aged a minimum of one year in government sealed oak barrels for a mature and mellow flavor. Usually has a natural light golden color from oak barrels. Intended to be sipped and savored like a fine cognac or scotch.
The Heart of the Matter: Fast Facts about Tequila
- Agave is not a member of the cactus family, but more related to aloe or amarylis.
- There are more than 300 types of agave plants, but real tequila can only be made from blue agave.
- Blue agave is only grown in the state of Jalisco and small parts of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Tamaulipas, and Nayarit.
- The word tequila is derived from the Nahuátl Indian word for volcano. The town of Tequila , in the state of Jalisco, is situated on the lava formed foothills of an ancient volcano. Volcanic soil is the optimum soil for growing blue agave. Convenient how that all worked out, isn't it?
- Tequila is clear and colorless after distillation. Only artificial additives (generally caramel) or aging in oak barrels give it color.
- Tequila does not really need to be aged since the juice ages in the heart of the agave.
- Tequila never comes with a worm in the bottle. That would be mezcal, which is basically tequila in it's rawest (and unregulated) form.
- 100% agave tequila can only be produced with written permission from the government. It can have no additives and an official inspector must be present at the time of bottling.
- About 40 million liters of tequila are currently produced annually and more than 90% of it is exported to the U.S. Yes, the U.S. consumes more tequila than Mexico ! In fact, more than any other country on the planet. Salud!