5 things you need to know when choosing a tequila

agave

Agave plants in Jalisco. Photo by Vallarta Adventures.

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a huge fan of tequila. I’ve learned a lot about tequila and how it’s made from various tours to tequila distilleries. From the Jose Cuervo distillery to smaller family operated distilleries in Jalisco, they’ve all piqued my appreciation for tequila.

Mundo Cuervo

The first step in the production process – the agave plants are cut (they resemble pineapples).

All of the places I have toured have been in the Mexico’s tequila-producing state of Jalisco. The Jose Cuervo distillery was one of my favourites because it was very informative and our tour there took us through the entire production process: from the brick-built ovens where the agave is cooked, the copper stills it is distilled in and the aging halls where it is aged in wood barrels. We ended the tour in a cellar that holds the Cuervo family’s reserve tequila. Mundo Cuervo is located in the quaint and idyllic little town of Tequila in Jalisco, which is about 60 km from Guadalajara. The distillery, and tequila in general, is a large economic driver for the small town.

Tequila is aged in various types of wood barrels.

Tequila is aged in various types of wood barrels.

We got to visit the cellar that holds the family's reserve tequila

We got to visit the cellar that holds the family’s reserve tequila

The tequila-bottle shaped buses, the cobblestone roads and the 18th century church that stands in the middle of town make the town picturesque and transforms you back in time. My family and I spent a day in Tequila and I absolutely loved it. One of my old favourite telenovelas, (Mexican soap opera) Destilando Amor was filmed there but seeing it in person was breathtaking. The town and the area surrounding is considered World Heritage Site, based on the popularity of tequila and its historical connection to the town.

Tequila bus 1

This is a real bus in Tequila.

Tequila 4

This 18th century church still stands in the town square.

Back to tequila the drink. Tequila comes from the blue agave plant that is native to Jalisco. The Mexican government protects the name “tequila” reserving its use for tequila made from the agave to mainly this region of Mexico. tequila - 5 things5 things you need to know when choosing tequila: 1. Look for a label that says 100% blue agave. If it only says tequila, it can have up to 49% added sugars and flavourings. 2. White tequila (can be referred to as silver or blanco) is the blue agave in its purest form (its my first choice). It is not aged and goes down smooth, making it a good choice for shooters. 3. Generally, gold tequila (oro) has added colouring and flavour. For this reason, these tend me be lower  in price 4.  Tequila reposada refers to it being ages in wood barrels anywhere from 2-12 months. 5. Tequila Anejo is extra aged. These are aged up to three years and are much darker in colour and rich in taste. My tequilas of choice are: Jose Cuervo, 1800 and Don Julio. When using tequila for cocktails or margaritas, I also prefer to sweeten them with agave syrup. Take your newfound tequila knowledge and enjoy one of these three tequila recipes. Drink responsibly and enjoy!

1. Strawberry Margarita

I shared this recipe in the middle of the winter but it tastes even better when you aren’t surrounded by snow.

Strawberry-lime margarita

Strawberry-lime margarita

2. Grapefruit Infused Tequila 

Drink on its own or turn it into a spritzy cocktail.

grapefruit infused tequila

3. Paloma 

This citrus tequila cocktail is perfect for those warm summer nights! This is my preferred choice for this year’s tequila day because it’s refreshing.

Paloma - a refreshing tequila cocktail.

Paloma – a refreshing tequila cocktail.

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