Tequila is a spirit made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, 40 miles northwest of Guadalajara, and in the highlands (Los Altos) of the western Mexican state of Jalisco. The red volcanic soil in the surrounding region is particularly well suited to the growing of the blue agave.
Harvesting the agave plant remains a manual effort, unchanged by modern farming technologies, and stretching back hundreds of years. The men who harvest it are called "jimadores"; they pull out the hijuelos (Agave offspring) without damaging the mother plant and clear the piñas (Spanish for pineapples). The piñas are then shredded; their juices pressed out and put into fermentation tanks and vats. The masquow (Agave juice) is fermented for several days. The fermented product is then distilled once to produce what is called "ordinario", a cloudy or milky liquid, and then distilled for a second time to produce clear, silver Tequila. From there the Tequila is diluted and bottled, or it is pumped into barrels to begin the aging process.
Usually, there is a clear difference in taste between tequila that is made from highland and lowland agave plants. Agaves grown in the highlands are larger in size and sweeter in aroma and taste, whereas those grown in the lowlands have earthier, fiberish flavors and a herbaceous fragrance.
There are two basic categories of tequila: 100% agave and mixtos (no less than 51% blue agave, with other sugars making up the remainder).
The main three categories of 100% agave tequila are:
· Blanco ("white") or plata ("silver"): white spirit, un-aged and bottled or stored immediately after distillation, or aged less than two months in stainless steel or neutral oak barrels;
· Reposado ("rested"): aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels of any size;
· Añejo ("aged" or "vintage"): aged a minimum of one year, but less than three years in small oak barrels;
Blanco or plata is harsher with the bold flavors of the distilled agave up front, while reposado and añejo are smoother, subtler, and more complex
"Tequila worm" myth
It is a misconception that some tequilas contain a "worm" in the bottle. The worm is actually the larval form a moth, which lives on the agave plant. Finding one in the plant during processing indicates an infestation and, correspondingly, a lower quality product.
Ways to drink
In Mexico, the most traditional way to drink tequila is straight (i.e., without lime and salt). Outside Mexico, a single shot of tequila is often served with salt and a slice of lime. This is called "tequila cruda". Though the traditional Mexican shot is straight tequila, lime is the fruit of choice when a chaser must be used. It is believed that the salt lessens the "burn" of the tequila and the sour fruit balances and enhances the flavor.
El Jimador Agave Blanco 38% £2.50 £4.10
Tequila Olmeca Silver 38% £2.50 £4.10
Tequila Sauza Blanco 38% £2.50 £4.10
Sauza Hacienda Reposado 38% £2.50 £4.10
Montezuma Silver Tequila 38% £2.50 £4.10
Jose Cuervo Especial Silver 38% £3.00 £5.10
Jose Cuervo Especial Gold 38% £3.00 £5.10
Sauza Commeritivo Tequila 40% £3.00 £5.10
Tequila Sauza Hornitos 38% £4.50 £7.10
Cazadores Blanco Tequila 40% £4.50 £7.10
Gran Centenario Reposado 38% £4.50 £7.10
Tequila Monte Alban 40% £4.50 £7.10
Jose Cuervo Reserva Familia 38% £7.00 £12.00
Jose Curevo Reserva Familia Platino 40% £7.00 £12.00
Herradura 40% £4.50 £7.10
Sipping Tequilas/Anjeo Tequila
Fortaleza Anejo 40% £4.50 £7.10
Single Estate Ocho Anejo 38% £4.50 £7.10
Don Julio 1942 Anejo 40% £7.00 £12.00
Don Julio Reposado 38% £7.00 £12.00
Don Julio Anejo 38% £7.00 £12.00
Don Julio Blanco 38% £3.00 £5.10
Corzo Reposado 38% £4.50 £7.10
Partida Reposado 40% £4.50 £7.10
Partida Anejo 40% £4.50 £7.10
Grand Patron Platinum £10.00 £18.00