Experience the Delight of Premium Tequila: A World of Sophisticated Flavors Await
Casual drinkers have an intense love-hate relationship with tequila. It’s an acquired taste but rewards you with sophisticated flavors depending on the type and brand. Tequila’s popularity has also led to an influx of cheap and inferior tequila that casual tequila drinkers do not even recognize.
According to International Wine & Spirit Research (IWSR) data, tequila is the new gin. Tequila is the fastest-growing spirit, increasing at an annual rate of 9%, only behind gin at 12 %.
The tequila market has become more premium because consumers have realized that the spirit is delicious when sipped straight – an attribute that only premium and ultra-premium tequila possess. If you want to enjoy a premium tequila experience, know the difference between mixed and cheap tequila.
What is Tequila? Where Does It Come From?
All tequilas originate from the Agave Tequilana Weber Azul, commonly known as blue agave. Tequila is produced by distilling fermentation from blue agave plants. The origin of the liquor dates back more than 1000 years to the time of the Aztecs’ fermented milky drink, pulque. According to current Mexican law, all products claiming to be tequila have come from Tequila in Jalisco, a state in central Mexico.
By taking the heart of an agave plant and steaming it, tequila producers shred the heart (known as the piña) until a juice called aguamiel comes off. The aguamiel is mixed with cane sugar and yeast and fermented for several days. The juice is then distilled in copper pots twice to reach 90-proof. For a spirit to be recognized as tequila it must contain at minimum 51% distillate from the blue agave.
Premium Tequilas Are “Au Naturale”
Whether Silver tequila or Añejo tequila, 100% agave means no additional additives or flavors in the tequila, meaning that it is derived solely from blue agave plants that have been fermented and distilled. The absence of third-party additives allows for a refined, complex, and delicate taste that can be enjoyed between sips, setting premium and ultra-premium tequilas apart from their counterparts. However, it is important to note that the agave percentage can vary from one brand to another.
To determine if your tequila is made entirely from the agave plant, look for the label that says 100% agave. Chances are, if the drink has not been labeled in this way, it is not 100% agave. For quality control, every bottle of tequila must contain at least 51% of agave. The manufacturers can add as much as 49% more flavorings or additives, such as potatoes and sugars. The Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) ensures that all labels, production, and bottling comply with the Official Mexican Standard of Tequila.
The Maturation Process Makes a Difference
The only difference between premium tequilas and other tequilas is the aging process. There are five main categories of tequila:
- Bottled directly after distillation. Some are aged for only a short time.
- Tequila aged 2-12 months in oak barrels.
- A blend of Blanco and Reposado yequilas.
- Añejo. Tequilas aged in oak barrels for 1-3 years. Extra Añejo is aged for three years or longer.
- Tequila contains less than 100% blue agave and is usually mixed with sugar or other spirits.
For ultra-premium tequila, the aging process can take up to three years. When you add the time required to grow the agave, producing an ultra-premium bottle can take 11 years. Basic tequila takes about eight years.
Remember, 100% agave means no third-party additions outside of yeast and water. So how can premium and ultra-premium tequilas boast a rich and complex flavor profile if this is the case? It all comes down to the barrels they’re aged in. Scotch whisky barrels, for example, give tequilas a dry, agave-forward finish. Some well-aged, high-end tequilas are aged in Sherry barrels, which add a touch of fruitiness. Brandy barrels add sweetness. When choosing a tequila to suit your palate, consider the barrels.
Your Local Beverage Experts
Conveniently located in Grovetown, A & M Beverage is a friendly, knowledgeable liquor store serving Columbia County, Georgia residents. We not only carry all your beverage staples but also offer a wide variety of regional craft beers, exceptional wine, and premium liquors, including single-barrel bourbon. And if you don’t see something on our shelves that you would like, we can special order it.
Enjoy warehouse prices without the warehouse experience – stop by our store today!