Tequila was North America’s first distilled drink and the first to be produced commercially. Like Mexico itself it is surrounded by myth…
Tequila is made from cactus juice No, it’s made only from the blue Agave plant which is related to the Amaryllis and the Lily. It is a succulent, but definitely not a cactus!
Traditional Tequila has a worm in the bottom of the bottle The worm in the bottle was never a traditional element and was only introduced into a similar drink – Mescal – in the 1940s as a marketing ploy. Some American brands of Tequila followed suit and the myth was born.
All Tequilas are the same Heavens no! That would be like saying all single malts are the same. They vary a lot depending on the production process, the growing environment of the Agave plants including the temperature, the soil, the age of the plants and the means by which they’re baked.
Seek out tequilas made completely from agave — they’re much smoother and can be sipped neat.
Blanco or silver tequilas are virtually unaged so are zesty and spicy.
Reposado tequilas are aged for 2-12 months in oak barrels. This gives them more of a warm woody flavour.
Añejos tequilas are aged for longer – 1 to 4 years, and are very woody.
Many people consider the reposado tequilas to give the best balance between the agave profile and the wood but it’s really down to personal taste.
By Sarah Davey