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Tequila is proudly made in Mexico and is only produced in five regions. It's Mexico's most well-known and recognized spirit. Its history can be traced back to as early as 250 AD, and like wine, it was used in religious ceremonies and rituals. This drink, called pulque, was made from fermented plant hearts. During Spain's occupation of Mexico, when the Spanish found themselves rid of their supply of brandy, they took notes from pulque and decided to distill the drink and turn it into a spirit. Thus, Tequila was born! Fun fact: the first commercially distributed and bottled Tequila was made on land purchased by a man named Jose Cuervo.
Mexico takes its tequila production very seriously and must meet specific criteria to be called Tequila. It's a very strong drink, after all, so the minimum alcohol content of Tequila is 40% alcohol by volume (ABV) or 80 proof.
Tequila is also enjoyed in many cocktails, most famously the Margarita and Tequila Sunrise. Contrary to popular belief, Tequila is sipped in Mexico, its country of origin, not taken in one go as a shot. This is especially true for the more expensive tequilas like Patron.
Mezcal actually refers to all varieties of spirits made from the 125 species of agave available in Mexico. Tequila is the most globally-known type of Mezcal. All Tequila is Mezcal, but not all Mezcal is Tequila. Think about how in whisky, all Scotch is whisky but not all whisky is Scotch. Or in the same way that Merlot is a specific type of wine, Tequila is a type of Mezcal.
Both drinks are made from agave, but the distinction comes from which type of agave plant. Tequila is exclusively made from blue agave or Blue Weber agave. Meanwhile, Mezcal can be made of other agave and is known for its smokier taste because it's made from roasted agave.
Other tequila ingredients aside from Blue Agave juice include juices mixed from other spirits derived from sugar, colorants, and other additives, depending on the brand.
Try Mezcal on Boozy: 400 Conejos, Montelobos Pechuga
Like other spirits, Tequila's flavor and type depend on the aging time in a cask. The kinds of Tequila refer to how long the spirit is aged:
Blanco or Plato is a tequila that isn't matured and is bottled shortly after distillation. Plato means silver, and Blanco means white in Spanish, so this type is also referred to as silver or white Tequila.
Try on Boozy: Jose Cuervo Silver, 1800 Silver, Patron Silver
Joven, meaning 'young' in Spanish, is a Blanco tequila blended with other tequilas that have aged for longer. Caramel or colored additives are usually added to the Tequila to give it the color, and it is referred to as gold or oro in Spanish.
Try on Boozy: Jose Cuervo Gold
Reposado, meaning 'rested or restful' in Spanish, refers to Tequila aged in wood casks/barrels for up to one year. It's also one of the most popular types of Tequila.
Try on Boozy: Patron Reposado, Olmeca Tequila Reposado, 1800 Reposado, Cazadores Reposado
Añejo, meaning "old," refers to Tequila aged in wood barrels for anywhere between one to three years, and Extra Añejo tequilas are aged for a minimum of three years. Depending on the distillery, caramel may be added to enhance the flavor.
Try on Boozy: 1800 Anejo, Patron Anejo
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