Tequila varieties can be confusing. This article will simplify how to order tequila that is right for your taste.
You’re sitting across from your date, who suggests you do shots of tequila. “What kind of tequila would you like?” the server asks innocently. Wishing you had brought your date to a civilized wine bar where you’d know the difference between a chardonnay and a pinot noir, you squirm and struggle to remember the name of the stuff with the worm in it so you can impress your date.
The sense of helplessness, when faced with types of tequila options, is far from unusual. In fact, most of us don’t have a clue. Silver or gold? Reposado or Anejo? Is it better if it costs more? Who knows?
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Always Order 100 Percent Blue Agave Tequila
Selecting a good tequila really comes down to two things. The first is to be sure you are getting tequila that is a hundred percent blue agave. Legally a liquor can be considered tequila if it has at least fifty-one percent blue agave, which means the other forty-nine percent can be neutral grained spirits. This diminishes the quality because the true taste of the agave is diluted.
Treat Tequila Like Wine
Second, you need to establish the category of tequila you prefer, like choosing your favorite variety of wine.
There are four varieties of tequila to choose from.
Blanco (white), also known as Plata (silver), could be described as the purest form of tequila taste. It tends to be hot and peppery and is recommended for margaritas and other mixed drinks because it is strong enough to be recognized in a tart drink and mixes well with citrus. Blanco is also a good choice for chilled shots.
Esperanto – is aged in oak barrels for 2-12 months and takes on a smoother flavor with hints of vanilla and wood, while still allowing the herbal, peppery flavor of agave to shine through. It’s a good way to start enjoying the influence of the oak on the agave.
Anejo – “aged” in Spanish, are tequilas that are aged from 12 mos.- to 3 years and start almost tasting like good bourbon or scotch because they take on the character of the wood in flavor and color. This is a good choice for sipping.
Extra Anejos, aged 3 or more years, is a fairly new category, almost like cognac. They are rich and thick and sweeter because some of the alcohol has evaporated. This category also lends itself to sipping.
You Don’t Have to Swallow a Worm
What about this worm thing? The worm is actually found in mescal, not tequila, another form of agave spirits that are less regulated by the Mexican government, that come primarily from Oaxaca. The worm is actually a larva found on agave plants. It’s a gimmick and has no special qualities.
Tequila, on the other hand, is manufactured near the town of Tequila in Jalisco State, Mexico. It can be, one of the most delicious spirits if you taste it in the right fashion. In learning about tequila, you can treat it like wine. Finding out about why it has the taste it has – first taste the different varieties and then try different brands. Each tequila maker has lots of opportunities to vary techniques and put their own stamp on it.
Try a Tequila Tasting
Check out your local meetup groups, suggest this idea to your favorite Mexican restaurant, or consult your neighborhood liquor store and hold a tasting of your own to help your friends discover the delicious subtleties in distinctive tequila taste. Enjoy!
All of these suggestions and tips will help you in learning how to order tequila. You’ll soon find your favorite type and be one that others look to in their quest for the perfect tequila!