By Paul Barry | Assistant Buyer: Beer & Spirits
Forget about shots, slammers and Margaritas, premium Tequilas offer up a unique combination of fruit and spice flavours to enjoy when sipped straight or over ice.
The blue Agave plant is the key to the distinctive flavour of Tequila. This spiky plant grows wild across Mexico but only spirits distilled from agave grown in the volcanic soil of Jalisco state and some surrounding areas can be called Tequila. Spirits made from agave outside of this area is called Mezcal.
It takes between eight and twelve years for an agave plant to reach maturity before it can be harvested by cutting away the leaves leaving the pina, or heart, which can weight up to 240 pounds. The fructose sugar rich pina is slowly oven cooked to release the sugars needed for fermentation before being crushed and the juice collected to be fermented and then distilled twice. The result is Blanco tequila, a spicy spirit with bold agave taste and aroma.
This Blanco tequila can then be aged in barrels where it takes on increasingly complex flavours with good reposado or anejo tequilas displaying those wood characteristics of vanilla and spice and smokiness. Resposado means rested and this has been aged in oak for between 2 and 12 months and should strike a balance between agave and wood character. Anejo translates as ‘aged’ and these spend a minimum of one year in barrel and display smoother richer flavours.
When buying look out for the term ‘100% agave’, this means the tequila has been made only from the blue agave plant, without the addition of any other juices like cane sugar, and these will show the most smoothness and agave character.
If you are looking for some quality sipping tequila and want to experience the different levels of aging and how it affects the taste of the final spirt then check out the excellent range of Patron tequilas.
Please note prices are correct at time of publishing. Please check our website or stores for the most up-to-date pricing.