Today, July 24, is National Tequila Day. And to get in the mood, we had an informal tequila tasting in my kitchen. We tried several brands that have arrived in the last week or so and a few little bottles procured from the media schwag room at Tales of the Cocktail. Before we get into what we tasted, here are a few quick facts about tequila and agave:
- Although there are more than 200 varieties of agave in Mexico, at least 51 percent of each bottle of tequila must be composed of the sugars extracted from the agave tequilana weber blue variety
- The heart of the plant, the piña, where the juices are extracted from, can weigh between 80 and 130 pounds
- The plant’s growing cycle is of approximately 10 years, at which time it is recommended to extract the juices
- The agave is cooked in brick ovens for 50 to 72 hours although the more modern processes done in steel ovens last only 12 hours
- Mandated by Mexican Law, tequila can be produced only in the state of Jalisco and a few areas in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas.
- Tequila has 3 aging grades. Blanco/plata aged for only 60 days in any type of barrel. Reposado, aged from 60 days to 1 year in wood, typically oak. Añejo, aged in oak for 1 3 years.
- Based on where the agave is grown, the volcanic uplands or the lowland plateau surrounding Guadalajara, the resulting tequilas can be quite different. These are known as highland & lowland tequilas, these are unofficial styles and there is no indication on the label which is which.
Here’s what we tried, full reviews will follow:
– Plata: Very smooth for an unaged tequila with hints of citrus and peppery heat at the finish.
– Reposado: Smooth with a hint of sweet oakiness.
– Anejo: Spicy and warm with a fine oak finish, This was our favorite of the night!
Voodoo Tiki Anejo:
- Wins for best bottle, hand blown and beautiful. The tequila is also very fine with a mellow finish and hints of pepper and grass.
- Blanco: Light and fresh, what you want from a blanco.
– Reposado: Earthy and smooth.
– Anejo: Sharp tones with a mellow finish.
- Not exactly for sipping, but perfect for a margarita.
Tanteo Tropical, Chocolate and Jalapeno:
- These infused tequila were interesting, on the nose one could smell the mango in the Tropical and the chocolate and Jalapeno very pronounced. We felt these were best suited for cocktails.