How Is Tequila Different From Other Alcohol? Solved (2023)

Last Updated on September 22, 2023 by Lydia Martin

Tequila is a distilled alcoholic drink composed of a blue agave plant– a native to Jalisco, Mexico. 

Due to tequila’s flavor profile and character, it became popular worldwide, competing with other spirit expressions.   

But how is tequila different from other alcohol? What’s in tequila that makes many fanatics prefer it over any other liquor? 

Let’s uncover the secret of tequila and dive deep into its roots, ingredients, tasting notes, and varieties.  

Difference Between Tequila & Other Hard Liquors 

chilled tequila shots with lime and salt

Unlike other alcoholic beverages, tequila is made from the blue agave plant and must only be made within Mexico. 

There are two laws involving tequila. Under Mexican law, tequila must be crafted from 100% agave plant to be labeled “tequila.” 

But under US Law, they consider tequila made from 51% agave plant to be commercially sold as “tequila.”

Since this is not pure agave, Mexicans referred to this as “Mixtos” — not tequila.

Moreover, making tequila requires baking and cooking, unlike most liquors.

Besides, the alcohol content of tequila, which is generally 38% – 40%, is lower than other alcoholic beverages. 

Though it can be as low as 31% or high as 55%, these tequila expressions are rare. But you have a variety of types to try, like the popular Anejo and Resposado.  

What Makes Tequila Different? 


Making tequila involves six phases – harvesting, baking, and juicing to fermenting, distilling, and aging. 

After harvesting blue agave, it will be baked until it forms like coal for extraction. Then, it will be juiced into pulp before undergoing fermentation. 

The fermentation process usually forms the alcohol when the liquid is mixed with yeast. 

Next is distillation, where the steam or heat presses the liquid into a sterilized copper tube that produces liquor containing 40% ABV, more or less. 

“I enjoy tequila, which has a strange effect on people, and it makes parties more fun than warm white wine.”

– Simon Sebag Montefiore, British Historian 

The last process is aging, where the distilled liquid is aged in barrels or stainless steel for two months to three years.

But unlike other hard liquors, some tequilas are not aged. 


harvesting blue agave plants

Authentic tequila has only one ingredient; it’s made from 100% blue agave plant, which most high-quality expressions contain. 

But there is Mixtos tequila, which mixes blue agave juice with other spirits crafted from sugarcane juice. 

Read: Top Non-Alcoholic Tequilas To Try

Place of Origin 

Tequila must ONLY be made in Mexico, particularly in Jalisco, Tamaulipas, Nayarit, Michoacán, and Guanajuato.

However, it can be shipped to the US to be bottled and sold. 

Flavor Profile

3 glasses of tequila

Tequila can be smooth, spicy, sweet, and sometimes toasty or fruity with an agave taste.

The flavor may vary depending on its variety, how long it’s been aged, and the aging method used. 

Varieties like Anejo, Reposado, and extra Anejo, feature a toasty taste and silky texture. But other varieties tend to take on sweet and spicy notes. 


  • Silver or Blanco – this variety is bottled right after it’s been distilled. It can be unaged or aged for at least two months in neutral oak barrels or stainless steel. 
  • Reposado – aged for two months at the minimum (in any size of oak barrels) but no more than one year 
  • Anejo – aged for at least one year but no more than three years using small oak barrels
  • Extra Anejo – aged for at least three years using oak barrels
  • Joven or Oro – a mixto variety (not 100% agave) with additives for coloring 

Is Tequila Healthier Than Other Alcoholic Drinks? 

Compared to other alcoholic drinks, tequila is considered a healthier option because of its lower sugar and calories.

Also, unlike other distilled spirits, tequila has low impurities such as fusel oil and methanol when consumed reasonably. 

To reap its benefits, you should choose tequilas with “100% Agave Plant” or “100% Blue Agave” labels

These expressions are made with natural agavins or fructose, preventing the rise of your blood sugar levels or body fat. 

Is It A Stimulant or a Depressant? 

hand holding tequila shot glass

Although tequila is categorized as a stimulant, it has a sedative effect on the brain, the same substance found in this type of liquor. 

Since tequila has high levels of caffeine, consuming large amounts of tequila functions as a depressant.

Read: Top Additive-Free Tequilas


Is tequila the cleanest liquor?

Tequila can be one of the cleanest liquors due to its low levels of impurities compared to other spirits.

Particularly, tequila made from pure agave plants like Blanco or Silver is one of the healthier choices among the varieties. 

Does tequila give you a hangover?

Tequila can cause a hangover when consumed too much in a short period.

Its alcohol content may contain toxic compounds produced during fermentation, causing hangover symptoms.

Key Takeaways

From the production process to the aging, tequila has its own way of delivering booze to drinkers. 

But among any other factor that makes tequila unique, it’s impressive to know the fact that it is a healthy option among other liquor types. 

Its pure agave ingredient (for authentic tequilas) [1] creates a healthy alcoholic drink– with fewer calories and sugar. 

So if you’re considering your health among anything else, go for tequila. 



Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.

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