Tequila has certainly evolved greatly. No more raspiness, as if cats are scratching your neck as it trails down your throat. Considering that it has only a few ingredients, a bottle of agave spirit is really tough to beat.
Let’s get to know how they managed to improve it and what drives the price of every bottle of tequila.
What is Tequila?
Tequila is a distilled spirit made from the core of the agave plant. Aztec Indians were the first to ferment the essence from the agave plant they used in their ceremonies and called it “pulque,” way back 250-300 AD. In the 16th century, the conquistadors from Spain started to make their own bottles of agave tequila. Eventually, the Marquis of Altamira named Don Pedro Sánchez de Tagle mass-produced tequila, and he built his first factory in Jalisco, Mexico.
The Cuervo family was the first to acquire a license to produce tequila commercially. However, Sauza Tequila was the first to import to the American market. In 1974, the term “tequila” was declared by the government of Mexico its intellectual property. This comes from agave like mezcal, but the aromas it produces are more flavorful. As you smell the aromas, you won’t believe that it has a very affordable price, at least most of it.
The best tequilas are made from the place they originated, Mexico. Mexicans say this because Tequila City has the red volcanic clay where premium blue agave grows perfectly.
It is mandated by Mexican law that tequila should only be made from blue agave from Jalisco and some other states in Mexico. Some brands may have completed the aging process in other locations, but Mexico still distills the spirits.
What’s This About Worms?
The worm story appears to be negative publicity against the production of tequila. It was a storyline used by mezcal producers to gain attention to their products.
However, the law in Mexico states that there should be no worm or scorpion on any bottle of tequila as this is a manifestation that the blue agave plant is not healthy and infested. Besides, these are kept sealed in oak storage as it turns into Añejo.
4 Tequila Aging Categories
Aged or Anejo tequila means it has aged for one to three years in French oak barrels at least. It has a darker shade since it was stored inside wooden oak barrels. An añejo drink such as the 1800 tequila assures that the bottle is made from pure blue agave and aged in wine barrels securely to come up with the best flavors you can savor.
2. Extra Aged
Extra aged tequilas or extra Anejo have spent more than three years aging. The color on this variant is a lot darker, and the price is higher. It is double distilled in copper pot stills, making sure tequilas have crystal clear colors, such as 1800 tequila. Unlike other bottles of wine, aging agave for tequila is not advisable for longer than three years. The extra añejo available now are the best ones that you can find.
Silver or white tequila are distilled twice but are not aged longer than two months. They are stored in either neutral oak or inside a stainless steel barrel. You can drink 1800 tequila silver and still enjoy the sensual caress it gives down the throat and just at the right price point. It also has the aromas of spice and vanilla and some other elements stored in the bottle. What’s the difference between gold and silver tequilas?
Reposado, or in other words, rested, are aged but not for long. This tequila is stored for a minimum of two months and a maximum of a year inside an oak barrel. It has a darker shade than silver. Often, it has the aromas of vanilla and some other flavors that is why it is perfect to use in making a margarita. George Clooney has a liking for reposado. That is why he created his own too. Learn the differences between reposado and anejo here.
How to Drink It
A typical shot of tequila is taken neat. Sipping tequila, especially premium tequila, you enjoy it as it is, straight with no salt or lime needed. You just let it slide down your throat and enjoy the smooth, warm heat crawling down gently. 1800 tequila is one of the brands that have a lower price but has a great savor. You can have it neat and enjoy its burst of flavors at a very low price.
The traditional way of having a tequila shot is with a Caballito shot glass and in Mexico, gulping it down neat after taking in its smell of vanilla essence. They consider it unappreciative of the delicious savor of the blue agave spirit and the efforts placed in producing what is called tequila. The glass is sometimes dipped in sugar or salt (1), depending on the drinkers’ preference.
It is very common to use tequila as a base in a cocktail as it has a different punch. Adding silver tequila or reposado tequila would be preferable unless you want a spiky taste on your cocktails. The wine already has flavors that vary, like the 1800 tequila, which leaves a taste of cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, and spice. Turning the liquor into a cocktail will make it extra flavorful.
The best base for a margarita is tequila, and among the choices, reposado tequilas or Blanco is the best fit for the job. 1800 Tequila Reposado makes a good margarita because of its vanilla savor. It will leave vanilla or white pepper with a smoky finish flavor in your mouth. A premium brand tequila will leave citrus notes mixed with brown sugar flavor in your margarita if you use it.
Also Read: Is Tequila a Depressant or a Stimulant?
Some Popular Tequila Brands
Don Julio was created in 1942, and he was only 17 years old then, but he changed the standards of tequila making when he used blue weber agave. High-quality fruits have a good price. This brand also uses aging reposado and añejo inside American white oak casks to influence its flavor, aromas, and character. They have high-quality reposado and Anejo, both at a reasonable price.
This is known as an ultra-premium tequila and is an Añejo tequila with a high price attached to it. The price is reasonable as this premium brand ensures that all the “perfect” blue agave are used for their tequila. They search from all over the region just to pick the best selection.
But beyond that high price tag is an environmentally concerned manufacturer. They are serving the best tequilas, Añejo, in perfection without destroying the earth.
Here’s a closer look on the differences between Don Julio and Patron Tequila.
1800 tequila is actually a smart name if you know the reason behind it. Its name was from the year 1800, the year when tequila was first aged in wood casks. The same company owns 1800 tequila like Jose Cuervo, and they both belong in the standard price category. It offers premium tequila taste, yet 1800 has an affordable price. 1800 tequila also has a trapezoid-shaped bottle and a top that works as a shot glass. Learn more about the different flavors of 1800 tequila here.
Jose Cuervo is a popular name among tequila drinkers, and they belong in the standard price category. However, the price is only on that level as this brand is known for its premium quality, which is why it is popular worldwide. It has a complete offering from 1800 tequila to margarita ready pre-mixed variety. And, just like its sister company, 1800 tequila, the Jose Cuervo brand also uses blue weber agave and keeps it to age in French oak barrels.
Hornitos is also a world-renowned brand that belongs to the budget price category. One would think that they only use low-quality agave because of the low price. They have silver tequila, añejo tequila, and its famous Black Label. They have a unique reposado-resting strategy where they keep it in 10,000-gallon oak barrels known as “pipones” with great aromas. This defines their tequila from the many tequilas sold in the market.
Read: Trader Joe’s Tequilas
Common Tequila Prices
|Brand||Country||Category||Alcohol Content||Average Pricing|
|Jose Cuervo||Jalisco, Mexico||Standard||38-40%||$13.99-$199.99|
|Rose||Missouri, United States||Budget||15%||$10.99-$44.99|
|El Jimador||Jalisco, Mexico||Budget||40%||$19.99-$29.99|
|Cabo Wabo||Jalisco, Mexico||Standard||40%||$38.99-$44.99|
Popular Tequila-based Cocktails
- 2 oz tequila (use Milagro Silver tequila or Don Julio Blanco or Cazadores)
- 2 oz fresh grapefruit juice (set aside wedges for garnish)
- 2 oz sparkling water
- ½ oz lemon juice
- ¼ oz agave nectar or any syrup sea
- salt, for the rim of the glasses
- Rub grapefruit wedge around the rim of the glass.
- Dip glass’ rim on the salt.
- Mix all ingredients except for the ice into the glass and make sure everything is mixed thoroughly.
- Place the ice inside the glass.
- Add syrup if lacking sweetness.
- Garnish with remaining grapefruit wedges.
- 1 ½ cups ice
- 2 fl oz tequila (you can use 1800 Tequila Silver or Jose Cuervo since they are from the same family or Patrón Silver)
- 4 fl oz orange juice
- 1 cup ice
- ¾ fl oz grenadine syrup
- Prepare a highball glass and fill it with 1 1/2 cups ice.
- Set it aside.
- In a mixing glass, mix your tequila and orange juice.
- Add a cup of ice and stir.
- Strain contents and pour on the highball glass.
- Pour in gently the grenadine and let it settle.
- Stir content before drinking.
- 2 oz Blanco tequila (use Corralejo Blanco or 1800 Tequila Silver or any tequila Blanco that you have)
- 1 oz coffee liqueur
- Prepare all ingredients.
- Use an old-fashioned glass and pour tequila along with ice cubes.
- Add in the coffee liqueur.
- Lightly swirl the glass to give the content a little stir.
- 2 oz tequila (use Milagro Silver or 1800 Tequila Silver)
- 4 oz tomato juice
- 1/2 lime juice, squeezed
- 1/2 tbsp horseradish
- ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 dashes of Tabasco sauce
- celery salt
- ground black pepper
- 2 dashes Tapatio hot sauce
- lime wedge for garnish
- Prepare your cocktail shaker.
- Put in all ingredients starting with horseradish, then Worcestershire sauce, tabasco, tomato juice, lime juice, Tapatio, tequila, black pepper, and celery salt inside the cocktail shaker.
- Fill with ice.
- Shake very well for a brief moment.
- Strain and pour on pint glass with full of fresh ice.
- Garnish with a lime wedge or any garnish you have available.
- 1 1/2 oz reposado tequila (best to use 1800 tequila reposado)
- 1/2 oz crème de cassis
- 1/2 oz lemon essence
- 4 oz ginger beer
- 1 lemon wedge or orange peel
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then pour tequila.
- Add in crème de cassis along with lemon essence.
- Shake very well.
- Prepare collins glass and fill with fresh ice.
- Strain mixture and pour on glass.
- Pour in ginger beer.
- Garnish finish product with a lemon wedge or orange peel.
What is the best way to drink tequila?
The best way to drink tequila is to sip a small portion straight. Taking it neat is the best way to appreciate the flavors of the tequilas distilled to perfection. New drinkers would probably want a slice of lemon or a pinch of salt to tone it down a bit.
Is tequila stronger than vodka?
No. Tequila is not stronger than vodka if you look at the ABV content of the two bottles. It is a must for a tequila to have 35% to 55% ABV content once distilled, while vodka has no limit as long as it is over 40% before it can be sold in the US.
Does tequila kill bacteria?
Yes. Tequila can kill bacteria because it contains alcohol and the best tequilas have higher alcohol content. A bottle like the 1800 tequila would have 50% and 80% in it since agave is a good source of sugar converted to ethanol as it goes through fermentation. But, does tequila go bad?
How many shots of tequila will get you drunk?
You will get drunk after three shots of potent tequila like the 1800 tequila that went through a good aging process. An aged tequila or Añejo bottle taken straight will most likely hurt your head in the morning even if it does not cause a hangover, but the premium price will. Here’s more information on how many tequila shots will get you drunk.
Everybody loves tequila. Put it in cocktails, mix it in margaritas, or drink it neat – the savor will still be great. This cooked agave has its special vanilla aroma that comes out after it is double distilled and ages. Inside a bottle is an Añejo spirit guaranteed to make your day.
The price of an Añejo bottle may be high for some brands, but if you want to have quality drinks for your margarita, you don’t have to look for anything else.
The unique aromas it brings are enough for you to love every sip of tequila.
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!