How much do you know about Tequila? Many of us know little about tequila, other than the song, something about a worm and that it is an excuse for body shots. In honor of National Tequila Day, July 24, WINE WORLD & Spirits is sharing the top ten facts that you may not know about Tequila.
Remember these facts after a shot of tequila to amaze your friends and win pub trivia contests. Want to learn more about Tequila?
- In Mexico, Tequila is drank neat: without lime and salt
When it comes to lime and salt with their Tequila, Mexicans go for margaritas. Shots of tequila are drank without the extras.
- Tequila is closer to lilies than cactus
Many believe Tequila is made from cactus, but the Agave plant is actually in the lily family not cactus.
- All Tequila is Mezcal, but not all Mezcal is Tequila
Mezcal is a distilled beverage made in Mexico from Agave. Tequila is made from Blue Agave in the Appellation of Origin: Tequila Territory, primarily the state of Jalisco
- Tequila is made of at least 51% Blue Agave
Although Mezcal can be made from the 100s of different Agave varieties. Tequila must contain at least 51% of Blue Agave and many believe it should be 100%. Tequila consisting of less than 100% Blue Agave are called Mixto.
- It takes 8-12 years for the Blue Agave plant to mature enough to make Tequila
Tequila is made from the heart of the Blue Agave plant, called piña. The pinamay weigh up to 200 pounds when harvested.
- Worms are prohibited in Tequila bottles but may be present in Mezcal
By law worms are prohibited in Tequila bottles. Agave Snout Weevil or the caterpillar phase of the Hypopta Agavis Moth may be in Mezcal bottles. They used to be included to prove the proof and/or presence of agave.
- Tequila has terroir
Tequilas from agave grown in the highlands north of Guadalajara are fruitier and floral; whereas those from the valleys are earthier, maybe a bit of spice to the flavor.
- Much of the work in making Tequila is done by hand
Agave is hand selected for harvest and harvested by hand. In premium Tequilas, the pulp is extracted from the fiber in large stone bowls by humans after being ground down in the tahona.
- Color is NOT a guarantee of Tequila quality
Tequila turns color from aging in barrel or by the addition of color additives. A premium white tequila will taste much better than an artificially colored young tequila
- The three main categories of Tequila are:
- Blanco - Un-aged and bottled within two months of distillation
- Reposado – Aged between two-twelve months in barrels
- Anejo – Aged between 1-3 years in small oak barrels
- Two additional categories seen include:
- Joven or Oro – mixture of Blanco and Reposado tequilas
- Extra Anejo - Aged 3-5 years in oak barrels