Beginner’s Guide: Tequila Appreciation (3 Things You Need To Know)
When I think of tequila, the song ‘Shots’ by LMFAO starts playing in my head. Tequila had a notorious reputation of being the party drink (not by choice… for most!) that leads to you making bad decisions and even worse hangovers. But let us leave that in 2009.
Tequila since then has rebranded itself as a luxury item – offering aged and flavoured versions of itself. Take this journey with us to uncover the beauty and complexity of tequila. Here are 3 things you need to know before taking your first shot.
1. What is Tequila
The most fundamental thing to know is that tequila is a mezcal (distilled spirit from the agave plant), but mezcals are not all tequila. The Mexican government has imposed regulations to control what can be called Tequila and how it is made. In order to be considered tequila it has to be made of at least 51% from the Agave tequilana Weber Blue, blue agave or Agave Azul.
Tequila can only be produced and bottled in certain municipalities of five Mexican states known as the Denomination of Origin Tequila (DOT) -- Jalisco (99% of tequila is made here and it is the town of origin), Nayarit, Guanajuato, Michoacan, and Tamaulipas. All tequilas are required to be aged for at least 14-21 days and must be made from 100% natural ingredients (including neutral spirit made from cane sugar juice) and be a minimum of 38% alcohol.
GudSht recommends Sauza Silver Tequila as the perfect introduction to the world of fine tequila. It has fruity and floral notes, with a bitter citrus finish.
2. Types of Tequila
Blanco or Plata
These are the white or silver tequila that are clear in colour. They are almost bottled immediately or rested in stainless steel tanks no more than two months. They have a bold taste and works best in cocktails.
Oro or Joven
These are the gold or young tequilas. They are often made from unaged mixto (not 100% blue agave) tequilas, coloured and flavoured with caramel, oak extract, and other additives.
These refer to the ‘rested’ tequilas that have been aged in oak bourbon barrels for a minimum of two months, while most from three to nine months. This imparts flavour, colour, and dimension to the finished taste. These are best for sipping,
These are aged in oak bourbon barrels as well, but for a minimum of one year. Most are aged for up to three years. These have a robust, toasty, vanilla and citrus flavour, accompanied by a dark hue.
These must be aged for at least three years, producing a tequila with a smokier flavour. They are comparable to fine cognacs and whiskies.
These are tequilas flavoured with natural ingredients such as fruits and citrus.
GudSht recommends Padre Azul Anejo Tequila as a good gateway to experience the complexities of flavours. It has notes of oak, caramel, almond and cocoa with a sweet and dry finish.
3. How to enjoy tequila
The traditional way in Mexico to enjoy tequila is neat at room temperature without the lime or salt, or as a sangrita (mixed with fruit juices and hot chilli sauce).
On a more international scale, tequila is a versatile spirit and can be enjoyed in a diverse range of cocktails. For the younger tequilas, GudSht recommends buzzing it up in a fresh and fruity margarita. Perfect for Singapore’s tropical weather. For the aged tequilas, we recommend an Old Fashioned or a Sazerac. Hitting the nail on the head when it comes to luxury and sophistication. Patron Añejo Tequila will work best for this!
Whatever your preference may be, GudSht’s wide range of tequilas has exactly what you are looking for. The diversity of flavours and fine quality will not leave you disappointed. As they say, “When life gives you lemons, grab a bottle of tequila and salt”.