Tequila is made in Mexico from the agave plant. It got its name because it was primarily made in the surrounding area of the city Tequila and in the highlands. It was first made in the 16th century but wasn't first recognized until 1656. The aztec people deserve the credit of discovering this drink but the spanish conquistadors after running out of brandy, distilled tequila as well and most likely introduced it to North America.
The first tequila was actually mass produced in 1795 by José Maria Guadalupe de Cuervo and Don Cenobio Sauza was the first to export it to the United States and to a local bar near you. After many years came different variations and different drinks were invented like one of summer's most popular margaritas. There are many different types of tequila today.
Anejo,Reposado,Silver,Extra Anejo. Let's break it down a little more:
Tequila Silver, Platinum, Blanco , Plata , White is un-aged, clear and is considered in it's purest form. It has intense flavors of agave and a natural sweetness which is smooth(Suave).
Tequila Gold, Oro, Joven, Dark is actually the same as the Plata but with added flavorings and colors. Among some of the popular tequilas like Cuervo you will find most bars and clubs use these young tequilas for mixed drinks and recipes.
Tequila Añejo (extra aged) is aged for at least one year in a barrel which darkens the tequila to an amber color. It's smoother and more complex as well as richer in taste.
Tequila Extra Añejo (ultra aged) is one of the newer classifications added to the family. It is stored in barrels for more than three years which make the tequila even darker and more rich in color. By governing laws, the aged tequila must be stored in barrels not exceeding 600 liters.
Tequilas are also governed under strict laws which puts them in two categories, 100% Blue agave and Mixed which must contain at least 51% agave and the rest could be cane sugars, coloring or sweeteners. Among some of the most popular brands are Cuervo,Sauza,Patron,Don Julio, Cabo Wabo. Some tequilas have added distilled water to reduce the alcohol content which can exceed 100 proof.Hopefully the next time you grab the salt and lime for your tequila shot, you can impress your friends with some of this information. It not only is informative but makes a great party conversation. As always this is Billy Wineheart wishing you great friends,great food and great spirits.