Arriba! Here Are Tequila Drinking Terms, Explained
Welcome to the world of tequila, where every sip tells a story, and each term holds the key to unlocking a spectrum of flavours and experiences. Tequila isn't just a drink; it's an adventure, a journey through agave fields and distillation processes, leaving you with a glass filled not just with a spirit but with the essence of Mexico. If you love your tequila and want to know more about the terms, you have reached the right place. Scroll down as we are decoding the language of tequila drinking and demystifying terms like Blanco, Oro, Reposado, Añejo, Extra Añejo, and Mixto.
Imagine the agave plant in its purest form—raw, unaged, and untamed. That's Blanco tequila for you. Sometimes referred to as Silver or Plata, Blanco is the clear spirit that captures the essence of the agave plant. It undergoes minimal ageing, if any, typically resting in stainless steel tanks for a short period. The result is a crisp, clean, and vibrant tequila, perfect for those who want to savour the agave's unadulterated flavours.
Oro, meaning gold in Spanish, is often associated with a tequila that has a golden hue. However, don't let the colour fool you—true tequila aficionados know that genuine Oro tequila doesn't gain its golden tint from ageing. Instead, it may be infused with caramel or other additives, giving it a more complex flavour profile. While some Oro tequilas are of high quality, it's essential to distinguish between those that derive their colour naturally and those that get a golden makeover.
The term Reposado translates to "rested" in Spanish, and this tequila variety takes a well-deserved siesta in oak barrels. Aged for a minimum of two months but less than a year, Reposado tequila acquires a subtle complexity and smoothness. The interaction with the oak imparts notes of vanilla, caramel, and a touch of spice, making it a versatile choice for sipping or crafting yummy cocktails.
For those seeking a tequila with a more pronounced character and depth, Añejo is the answer. Añejo means "aged" in Spanish, and this tequila variety is matured for a minimum of one year but less than three in oak barrels. The result is a rich and nuanced spirit, with the sweetness of the agave balanced by the influence of the wood. Añejo tequilas are often enjoyed neat or on the rocks to fully appreciate their complexity.
When it comes to Extra Añejo, we're entering the grand territory of tequila. This elite category, introduced in 2006, requires a minimum ageing period of three years in oak barrels. The extended maturation imparts a deep amber color and an incredibly refined flavour profile. Extra Añejo tequilas boast notes of oak, chocolate, and dried fruit, making them the epitome of luxury and craftsmanship. Savouring a glass of Extra Añejo is a celebration of time, patience, and the artistry of tequila production.
Now, let's talk about Mixto, the chameleon of the tequila world. Mixto tequila is not made exclusively from agave; it can contain up to 49% of other sugars. While it may offer an affordable option, purists argue that the true essence of tequila comes from 100% agave spirits. Mixto tequilas are often used in cocktails and may lack the depth and complexity found in their 100% agave counterparts. If you're seeking the authentic tequila experience, it's worth exploring the world of 100% agave tequilas.