How Many of These Tequila-related Terms Do You Know?
Ever found yourself at a bar, nodding along as the bartender throws around tequila terms, pretending you totally get it? Fear not, fellow drink enthusiasts! Having spent more time with tequila bottles than we care to admit, we are here to guide you through the lingo. So, let’s test your knowledge of tequila terminology and break down some tequila-related terms that’ll turn you from novice to near-connoisseur.
Agave: The Soul of Tequila
Let’s start at the very beginning. Agave, particularly blue agave, is the heart and soul of tequila. It’s a spiky plant that looks like it means business and it’s from these plants that all the magic happens. Remember, no agave, no tequila.
Reposado: The Rested Relaxer
Reposado, translating to 'rested' in Spanish, is tequila that has taken a chill pill and aged in oak barrels for two months to a year. This little rest gives it a golden colour and a smooth, slightly oaky flavour. Think of it as the mellow middle child between the youthful blanco and the more mature añejo.
Añejo: The Aged Aristocrat
Speaking of añejo, this term means ‘aged’. We’re talking tequila that’s been hanging out in barrels for one to three years. It’s darker, more complex and has a flavour that feels like it has imbibed a lot of character over time. Añejo is your go-to if you want a tequila with depth and dimension.
Joven: The Young Blend
Joven, or ‘young’, is an interesting one. It’s like the rebel of the tequila family, often a blend of blanco and reposado or añejo. It’s a bit of a wildcard—sometimes sweetened, sometimes not. Joven is for those who like to mix it up.
Mezcal: The Smoky Cousin
Mezcal is tequila’s smoky cousin. While all tequila is mezcal, not all mezcal is tequila. Mezcal can be made from over 30 types of agave and gets its distinct smokiness from the way the agave hearts are roasted. If tequila is a smooth jazz tune, mezcal is a gritty blues number.
Piña: The Heart of the Matter
No, not the fruit. In tequila talk, piña refers to the core of the agave plant. It looks a bit like a giant pineapple and is where all the sweet, fermentable sugars are. Tequila making starts with cooking these piñas, so they’re pretty important players in the game.
Blanco: The Purest Form
Blanco, or silver tequila, is the pure, unaged form. It’s tequila in its most original state—clear, fresh and with a true agave flavour. If you want to taste tequila in its birthday suit, Blanco’s your guy.
Extra Añejo: The Luxe Life
Extra añejo is, well, extra. It's a tequila that’s been aged for more than three years. We’re talking rich, complex, and often on the pricier side. This is your 'special occasion’ tequila, the kind you bring out to impress.
Your Ticket to the Club
So there you have it—a crash course in tequila terms. Next time you find yourself in a tequila chat, throw around these terms and watch the nods of approval come your way.