While many folks experience their first taste of tequila in the form of a shot, there are other ways to enjoy this Mexican spirit. When you’re ready to elevate your tequila drinking experience from shots to cocktails, understanding some basic tequila terminology is great to aid in your shopping excursions. But before we talk about the different tequila styles out there, it’s important to briefly explain mixto tequilas.
Mixto tequilas are tequila products which are allowed to have just 51% agave in their production. The remaining 49% can be made up with other sugars such as beet or cane, among others. Therefore, when you’re out shopping, the first thing you should look for when reading any tequila label, is the phrase “100% agave tequila.” If your bottle does not say this on the label, you’re looking at a mixto tequila. Let’s keep drinking mixtos to a minimum, shall we? For our purposes here, we will discuss 100% agave tequila only.
There are several tequila styles out there made with 100% agave with varying times spent inside a barrel, if at all. Most tequila brands make each and every one, so there are a lot of bottles to sort through at the shop. Here’s a quick rundown on the different tequila styles with some suggestions on how best to drink them.
Blanco tequilas—also referred to as silver, platinum or white—are typically bottled without any aging. However, sometimes blanco tequilas are rested in stainless steel for up to 60 days. This tequila style can be aged in wood, but not for longer than 30 days so that the full flavor of agave is allowed to shine through. Some tequila cocktails best suited for blanco tequilas are Margaritas, Ranch Waters and Tequila Sunrises. Additionally, this tequila style can also be subbed in as a replacement for gin or vodka so feel free to use it in a Negroni or Moscow Mule too.
Reposado tequilas are aged from 2 months up to a year. Since reposado tequilas are lightly aged, they’re one of the most versatile tequila styles out there. In addition to Margaritas, they’re great served in Palomas and Bloody Marias.
Añejo tequilas — also known as “aged” or “extra aged”— are aged for at least a year. This tequila style is a great stand in for whiskey or rum in stirred cocktails such as an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan.
Extra Añejo Tequila
Extra añejo tequilas are aged for at least 3 years. This tequila style is perhaps best enjoyed served neat or on the rocks. But if you’re feeling extra fancy, why not try a splash in a mug of Hot Chocolate? Or how about adding some to your morning coffee as a pick-me-up?
There’s a whole big tequila world out there ready for you to explore. Have fun trying all the different tequila styles to find your perfect serve.
Ready to dive into one or more of these tequila styles?
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