Mexico’s Signature Spirit
When you think of Tequila, our neighbor to the south, Mexico, immediately comes to mind. Similar to Champagne and Cognac, Tequila takes it’s name from the region where it originated. Tequila is made from the distillation of the fermented juice from the Blue Agave plant, grown in the Jalisco State of Mexico. Although there are over 200 varieties of Agave plant, Tequila is only made from one specific variety. Despite the belief that Blue Agave is a cactus, it is actually not. The Blue Agave plant is in fact more closely related to an Amaryllis.
There are two categories of Tequila that are in production. The first category is 100% Agave Tequila which is made completely with the juice extracted from mature Agave plants. (Herradura, El Jimador, Don Julio) The other category is know only as Tequila. This is a blend of 51% or more blue agave mixed with sugar cane or corn sugars and fermented (Jose Cuervo). Both categories have delicious options in a variety of price ranges.
Within both categories of Tequila there are more specific varieties of Tequila. These varieties help people distinguish the flavors and age of each distinct tequila. They are:
- Blanco also known as silver or white tequila is the youngest, clear, and bottled within 60 days of distillation.
- Gold uses white tequila or 100% Agave Tequila mixed with caramel or matured tequila to intensify the character.
- Reposado is matured for 2 to 12 months in white oak barrels or vats.
- Anejo or the ‘old one’ is matured for more than one year in barrels.
- Extra Anejo is ultra aged tequila kept in barrels for at least 3 years.
Blancos tend toward the peppery side, with citrus, agave and herbs being the focal point. Reposados take on the presence of the wood, and you’ll start to detect oak and vanilla. With anejos and extra anejos, the wood is more assertive, and common traits tend to be cinnamon, caramel, chocolate, and coffee.
The pairing of Tequila with food is a relatively simple task. Obviously the first place to look is Mexican food. The fresher the food, the better it will pair with your tequilas. Anything spicy, grilled, served with salsa accompaniments, or flavored with citrus will pair well. Other suggestions range from tomatoes and cucumbers fresh from the garden to seafood ceviche (with lime and chilies) to marinated meats cooked over mesquite and citrus-flavored desserts.
Tequila is a complex and delicious drink, it is as equally suited for sipping as it is for shots and margaritas. For help picking a perfect Tequila to enjoy with your friends, visit us at Bill’s Package Store. Our store is located at 1651 Fort Campbell Blvd Clarksville, TN 37042, just down the road from Ft. Campbell Army Base and convenient to Downtown Clarksville.
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