Best Tequila To Buy In Mexico: Your Top 5 Bottles
If you have experienced the wild nights associated with clubbing or just like ending your day with a nice Margarita, then Tequila is a very familiar drink to you.
One fact that is a surety is that most don’t really know what tequila actually is and the fact that each drop of Tequila carries with it about 350 years of history!
Tequila holds the crown for being the oldest distilled spirit in North America.
First of all, let’s set a few things straight:
- Tequila is NOT Cactus juice! Don’t believe this, go buy a cactus, cut part of its stem and taste the sap; you’ll get the difference almost instantly. Myth=busted.
- Tequila should never come with a worm in the bottle. If this ever happens to you, just return the bottle with the receipt and get a replacement, if the store allows it.
What Are The Main Categories of Tequila?
As with other alcoholic drinks, like Vermouth, Tequila has a few major categories that are used to describe their production method and ABV content when you, as the buyer, go to purchase a bottle. The distinct categories used to describe Tequila are:
- Silver Tequila.
Also known as Platinum, Plata or Blanco, Tequila in this category is clear and is usually fermented for less than 2 months. It is the purest form of tequila and all other variants are based on it.
This Tequila undergoes a longer fermentation period than the Silver variant. Fermentation takes anywhere from 2 months to 1 year. It has a distinct golden color. It is also known as joven or oro.
Tequila in this category can easily be mistaken for whisky when poured in a glass. This is due to its color characterized as being a shade of brown similar to that of Whisky. The fermentation period for the associated Tequilas ranges from 1 year to 3 years.
- Extra Añejo.
Introduced in 2006 by Mexico’s own Tequila Regulatory Council, this category boasts of Tequila that’s been aged for a minimum of more than 3 years. As this category is relatively new, varieties sold are similarly young and few have been able to get to taste it.
How is Tequila produced?
As with other liquors, it is best to know how it is produced to better appreciate the complexity that you get to enjoy in a glass.
First, here’s a brief history of Tequila.
Tequila is produced from a plant known as blue Weber Agave. This plant was used by the Aztecs to create a category of liquor known as pulqueI. This changed once the Spaniards dropped anchor and invaded Mexico. Having depleted their Brandy stocks, they turned to fermenting a drink using the Agave plant and mud creating what is known as Mezcal. This drink was then traded between Mexico and Manila, Spain. The Marquis of Altamira has been graced as the person to give this Mezcal its defining name when he built the first large-scale distillery in the city of Tequila in Jalisco. The famous drink was then named ‘Tequila’.
The production process is as follows:
The process begins with the manly effort of the jimadores. These are men who have intimate knowledge of how the agave should be cultivated. They are tasked with the role of taking care of the agave and this position is patrilineal (passed down from father to son).
The heart of the agave plant, known as the agave pineapple, weighs in at about 100 pounds. It is carefully peeled in the fields, and then transported to ovens where they are slowly roasted to increase their sugar content.
Upon completion, the baked agave pineapple is then crushed using a large stone wheel called a tahona. The pulp is then squeezed to release its sweet agave juice. This juice is then poured into large stainless steel vats (more traditional distilleries use wooden vats). It is then left to ferment for a number of days. The result is a liquid with low alcohol content known as mosto. This is then distilled twice resulting in Silver Tequila.
At this point, the Tequila is either bottled or pumped into wooden barrels (usually made of oak) and left to age depending on the desired category of Tequila that the distiller desires to produce.
Tequila has an ABV of between 31% and 55%.
The Best Tequila to Buy in Mexico:
If by chance you find yourself in the birthplace of Tequila, Mexico, here are our choices for the top bottles of Tequila you can find.
Established by Sammy Hagar in 1996, Cabo Wabo Tequila is widely known for its reposado.
Cabo Wabo Tequila is bottled in a distinctly blue and hand-blown glass bottle. The reposado bears a sweet agave aroma mixed with notes of black pepper.
Sipping it results in a mix of balanced sweet, spicy and woody notes from mint, agave, and pepper. The finish is longingly too short with an after taste of pepper.
Formed in 1980, Patron is a Mexican brand for a number of Tequila products. It is mainly owned by Billionaire John Paul DeJoria.
The back story of the humble beginnings of this company is incredibly surprising and inspirational.
With a strong and global footprint in the Tequila production and distribution industry, Patron offers a number of Tequila spanning 3 main categories of Tequila.
Brands they readily stock and offer include: Gran Patrón Burdeos, Gran Patrón Platinum, Gran Patrón Piedra, Patrón Silver, Patrón Añejo, and Patrón Reposado.
Their Tequila is of the highest quality and will leave you wanting for more, depending on your tastes.
Don Eduardo Reposado is known for its Vanilla-like aroma when wafted.
This is attributed to the oak barrels that are used to age the Tequila for a 6-month period.
Its key selling point is the bourbon-like taste when sipped and pleasant whisky-like finish that leaves the palate with a refreshing sweetness.
Commonly known as Corazón de Agave Añejo, this tequila is famously distilled by the Casa San Matias agave estate in Mexico.
This Tequila is aged in white oak barrels for 2 years giving it a body with hints of tannin. To the nose, light hints of earth, caramel, oak and roasted agave provide an infused aroma.
Upon tasting, the agave hits the palate hard mixed with oak and caramel hints. This is followed by a good balance of the agave and sweeter notes of caramel. The finish contains a woody taste followed by slightly powerful bitter notes.
Known for its distinctly odd-shaped bottles, El Mayor is known for producing Tequila in 3 of the 4 categories of Tequila. These include:
El Mayor Blanco. This variety pleases your nose with perfectly balanced hints of honey and black pepper.
What makes this Tequila unique is the citrus and clove mix that is akin to the taste of pickled jalapeno when sipped and swallowed.
El Mayor Reposado. This reposado is matured for a maximum of 9 months. A gentle waft exposes you to hints of Vanilla, agave spice, and cola.
Upon sipping, your palate becomes awash with greater hints of Vanilla and butterscotch which negate the slight herbal taste during the finish.
You should expect a slightly spicy after-taste is expect.
El Mayor Anejo. The anejo is almost identical to the reposado but bears with it tannic hints when wafted.
The agave spice hits the palate quite hard immediately when sipped but the chocolate and caramel hints come to the rescue building up to a pleasantly balanced finish.
Enjoy learning about some of the best tequila you can buy from Mexico?
To fully understand the heritage behind Tequila, the above can be regarded as being the best brands of Tequila from the birthplace of the legendary drink that is Tequila. Do make sure to share this article on social media if you have enjoyed it.