Tequila is a complex drink. It has a unique production process and plenty of variety to it. This all impacts the quality of the tequila, so understanding it is a necessary part of picking a high-quality tequila. 

This article will explore some tequila education facts and information. Keep reading, and you’ll become a tequila aficionado before you know it!


Related: Who Invented the Margarita?


How Is Tequila Made? 

All tequila starts as a simple blue agave plant. These are grown across Jalisco, Mexico and have put the area on the map when it comes to alcohol production. 

This plant is harvested, and the sugary agave nectar is then harvested from it. This is fermented in order to produce an alcoholic mixture. This mixture is then run through a distillation process until it turns into tequila. This is finally aged for whatever length of time the company has deemed necessary. 

Types of Tequila

Though all tequilas follow this general production method, there are different categories of tequila out there. These differences mostly arise from the aging process. The types of tequila created by these differences have specific names that can only legally be used when aged for specific lengths of time. 

Tequila that is aged for less than 60 days is called silver or blanco tequila. In many cases, this type of tequila is not aged at all and goes right from the distillation process to bottling. This style is known for having agave at the forefront of flavor. Because of this, they are often a key component in cocktails made with tequila

Tequila that has been aged for more than two months but less than a year is called reposado. This is a smoother tequila that still holds onto the agave flavor. This makes it more versatile than some other options, as it can be used in cocktails or consumed straight. 

Añejo tequilas have been aged for over a year. This causes them to absorb more flavors from the barrels they are aged in. This adds some depth to the flavor and often gives it vanilla and brown sugar elements. 

Extra añejo tequila has been aged for over three years. This is essentially a way to take añejo tequila to the next level. These tequilas will absorb even more flavor from the barrels and take on even more complexity. Because of this, extra añejo tequilas are almost exclusively consumed straight, so you can enjoy the flavors within while avoiding any distractions. 


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What Makes Different Tequilas Different? 

While the type of tequila you are dealing with will create a different flavor, you can also get different flavors from the same types of tequila. A blanco tequila from one company will taste different from a blanco tequila from another company. 

So, why is this the case? What makes tequila that should have the same taste different? The following factors all play a part. 

Man riding a horse through agave fields

100% Agave vs. Mixto

One of the factors that has the biggest impact on the quality of tequila is whether it is 100% agave or a mixto. 

100% agave tequilas are made with exactly what the name implies: 100% agave. This gives them the amazing flavor they are known for. 

Meanwhile, mixtos are typically made with a little over 50% agave. The rest is composed of corn or cane sugars. This typically results in a less pleasant flavor and one that has fewer of the positive features of tequila that 100% agave has. 

Mixtos are generally considered to be something that should only be used in mixed drinks. This allows the other components of the drink to cover up any bad flavors from the tequila. However, many people choose to make their mixed drinks with 100% agave tequila anyway to avoid any bad flavors altogether. 


Related: Alcoholic Drinks To Fit Your Every Mood



By law, tequila has to be distilled twice to be considered tequila. So, any tequila you find on the shelves will be distilled at least twice. 

However, some tequila companies opt to distill their tequila more than twice. The reasoning behind this is that it would create a purer product. This is the case with other spirits, like vodka, as more distillations often remove impurities. 

While this is also true in tequila, more distillations further remove the spirit from its origins. You taste less of the agave that goes into making tequila when you distill it repeatedly. For this reason, many fans of tequila, especially those who seriously enjoy its specific and signature taste, prefer tequila that has only been distilled twice. 

However, there is no right answer on which one is better. Ultimately, it will come down to your own preferences. 


While many tequilas are aged, the aging process varies from company to company. So, two tequilas that have been aged for the same amount of time by different companies may end up tasting very differently. This is because of a number of factors that go into the aging process. 

One of these factors is the type of barrel used. While oak is typically the wood used in the construction of the barrel, this wood is often different. Some barrels are made from higher quality wood, the wood may be older or younger in certain cases, and the barrel itself could be charred or toasted. Other factors include the size of the barrel and if it was used for anything previously. 

Each little thing that goes into this process affects the end product. Each company has a reason for the methods it employs, and this results in a complex range of different flavors. 


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Tequila is great on its own but is often even better when paired with other flavors. Because of this, many companies infuse tequila with other flavors. 

In many cases, this is so that the tequila will go better within a drink. For example, a jalapeño-infused tequila will taste amazing in any drink that needs a spicy kick. 

Margaritas with jalapenos on the rim

Learning About Tequila

Tequila is a wonderfully complex alcohol with a rich production process. Knowing and understanding all of this allows you to know and understand tequila. This information will help you pick the best tequila for you and, thus, help you enjoy it even more. 

Related: How to Rim a Margarita Glass