Tequila is an exotic distilled spirit made from Agave Azul or blue agave, and is drunk in its original form or mixed in a cocktail. It is produced only in five areas of Mexico, Michoacan, Nayarit,Tamaulipas, and Guanajuanto. Tequila produced in these areas is recognized as Denomination of Origin Tequila (DOT).
Although there are 166 species of agave found across different parts of the world and 125 of them are found in Mexico, tequila is made only from Weber Blue or blue agave. The plants are particularly suitable for cultivation in the red volcanic soils of the region around the Mexican city of Tequila and hence the drink got its name.
It takes almost 6 years for blue agave plants to mature but the plants in highlands take about 12 years to mature. It is only when the plants mature, tequila is made from them and unlike whiskey that has a long ageing process, most of the time in tequila production is invested in the cultivation of blue agave.
When the blue agave matures, it produces a single flower after which it dies off. Expert harvesters called ‘jimadors’ cut off the shoot of the plant that has reached the flowering stage with a sharp tool called Coa to obtain the starch that is stored in the heart of the agave(pina).
After the hearts are cut out, they are quartered and baked in steam ovens called autoclaves for about 7 hours or slow roasted inside traditional ovens called ‘hornos’ for about 24-48 hours. It is during this stage that the starches in the heart convert to fermented sugar.
After the cooking process is over, the hearts are pressed to release sugary juice commonly known as honey water, which is then added to fermentation tanks and allowed to ferment by adding yeast. The process takes about 24-96 hours and sometimes distillers add agave fibers into the fermentation tanks to trap aromatics in the fermented liquid. The resultant liquid has 6% alcohol content and has to be distilled at least two more times by using a combination of column and pot stills made of stainless steel or copper.
The final alcohol content varies between 70 and 110 and the process selected by the distillers decides the flavors in the drink.
Different types of tequila are available that has different types of flavors perfectly blended to create a fine balance of contents. Añejo tequila, one among the tequila types is aged inside oak casks that has a capacity of about 600 liters for about one, two or three years. Añejo tequila often has citrus and vanilla flavor. If you are looking for the best Añejo tequila brands, go for codigo tequila 1530 Anejo.