Your Top 10 Tequila & Mezcal FAQs

Your Top 10 Tequila & Mezcal FAQs

...answered by the experts at Dara 

  • What is tequila?
  • Tequila is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of the blue agave plant. It is primarily produced in the region surrounding the city of Tequila in the Jalisco state of Mexico.

  • What are the types of tequila?
  • There are primarily two types of tequila: 100% agave tequila and mixto tequila. 100% agave tequila is made entirely from the fermented juice of the blue agave plant, while mixto tequila can contain up to 49% other sugars in addition to agave sugars.

  • What is the difference between blanco, reposado, and añejo tequila?
    • Blanco (also known as silver): This type of tequila is unaged or aged for a short period, typically up to two months. It's clear and has a crisp, agave-forward flavor.
    • Reposado: Reposado tequila is aged in oak barrels for a minimum of two months but less than a year. It has a smoother taste with notes of vanilla and oak.
    • Añejo: Añejo tequila is aged in oak barrels for a minimum of one year but less than three years. It has a rich, complex flavor profile with pronounced oak, caramel, and spice notes.

  • What is the significance of the agave plant in tequila production?
  • The agave plant, specifically the blue agave (Agave tequilana Weber), is the primary ingredient in tequila production. The plant's sugars are fermented to produce alcohol. Only tequila made from blue agave grown in designated regions of Mexico can be labeled as tequila.

  • What are the key factors that influence the taste and quality of tequila?
    • Agave: The type and quality of agave used to make the tequila is one of the most important factors in determining its taste and quality.
    • Terroir: The soil, climate, and location where the agave is grown can also have a significant impact on the final product.
    • Harvesting: The way the agave is harvested, including the timing and method of harvesting, can also affect the flavor and quality of the tequila.
    • Production method: The process used to cook, ferment, and distill the tequila can greatly impact its taste and quality.
    • Aging: The type of barrel used for aging, as well as the length of time the tequila is aged, can also influence its flavor and quality.

  • Does tequila freeze?
  • It’s unlikely your tequila will freeze in your freezer. Most home freezers cannot reach the temperature tequila needs to freeze (-10 °F or -23 °C).

    We don’t recommend putting tequila in the freezer. It won’t ruin it, but drinking tequila at lower temperatures will affect the taste and aroma—at lower temperatures, the “sweet” flavor is usually lost. Instead, if you prefer to drink it cool, try tequila straight up by shaking or stirring it with ice and then straining it into a glass without ice.

  • Does tequila expire or go bad?
  • Tequila does not necessarily expire or go bad as food products do, but its quality and taste can degrade over time. It is recommended to consume tequila within 6 months to a year of opening and store it in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Proper storage can help maintain the quality and taste of tequila for a longer period. Additionally, it is important to note that some types of tequila, such as aged tequila, can continue to mature and develop new flavors and aromas over time if stored properly.

  • How is tequila different from mezcal?
  • Tequila and mezcal are both distilled alcoholic beverages from Mexico, but they are made from different types of agave plants and produced in different regions. Tequila is made from blue agave and primarily produced in Jalisco, while mezcal can be made from various agave species and is produced in several Mexican states. Mezcal often has a smokier flavor due to production methods that involve roasting the agave hearts in underground pits.

  • What is the best way to drink mezcal?
  • Whatever you do, don’t shoot it back! Mezcal, because of its ancestral roots and traditional process, is a magical drink that begs to be sipped or mixed into a cocktail that further unlocks its floral and fruity flavors (in addition to that smoke).

  • What is the “Additive-Free Alliance”?
  • The push for transparency around additives in spirits, particularly tequila, has intensified recently. Tequila Matchmaker founders, the Sanschagrins, advocate for disclosing additive usage in tequila production. Their Additive-Free Program aims to certify tequila brands as additive-free through voluntary inspections and analysis. However, about 70% of tequilas on the market reportedly use additives. The CRT, Mexico’s Tequila Regulatory Council, has a less stringent approach, relying on an honor system for additive disclosure. Tensions rose when the Additive-Free Alliance began issuing "Zero Additives" stamps, prompting CRT's denouncement and the announcement of its own additive-free verification program. Consumer demand for additive-free tequila is growing, influencing retailers' and bars' purchasing decisions. The additive-free movement is expected to gain momentum with increasing social media advocacy and influencer support.

    Check out our Additive-Free Tequila