Keri: Hi! I am Keri with Total Wine & More. Tequila-like spirits have been produced in Mexico since the age of the Aztecs, but it was in 1795 that Jose Cuervo began distilling tequila in the region of Jalisco, known for its ample supply of the Blue Weber Agave plant.
To make tequila the starch-rich hearts of the agave plants are rested in ovens. The heat can burst them into fermentable sugars, which is then extracted as a sweet liquid. Yeast is added, the juice is fermented, then distilled to concentrate the flavors in alcohol.
Tequila typically undergoes two distillations in pot stills. It's filtered through charcoal, then bottled or aged in oak barrels for one to seven years.
Mexican Law stipulates that tequila must contain at least 51% blue agave, but most premium brands use 100% blue. Blanco Tequila, ideal for mixing and creating cocktails is typically bottled shortly after distillation with little to no when aging. It retains the citrusy and aromatic characteristics of the agave plant.
Reposado tequilas are aged in wood barrels for up to 60 days to obtain spice and vanilla characteristics from the wood. They can be enjoyed on their own or in cocktails.
Anejo Tequilas are left to rest even longer resulting in a full-bodied, almost cognac-like spirit meant for slow savoring.
Now you can't mention tequila without the Margarita. Where the Margarita was invented and by whom is a matter of much debate. Among the many who have claimed the honor, a Texas hostess named Margarita Sames, the Kentucky Club in Ciudad Jurez and the Tail o'the Cock in Los Angeles.
What is certain is that fresh lime juice are good tequila are essential to a real Margarita. So skip to sweet and sour mix.
Here is our favorite recipe to make the classic Margarita. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add lime juice, tequila and orange liquor, shake well, strain into salt-rimmed glasses and garnish with a slice of lime. Then enjoy!