If you’ve ever gone to a bar or a restaurant and ordered a margarita, you’ve probably caught yourself wondering about what type of tequila is in your drink. On the other hand, some fans of margaritas and other tequila-based cocktails may not realize there are more than one or two varieties of tequila out there on the market. There are, in fact, five types of tequila, and each one offers its own unique strengths and weaknesses when it comes to cocktails and shots. If you ever wanted to learn more about the variations of tequila for your next party or cocktail night, read on.
Most of the time, this type of tequila is referred to as Silver Tequila. It has not been aged at all and is bottled right after it’s finished being made, so it doesn’t have a chance to pick up any color from the aging process. For this reason it also has a much milder flavor than other types of tequila that may be aged for longer. However, despite the flavor of Blanco tequila being a mild one, it’s also one of the purest types of tequila out there, since nothing has been added or taken away from it after distilling. It is naturally a little sweeter than the other types on our list.
This tequila is clear and looks more or less like water when it’s in the bottle. It is the best choice if you’re going to be doing tequila shots or using the tequila for any cocktails with only a couple of ingredients. Some types of Blanco tequila may be very expensive, but many common labels offer an affordable option for this type of tequila, too.
This type of tequila is also known as Gold Tequila or Young Tequila. Before it is bottled, but after it is distilled, this tequila has some ingredients added to it, including sugar, caramel color, and glycerin. These ingredients add to the sweetness, although the sweetness of this type of tequila is no longer natural as it is with Blanco tequila.
Sometimes, Joven tequila is made by blending a combination of Blanco and Anejo tequilas instead. In this situation, it’s a mix, so it’s considered a lower-quality option than some of the others on our list. No matter how it’s made, Joven tequila is best suited for margaritas due to its lower price and somewhat lower quality as well.
This type of tequila is also known as Aged Tequila. It is aged for any amount of time falling between two months and one year—but it cannot be aged any longer than a year or any shorter than two months. It is regulated by the government and has very specific rules and standards.
This tequila is aged in oak barrels that have been used for aging whiskey, bourbon, wine, and cognac. Depending on the type of barrels used for the Reposado tequila, it may have a much different flavor than other types of Reposado tequila out there on the market. These barrels change the taste of the tequila as well as the color, so different styles may be vastly different from one another depending on the barrels used in their aging process.
Most of the time, this type of tequila is golden in color. Sometimes, it is blended with Blanco tequila to create a mix form of Joven tequila. This type of tequila, on its own, is great for shots and enjoying as-is, but may also be nice in some cocktails—although it’s recommended to leave it out of margaritas.
Anejo tequila has been aged for anywhere from one to three years, and like Reposado tequila, is regulated by the government for specific quality control. It must be aged in oak barrels that were used for either whiskey or cognac, so the flavors are a little more specific in this type of tequila than in Reposado tequila, which may use other types of barrels too.
This type of tequila is darker and richer than Reposado tequila and has a smooth flavor. It is intended for sipping as-is and should not be served in a cocktail, although it may be served on the rocks if desired.
This is a relatively new category for tequila which refers to Extra Aged liquor. Like Anejo tequila, it must be aged in oak cognac or whiskey barrels. However, it must be aged for longer than three years. This tequila is dark in color and extremely rich in flavor. It has a very high alcohol content, so it must be diluted with water before drinking it. This is an expensive tequila that should only be enjoyed by sipping slowly and carefully. It should not be served in cocktails and shouldn’t be served on the rocks, either.
Honorable Mention: Mezcal
Many people don’t quite know the difference between tequila and Mezcal. Tequila is a type of Mezcal, which is made only in certain parts of Mexico. Mezcal is a more general term that can be made from many types of agave. It has a sweeter and smokier flavor than tequila and isn’t very good for use in margaritas. It is actually Mezcal, and not tequila, that is known for having a worm inside the bottle. Tequila never has and never will contain a worm. As an added note, the “worm” is actually the larvae of a caterpillar that infests agave plants—and this gimmick is only used to increase sales.
Now that you’ve learned a little bit about tequila variations, it’s time to try a few! Don’t be afraid to buy more than one style or label and see for yourself what a difference these varieties can really make. These types of tequila all offer something different, so depending on what you’re looking for, you should be able to find it in one or more of these options. Whether you’re looking for something to enjoy on your own or give as a gift to someone you know, pick the right tequila and you’ll be pleased with the results!