Tropical and summer drinks are an excellent way to enjoy the quickly approaching summer. One of the best liquors for tropical drinks is tequila!
I enjoy tequila on its own or mixed into fruity cocktails. However, not all tequila is created equal, and the way I use tequila varies depending on the type of tequila I use.
Tequila is a Mexican-produced liquor that has increased in popularity in the United States over the last two decades. All tequila is made from blue agave and sugar, but the methods that distillers use to produce tequila lead to several types.
Six types of tequila exist depending on the length of time distillers age tequila and the containers they age tequila in. I enjoy all sorts of tequila, but it’s important to know what the differences are to end up with a drink that is best for you.
Types of Tequila
Learn about the different kinds of tequila below so that you can find the one that best fits your tastes!
Regular tequila is often called tequila Blanco or silver tequila because it doesn’t have a chance to pick up additional color or flavor notes through the aging process.
While regular tequila is considered “unaged,” some brands will age their tequila for a maximum of two months.
Blanco tequila is generally harsher than the other types of tequila, but it is one of the most affordable tequila options. I enjoy standard tequila, but the way that I prepare drinks with it is more mindful than with other tequila types.
I like to mix blanco tequila with intense lime or citrus flavors to help mask some of the bite of the liquor.
One of my favorite drinks for tequila blanco is a dreamcatcher because the combination of lime and grapefruit is a delicious way to blunt the tequila.
“Resposado” means “rested” in English. While this tequila isn’t allowed to age as long as añejo or extra añejo, it is allowed more time than a standard tequila.
Reposado tequilas age for at least two months, but less than the year needed to be considered an añejo.
Reposado is generally aged in oak barrels but can also age in stainless steel. Unlike with the añejo and the extra añejo tequilas, there isn’t a limit on batch size for production.
Reposado is an affordable tequila that is generally best in mixed drinks. Most standard tequila cocktails, such as a tequila sunrise or a Paloma, work well with a reposado.
Additionally, it is easier to take shots of reposados than a standard tequila.
“Añejo” means “old” or “aged” in English. This is an apt name for this tequila because the defining characteristic of this liquor is an aging process that lasts for one to three years.
Additionally, añejo tequila ages in containers no larger than 600 liters. These smaller batch sizes ensure that you can taste any flavor extracted from the container in every sip of tequila.
Some brands of añejo tequila age their tequila in oak barrels or barrels already used to age bourbon or sherry.
This tequila is generally smoother than a standard or silver tequila, making it a good choice for an añejo old-fashioned or any other mixed drinks that don’t attempt to cover the taste of the añejo.
However, añejo tequila can still be used in standard mixed tequila drinks and will taste very good.
Extra Añejo Tequila
Extra añejo tequila is a tequila that is “extra aged.”
While a regular añejo tequila ages for one to three years, an extra añejo is a tequila that ages for longer than three years.
Most extra añejo tequilas age in oak barrels. Like with standard añejo tequila, these barrels must be 600 liters or smaller to earn the “añejo” designation.
Extra añejo generally tastes bolder than a regular añejo tequila, and I enjoy extra añejo best lightly chilled and sipped.
An ice cube or two can weaken the tequila as it melts, so I prefer to chill the bottle and sip the extra añejo neat. However, it isn’t uncommon for others to add ice, and neither way is wrong!
“Joven” means “young” in English, and it makes sense with how this type of tequila is produced.
Joven tequila is an unaged tequila mixed with another older type of tequila. This type of tequila is often a bit sharper and more potent than tequila aged longer. Joven tequila is also known as gold tequila, and the two terms are often used interchangeably.
The mixing of old with the young ensures that Joven tequila still gets some of the flavor notes of the more aged tequila. However, the taste is not as rich or pervasive as some of the other types.
While you can drink gold tequila on its own, I prefer it mixed with a fruit-flavored soda, such as grapefruit, or with juice. Joven tequila is delicious in a tequila sunrise.
Cristalino tequila is a type of tequila that is becoming increasingly popular among liquor enthusiasts. It is a clear, transparent tequila that has been aged in oak barrels for a minimum of one year, but then filtered, often with charcoal.
This filtering process gives it a smooth and refined taste that is often compared to aged whiskey or cognac, and it removes color and sediment. Cristalino tequila is also said to have a softer mouthfeel, making it easier to drink.
Some of the top brands of Cristalino tequila include Don Julio 70, Casa Noble, and Clase Azul. It can be enjoyed neat or in a tequila cocktail, and is a great option for those who want to experience the complex flavors of aged tequila without the amber color.
Types of Tequila
- Blanco Tequila
- Reposado Tequila
- Añejo Tequila
- Extra Añejo
- Cristalino Tequila
What is tequila made of?
Tequila is a distilled liquor made from the blue agave plant. A part of the blue agave plant called the piña is roasted, ground into a pulp, and then fermented with water and yeast before getting distilled into tequila.
What type of tequila is the smoothest?
Añejo tequila is generally regarded as the smoothest, but Cristalino tequila is also very smooth due to the filtration process it goes through.
Which tequila doesn’t give you a hangover?
You can get a hangover from and kind of tequila if you overindulge, but your best bet is to stick to tequila made from 100% blue agave. Other tequilas may have added sugars, so look for 100% blue agave on the label to avoid a hangover.
This article described the types of tequilas and the aging process that makes each one unique.
The type of tequila matters, and how I best enjoy them changes depending on the type. I love blanco tequilas and reposados in certain drinks, and anejos others!
Tequila is an excellent choice for a summer drink, and armed with the knowledge of how each type tastes and what each type goes well with, you are set up well to enjoy a tropical alcoholic treat!
Check out our favorite top shelf tequilas to find a good bottle.
Whichever type of tequila you choose, I expect your summer will be more enjoyable!