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You won’t be surprised to learn that we’re big tequila fans here at Vallarta Restaurants. After all, it is the spirit most associated with Mexico and Mexican culture. For some people, it is an acquired taste. For those people, we have a fantastic cocktail called a margarita. Maybe you’ve had one before? But no matter how you like your tequila, it’s indispensable to Mexican restaurants in Manchester, NH, and all over the country.


But how much do you know about tequila? In this article, we’re brushing up on our tequila basics.


The Distilling Process

Just like any other alcoholic spirit, tequila is distilled from the fermented sugars of plants. In order for a spirit to be tequila, however, that plant must be the blue agave plant. And that’s not the only rule regarding tequila. In order to label a product as “tequila,” it has to come from Tequila, Jalisco, a state in central Mexico. It’s not just a convention of the tequila industry; it’s actually in current Mexican law.

To make tequila, you need the juice from the heart of the blue agave plant. Distillers take the heart of the agave plant, called the piña, and steam it. This makes it soft enough to shred, which produces the required juice, called aguamiel. The distillers mix the aguamiel with cane sugar and yeast. That mixture then ferments for several days until it is ready for distillation. The fermented juice is distilled in copper pots until it reaches 90-proof or higher. And, voila, tequila!


Varieties of Tequila

In some cases, the process ends there. In other cases, the tequila is aged. Whether or not the tequila producers take that next step depends on what variety of tequila they make. There are five in all:

  • Blanco: bottled immediately or aged for a very short time
  • Reposado: aged for 2 to 12 months in oak barrels
  • Joven: Blanco and Reposado mixed together
  • Añejo: Aged for 1 to 3 years in oak barrels; if it’s aged longer than 3 years, it is extra Añejo
  • Mixto: contains less than 100% blue agave; typically mixed with sugars or other spirits


Tequila lovers debate over which is the best. Some will say Blanco is the purest. Others will say aging gives Reposado and Añejo better flavors. But, in the end, it all comes down to personal taste.


Get your friends and family together for a drink and great food at Vallarta Restaurants in Manchester, NH! Prefer to enjoy Mexican food at home? Order online!