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THE TIP

Tequila 101: The Five Types of Tequila

If you look on the shelves of your liquor store, you’ll notice a wide variety of tequilas, ranging in color from crystal clear to deep golden brown. Prices can vary greatly depending on brand and quality, but the Mexican government has certain rules on labeling that makes it easier for us to understand. Here are the 5 major types of tequila:

  1. Blanco (white) or Plata (silver): Clear, unaged, and bottled right after it’s been distilled with a sharp agave flavor.

  2. Joven (young) or Oro (gold): Blanco tequila that has been mixed with colorings, additives, and sometimes older tequilas to resemble a pure, aged tequila. Typically not 100% agave.

  3. Reposado (rested or lightly aged): Aged in oak barrels for more than 2 but less than 12 months. More mellow than tequila blanco with a slight woodsy flavor.

  4. Anejo (aged or vintage): Aged more than 1 but typically less than 3 years in oak barrels with a darker color and rich, complex flavor.

  5. Extra Anejo (ultra aged): Newest classification of tequila aged more than 3 years with no maximum age defined.

As you can tell, tequilas are treated similarly to other liquors with a large variety of different colors and flavors. To avoid a nasty hangover, you’ll also want to look for tequila that’s labeled 100% agave. If it’s not, it likely has up to 49% other sugars that make the tequila much less pure.