The history of tequila is both rich and dated, the origins stretch back to 250 – 300 AD. Around this time period Aztecs were known to make a wine from the heart of agave plants know as ‘pulque’ or ‘agua miel’. Tequila has travelled a long way from its humble origins. Now there are laws governing production and labeling of tequila, aunthentic 100% blue agave will have an NOM on the label. This is not a measure of quality but a show of authenticity.
Many people do not know the differences between mezcal and tequila, there are many but i’ll just hit on the basics. For one the heart of tequila is taken from the blue agave, where as mezcal is not specific to one type of agave. when making mezcal the heart of the agave is roasted instead of being baked which gives it the distinct smoky flavor. Mezcal can also be distilled just once but is more commonly distilled twice for the international market.
Tequila is classified by the percentage of agave spirit and length of the maturation period.
Mixto: consist of at least 51% blue agave distillate most commonly mixed with spirits made of sugar, molasses etc.
Pura: 100% agave distillate
White/clear(blanco,plata,silver,platino) : clear tequila that has been aged for a maximum of 60 days.
Reposado: means rested in Spanish, aged between 60 days and a years.
Gold (oro): much the same as white but with added flavoring and coloring usually caramel.
Añejo (aged): by Mexican law to be classified as aged it must be sealed in government oak barrels no larger than 600 litres for over one year.