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Tequila

What is tequila? Tequila is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, 65 km (40 miles) northwest of Guadalajara, and in the highlands (Los Altos) of the western Mexican state of Jalisco. Tequila is most often made at a 38% alcohol content (76 US proof) but can be produced between 35-55% ABV.

The first distillation of what we now know as tequila took place in 1530, just 30 years after the Spanish conquest of Mexico. It was created by a man named Martin de la Cruz, who was inspired by a similar drink being made in Spain. Tequila quickly became popular throughout Mexico, and by the early 1800s, it was being exported to other countries.

Tequila is made from the agave plant, which is native to Mexico. There are more than 200 varieties of agave, but only one, the blue agave, is used to make tequila. The blue agave plant takes anywhere from six to twelve years to mature and can grow up to 2.5 meters (8 feet) tall. Once the plants are mature, they are harvested and the piñas (the hearts of the plants) are extracted.

The piñas are then chopped into small pieces and placed in large ovens where they are cooked for several hours. This process breaks down the complex carbohydrates in the piñas into simple sugars, which are then used to produce tequila.

After the piñas have been cooked, they are mashed and placed in large fermentation tanks where yeast is added. The yeast causes the sugars in the mash to ferment and produces alcohol. The fermented mash is then distilled to create tequila.

The agave plant had been used in the preparation of alcoholic drinks for centuries; in fact the Aztecs had made a fermented drink from it called octli. In around 1600, the Marquis of Altamira, Don Pedro Sánchez de Tagle, first mass-produced tequilas in a factory he founded in Jalisco.

The agave plant is still harvested by hand, by workers called "jimadores" They work carefully to harvest the small Agave offspring without damaging the parent plant. The exact time of the harvest is very important, because if the agave plants are gathered too early in the season, the natural sugars will have yet to develop, and if it is gathered too late, the natural sugars will have already been used up by the plant.

More traditional companies still crush the plants with an old-fashioned stone wheel. The fermented juices are distilled, usually twice, though sometimes three times.

Tequila can be either blanco (white), which is also called plata (silver) or joven (young), or it can be aged in oak barrels, which gives it a golden or amber colour. Tequila that has been aged for more than two years is called añejo (aged). Tequila that has been aged for more than three years is called extra añejo (extra aged).

Tequila can be enjoyed neat or in cocktails such as the Margarita, Paloma, and Tequila Sunrise. Tequila is also used in cooking, for example in the popular Mexican dish Cochinita pibil.

El Espolòn Reposado Tequila

70cl, 40%
Destiladora San Nicolas

This is the El Espolòn Reposado Tequila, produced by Destilladora San Nicolas in Los Altos. After distillation, which includes playing rock music in the factories to "inspire" the agave, the Reposado…  More info

El Espolòn Reposado Tequila
2
$29.79
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Kah Blanco Tequila

70cl, 40%
Fabrica de Tequilas Finos

Presented in a charming bottle inspired by the traditional Calaveras used in Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations in Mexico, Kah Blanco Tequila would make a haunting handsome addition to…  More info

Kah Blanco Tequila
1
$45.79

Etéreo Extra Añejo

70cl, 40%
Etereo

An extra añejo Tequila from the Etéreo range, which has been created using agave grown for eight years, and the spirit itself has been matured for 60 months in white oak barrels. It comes presented…  More info

Etéreo Extra Añejo
$219.24

Padre Azul Blanco Tequila

70cl, 38%
Padre Azul

This blanco Tequila from Padre Azul is double distilled from roasted agave, and bottled without maturation. The name 'Azul' refers to the Blue Weber agave, and you'd be forgiven for thinking that…  More info

Padre Azul Blanco Tequila
$78.35

Olmeca Reposado Tequila

70cl, 38%
Olmeca Tequila

Made using hand-harvested, hand-selected Agave, this reposado Tequila has rested in Oak barrels for over 1 year prior to release.  More info

Olmeca Reposado Tequila
1
$23.91

Sierra Tequila Silver

70cl, 38%
Destilerias Sierra

A well-loved tequila brand, Sierra Tequila is just the ticket for Margaritas and other classic tequila serves. It even comes with its own tiny sombrero.  More info

Sierra Tequila Silver
8
$20.94
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Montezuma White Tequila

70cl, 38%
Montezuma

Produced by the Montezuma company, this is a Blanco Tequila with a crisp tangy palate. It's great value for money and will work very nicely in cocktails.  More info

Montezuma White Tequila
11
$18.44

Calle 23 Añejo

70cl, 40%
Calle 23

Calle 23 Añejo is distilled in the Los Altos region of Jalisco, using 100% agave, and spends 16 months resting in ex-bourbon barrels. The result is well-flavoured, with plenty of the vanilla…  More info

Calle 23 Añejo
4
$45.78

1800 Silver Tequila

70cl, 38%
1800

A fabulous silver Tequila here from the 1800 range, made with 100% blue weber agave, which are harvested after ageing between eight and 12 years. The spirit is double distilled, and blended with a…  More info

1800 Silver Tequila
2
$33.88
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El Rayo Plata

70cl, 40%
El Rayo

El Rayo Tequila pays homage to the legend that lightning struck an agave plant, cooking it and creating the first ever Tequila. This particular expression is not made with lightning, but with 105…  More info

El Rayo Plata
4
$34.33
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Avión Reserva 44

70cl, 40%
Avión

At the peak of the Avión Tequila range sits the Reserva 44 Extra Añejo. This expression spends 43 months sitting in oak cask, before being transferred over smaller casks for a final month (these…  More info

Avión Reserva 44
$94.03

Herradura Añejo

70cl, 40%
Herradura

A very good quality Añejo from Herradura. This was introduced in 1962, and was the first commercially available tequila of its type. It also won Golds at both the coveted International Wine and…  More info

Herradura Añejo
5
$44.85

Arette Reposado

70cl, 38%
Arette

This corking reposado is aged for between 4 and 6 months in white oak. It is made 100% blue agave from Jalisco, and it is blended with water from Tequila mountain. This is a superb premium tequila…  More info

Arette Reposado
3
$29.65
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The Butterfly Cannon Cristalino Tequila

50cl, 40%
The Butterfly Cannon

A 100% agave Tequila aged for 30 days in barrels before being charcoal filtered. It’s produced by the Destiladora del Valle de Tequila in Mexico and has been specially-designed to be mixed in…  More info

The Butterfly Cannon Cristalino Tequila
$28.86

El Tequileño Blanco

50cl, 38%
El Tequileño

The Blanco Tequila from the El Tequileño range! It's made with agaves sourced from the Highlands of Jalisco, which boast a high sugar content – resulting in sweeter Tequila. The folks over at El…  More info

El Tequileño Blanco
$22.58
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Rooster Rojo Añejo Tequila

70cl, 38%
Rooster Rojo

This añejo Tequila was made with blue agave, using the Fabrica de Tequilas method of cooking the piña with steam in autoclaves for 10 hours. A special yeast is added to the agave juices prior to…  More info

Rooster Rojo Añejo Tequila
6
$27.35

Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia 2020

70cl, 38%
Jose Cuervo

An extraordinary extra añejo Tequila from the folks who have been making the spirit since 1795, this is the 2020 edition of the Reserva de la Familia.  More info

Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia 2020
$134.54

Casa Noble Anejo

70cl, 40%
Casa Noble

A handsome Anejo tequila from Casa Noble, aged in French white oak barrels for 2 years to develop the fruity agave, rich caramels and simmering spice notes.  More info

Casa Noble Anejo
7
$62.77

El Rayo Reposado

70cl, 40%
El Rayo

This is the Reposado expression from Tequila El Rayo, which distils 100% Blue Weber agave in 105 year old copper stills and matured for seven months in casks that previously held whiskey before being…  More info

El Rayo Reposado
11
$36.27

Agave Thieves Tequila Añejo

50cl, 40%
Agave Thieves

Añejo Tequila from the Agave Thieves range, which interestingly is made with some Mexican botanicals to help bolster the flavour profile of the spirit. It was created with bartenders in mind, so it…  More info

Agave Thieves Tequila Añejo
4
$44.80

Pasote Añejo

75cl, 40%
Pasote Tequila

From the locally sourced, pure blue agave of Felipe J. Camarena's distillery, El Pandillo, the Pasote Añejo is the longest aged tequila from this range, spending one year in American ex-bourbon…  More info

Pasote Añejo
$62.53

Don Fulano Blanco Fuerte

70cl, 50%
Don Fulano

A higher strength edition of the Don Fulano Blanco tequila. Sitting at 50% ABV, it's an intense, spicy expression, though it remains rich in herbal and fruity notes throughout.  More info

Don Fulano Blanco Fuerte
2
$57.25
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Herradura Directo de Alambique

70cl, 55%
Herradura

The fourth release from the Herradura Coleccion de la Casa range is the Directo de Alambique expression. This tequila has been made with 100% blue agave and fermented using natural yeast, which is…  More info

Herradura Directo de Alambique
$83.65

Gran Centenario Plata

70cl, 38%
Gran Centenario

A great silver tequila, Gran Centenario is made with 10 year old agave plants which are cooked in stone ovens. This is slowly distilled and aged in oak.  More info

Gran Centenario Plata
2
$35.82
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Montezuma Gold Tequila

70cl, 40%
Montezuma

Produced by the Montezuma company, this is a gold-coloured Reposado tequila which was aged in oak for less than two months before bottling.  More info

Montezuma Gold Tequila
5
$20.43
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