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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.

Cabrito Tequila Blanco (40%)

70cl, 40%
Tequila Cabrito

Blanco tequila produced in Arandas in the Jalisco region, made using 100% agave. There's a goat on the label. It's looking at you expectantly.  More info

Cabrito Tequila Blanco (40%)
$32.64

Lunazul Reposado

70cl, 40%
Lunazul

Lunazul's Reposado is made at the Tierre de Agaves distillery. It is distilled from 100% blue agave.  More info

Lunazul Reposado
$29.51

Calle 23 Blanco

70cl, 40%
Calle 23

The Blance expression from Calle 23's range of 100% agave tequilas, made with blue agave sourced from Los Altos de Jalisco. A top quality tequila for cocktails.  More info

Calle 23 Blanco
4
$35.86
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Fuenteseca Reserva Añejo 18 Year Old 1995

70cl, 43.5%
Fuenteseca Reserva

An exquisite añejo Tequila from Fuenteseca, this 18 year old expression was distilled back in 1995, and has been treated to various of stages of maturation. To begin, the Tequila was filled into…  More info

Fuenteseca Reserva Añejo 18 Year Old 1995
$662.72

Curado Tequila Blanco - Infusión de Agave Espadín

70cl, 40%
Curado

100% Blue Weber agave is at the heart of this blanco Tequila from the Curado range. To make it unique, locally harvested espadín agave has been traditionally cooked and then transported to La Alteña…  More info

Curado Tequila Blanco - Infusión de Agave Espadín
1
$43.85
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Próspero Añejo

70cl, 40%
Próspero

It's the Añejo Tequila from the Próspero range, which was launched by singer Rita Ora, who teamed up with master distiller Stella Anguiano to create a selection of superb spirits. This particular…  More info

Próspero Añejo
$51.82

Don Julio Blanco Tequila

70cl, 38%
Don Julio

Citrussy and fresh, Don Julio's Blanco tequila was rated as "Classic" by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. This is their highest commendation, and it was awarded after their noted critic, F Paul Pacult after…  More info

Don Julio Blanco Tequila
4
$45

Ocho Blanco Tequila 2011 (El Puertecito)

50cl, 40%
Ocho

Here we have a blanco Tequila from the wonderful Single Estate Ocho range. The agave for this expression was harvested in 2011 from Rancho El Puertecito, located on a hilltop in the heart of the…  More info

Ocho Blanco Tequila 2011 (El Puertecito)
$53.77

Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado

50cl, 38%
Jose Cuervo

100% agave tequila from Jose Cuervo tequila, aged shortly in white oak barrels. The peppery notes from the Silver Tradicional are dialled back in the Reposado, in their place, you'll find sweeter…  More info

Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado
2
$33.63
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Arette Suave Añejo

70cl, 38%
Arette

This is the Añejo expression from Arette's premium tequila range, Suave (a choice name, we have to say). They store the spirit for 6 months in steel tank to allow it to mellow, before transferring it…  More info

Arette Suave Añejo
$64.28

Batanga Tequila Blanco

70cl, 38%
Casa Orendain

Batanga blanco Tequila is produced at the Casa Orendain, which was founded all the way back in 1926! It's distilled using 100% agave, harvested from the Orendain plantation and fermented with yeast…  More info

Batanga Tequila Blanco
1
$25.90
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Curado Tequila Blanco - Infusión de Blue Agave

70cl, 40%
Curado

Made using 100% Blue Weber agave, don't let the colour of this Tequila fool you - it's most definitely blanco! Post distillation, the Tequila is infused with Blue Weber agave from Jalisco (hence the…  More info

Curado Tequila Blanco - Infusión de Blue Agave
1
$43.85
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Tapatio 110 Blanco Tequila

50cl, 55%
La Altena

Tapatio Blanco Tequila - a back-bar stable, but not as you know it. This special edition of the classic tequila has been bottled at a higher strength of 110 proof (55% ABV), which has given it a…  More info

Tapatio 110 Blanco Tequila
6
$30.89
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Corazón Reposado

70cl, 40%
Corazón

Distilled from 100% Blue Weber agave, Corazón's Reposado expression is aged in Canadian oak barrels for around six to eight months before being bottled in hand-blown glass bottles. And rather lovely…  More info

Corazón Reposado
1
$33.34

Avión Añejo Tequila

70cl, 40%
Avión

Añejo tequila from the Avión range, founded by Ken Austin and made with the Lopez family in Jesus Maria - 100% of the agave used in Avión comes from Jesus Maria! The Añejo is matured for two years…  More info

Avión Añejo Tequila
$47.93
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Kah Day of the Dead Gift Pack

15cl, 45%
Fabrica de Tequilas Finos

A awesome gift pack from Kah Tequila, featuring three vibrantly decorated 5cl skull-shaped bottles, each one featuring one of their tasty tequilas. This includes their Blanco (40% ABV), their…  More info

Kah Day of the Dead Gift Pack
1
$20.38

Purasangre Tequila Añejo

100cl, 40%
Purasangre

Using 100% blue weber agave which has been grown in high altitudes, Purasangre Tequila Añejo is twice distilled, before spending a minimum of two years resting in French Oak. Nicely aged and very…  More info

Purasangre Tequila Añejo
$65.73

Etéreo Plata

70cl, 40%
Etereo

A rather snazzy Tequila here from the Etéreo range, made with agave from Jalisco and produced at a family-owned distillery using a combination of traditional and modern methods. More than suitable…  More info

Etéreo Plata
$58.75

Cantinero Reposado

70cl, 38%
Cantinero

Reposado tequila from the Cantinero range, produced using 100% agave and matured for at least six months in American oak barrels before bottling. Rich in caramel and sweet fruit notes.  More info

Cantinero Reposado
$27.65

Tres Sombreros Blanco

70cl, 38%
Tres Sombreros

Tres Sombreros, the tequila with three sombreros on the bottle.  More info

Tres Sombreros Blanco
$29.04

El Torito Silver

70cl, 35%
Polini Group S.r.I

An unaged El Torito Tequila, which was made in Mexico. Perfect for a Paloma, just make sure you've got enough fresh grapefruit juice!  More info

El Torito Silver
1
$20.78

Storywood Tequila Reposado Cask Strength

70cl, 53%
Storywood

A cask strength reposado Tequila from the Storywood range, which is all about maturing Tequila in Scotch whisky casks! This particular expression was allowed a seven-month slumber in Single malt…  More info

Storywood Tequila Reposado Cask Strength
$49.77

1800 Tequila Reposado

70cl, 38%
1800

After spending up to a year in oak casks, this 1800 Reposado Tequila is ready for Margaritas, Sunrises or even enjoyed neat. Beautiful golden hue to this, too.  More info

1800 Tequila Reposado
3
$33.88

1800 Añejo Tequila

70cl, 38%
1800

An ultra premium tequila, 1800 Anejo is aged in small French oak barrels for over 12 months, with a small proportion of it aged in American oak for 3 years.  More info

1800 Añejo Tequila
10
$42.85
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Cantinero Blanco

70cl, 38%
Cantinero

A 100% agave blanco tequila produced as part of the Cantinero range. Of course, this will make for some smashing cocktails, we reckon.  More info

Cantinero Blanco
5
$26.35

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