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Tequila

What is tequila? Well, it 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 slow roasted 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 the great 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.

123 Blanco Tequila

70cl, 40%
123

A superb unaged Tequila from 123, which is also organic, no less! It's produced with agaves that are harvested at around 10 years old and naturally fermented. With a focus on sustainability, the…  More info

123 Blanco Tequila
1
$59.79

123 Reposado Tequila

70cl, 40%
123

A gorgeous Reposado Tequila from the folks at 123, and this one's spiced, caramel-forward flavour profile was achieved by resting it in American white oak barrels for six months! Tequila Sour, anyone?  More info

123 Reposado Tequila
1
$69.76

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
$43.57

1800 Cristalino Tequila

70cl, 35%
1800

An interesting and stylish bottling from the 1800 Tequila range, 1800 Cristalino is an añejo expression which has been filtered, resulting in a clear spirit that still packs a rich, full-bodied…  More info

1800 Cristalino Tequila
8
$46.87

1800 Milenio Extra Añejo Tequila

70cl, 38%
1800

A particularly decadent Añejo Tequila from the 1800 range, first released in 2000. This expression is given a lengthy initial maturation in American oak barrels before being transferred over to…  More info

1800 Milenio Extra Añejo Tequila
2
$219.30

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
$33.90
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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
$35.90
$31.92

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
5
$44.83

Ambhar Tequila Añejo

70cl, 40%
Ambhar

Ambhar's Añejo Tequila is made from 100% blue weber agave five times distilled in Jalisco, Mexico. The spirit is then aged for around two years in American oak barrels sourced from Jack Daniel's in…  More info

Ambhar Tequila Añejo
$50.11

Ambhar Tequila Plata

70cl, 40%
Ambhar

A small batch Tequila made with 100% blue weber agave, Ambhar's Plata expression is made with agave from both the highlands and the lowlands. It's distilled in Jalisco not once, but five times before…  More info

Ambhar Tequila Plata
$38.14

Ambhar Tequila Reposado

70cl, 40%
Ambhar

Distilled in Jalisco, Mexico, from 100% blue weber agave comes Ambhar's Reposado Tequila. It's rested for just under a year in barrels which previously housed Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, before…  More info

Ambhar Tequila Reposado
$46.61

AquaRiva Blanco

70cl, 38%
AquaRiva

Produced with nothing but 100% Blue Weber Agave, AquaRiva's Blanco is a deliciously flavoursome silver tequila, made with agave and water from the Jalisco highlands. Try it in cocktails - it makes a…  More info

AquaRiva Blanco
3
$31.65

Arette Blanco

70cl, 38%
Arette

A silver tequila from Arette, this was launched in 2007 and is made at the El Llano distillery, which has been owned by the Orendain family since the early 20th century. This is bottled on site in…  More info

Arette Blanco
2
$26.91

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
$29.67

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
$64.32

Arette Suave Blanco

70cl, 38%
Arette

Blanco tequila from Arette's premium Suave range, which is allowed to rest for six months in stainless steel tanks before bottling, which helps to mellow the spirit's flavour profile. The name,…  More info

Arette Suave Blanco
1
$51.81

Arette Suave Reposado

70cl, 38%
Arette

From the Arette Suave range comes a Reposado tequila made with 100% agave, matured in American oak casks for 11 months. Top quality stuff, well worth splashing out on.  More info

Arette Suave Reposado
$55.30

ArteNOM Selección de 1146 Tequila Añejo

70cl, 40%
ArteNOM

Wonderful añejo Tequila, produced at the Tequileña Distillery in Atotonilco El Alto, Jalisco. Using agave grown at mid-slope elevation, the Tequila is aged for an initial period in Cabernet Franc…  More info

ArteNOM Selección de 1146 Tequila Añejo
$76.03

ArteNOM Selección de 1414 Tequila Reposado

70cl, 40%
ArteNOM

Independently bottled reposado Tequila from ArteNOM, who specialise in bottling distiller's selections of Tequila, each with regional distinction. Selección de 1414 is produced at Distileria El…  More info

ArteNOM Selección de 1414 Tequila Reposado
$59.79

ArteNOM Selección de 1579 Tequila Blanco

70cl, 40%
ArteNOM

Top quality Tequila, independently bottled by ArteNOM, which is on a mission to seek out select expressions with distinctive heritage and character. This classic blanco was crafted by master…  More info

ArteNOM Selección de 1579 Tequila Blanco
1
$59.78

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
$47.96

Avión Reposado Tequila

70cl, 40%
Avión

Reposado tequila from the Avión range (which you may be familiar with if you watch the TV show Entourage). They age this tequila for 6 months before bottling it up.  More info

Avión Reposado Tequila
$44.86

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
$111.69

Avión Silver Tequila

70cl, 40%
Avión

The entry level expression from the Avión tequila range. At the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, this tequila took home an impressive pair of awards - Best Silver Tequila and Best Unaged…  More info

Avión Silver Tequila
1
$41.78

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
$26.66

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