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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.

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Casamigos Añejo Tequila

70cl, 40%
Casamigos

From the Casamigos range (which we believe means 'house of friends') comes an Añejo tequila, which has spent 14 months ageing in American white oak casks. This maturation has resulted in a tequila…  More info

Casamigos Añejo Tequila
3
$55.76

Fortaleza Reposado

70cl, 40%
Destileria La Fortaleza

Fortaleza launched in 2005, but Guillermo Sauza's family have been making tequila for five generations going back to Don Cenobio who is said to have been the first person to export “mezcal de…  More info

Fortaleza Reposado
2
$65.56
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Fortaleza Añejo

70cl, 40%
Destileria La Fortaleza

With a rich family history in tequila, Guillermo Sauza launched Fortaleza in 2005, bringing back the traditions of previous generations at the family distillery that had sat unused for too long. This…  More info

Fortaleza Añejo
5
$93.74

Fortaleza Blanco

70cl, 40%
Destileria La Fortaleza

Guillermo Sauza's family have a rich tequila-making history, with Don Cenobio a key figure in establishing tequila as we understand it today. When Guillermo was little, his grandfather sold the…  More info

Fortaleza Blanco
4
$57.28
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Fortaleza Blanco Still Strength

70cl, 46%
Destileria La Fortaleza

A higher-strength variation of Fortaleza excellent Blanco Tequila. Ought to stand out very well in cocktails and mixed drinks...  More info

Fortaleza Blanco Still Strength
1
$67.03
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Pancho Datos Reposado Tequila

70cl, 40%
Pancho Datos

This 100% agave reposado Tequila from Pancho Datos was rested for six months in white oak barrels previously used to mature bourbon whiskey. The agave itself is allowed to age for at least six years,…  More info

Pancho Datos Reposado Tequila
29
$50.28
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Rooster Rojo Reposado Tequila

70cl, 38%
Rooster Rojo

Produced and distilled in the heart of Tequila, Mexico, by Fabrica de Tequilas, this reposado was made with blue agave that was cooked in autoclaves using steam for 10 hours. A special yeast is then…  More info

Rooster Rojo Reposado Tequila
2
$24.27
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Tiempo Tequila Reposado Cristalino

70cl, 40%
Tiempo Tequila

This tremendous reposado Tequila from Tiempo is made from 100% blue weber agave grown in Los Altos and the Tequila Valley in Mexico. Produced with natural yeast and volcanic spring water, the Tequila…  More info

Tiempo Tequila Reposado Cristalino
2
$47.69
$44.64

Kah Anejo Tequila

70cl, 40%
Fabrica de Tequilas Finos

Kah Anejo Tequila is matured for 2 years in American white oak casks, before being placed into these Dia de los Muertos-inspired bottles, shaped like skulls. This one even has more skulls painted…  More info

Kah Anejo Tequila
1
$56.32

Pancho Datos Plata Tequila

70cl, 40%
Pancho Datos

This 100% agave tequila was born out of a desire to revive the work of the great historian and poet of the Mexican Revolution, Ricardo Grijalva de León and a character he created in 1947, Pancho…  More info

Pancho Datos Plata Tequila
23
$43.67
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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
$46.67

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
$24.36

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
$45.66

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
$30.36
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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
$33.50
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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
$30.21
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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
$34.53
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Padre Azul Single Barrel Extra Añejo Tequila

70cl, 40%
Padre Azul

An exceptionally impressive Extra Añejo Tequila from Padre Azul, drawn from a single barrel! After being distilled entirely from Blue Weber agave, it's rested in bourbon barrels for four years, with…  More info

Padre Azul Single Barrel Extra Añejo Tequila
1
$138.42

Hacien Blanco Tequila

70cl, 38%
Hacien

This is the Blanco expression from Hacien Tequila, made using 100% blue agave at its heart. Suitable for sipping neat or using in a cocktail, this spirit has a bold flavour profile, making for an…  More info

Hacien Blanco Tequila
1
$55.81

Centinela Anejo

70cl, 40%
Tequila Centinela SA

The Centinela Anejo tequila is made with 100% agave and is aged for around 30 months in barrels previously used for maturing bourbon, before it is bottled. Well suited to sipping neat and being…  More info

Centinela Anejo
1
$64.50

Rey Sol

70cl, 38%
San Matias

Rey Sol is a spectacular extra añejo Tequila from San Matias, made with agave plants that have aged for 7 to 10 years before being harvested. The Tequila itself is matured for 6 years, and presented…  More info

Rey Sol
1
$203.09

Código 1530 Blanco

70cl, 38%
Código 1530

The blanco expression from the Código 1530 Tequila range, made with agave which has grown for over seven years before being distilled. Top quality stuff, this.  More info

Código 1530 Blanco
2
$40.72

Olmeca Altos Añejo

70cl, 40%
Olmeca Tequila

Olmeca launched their Altos Añejo Tequila in mid-2016, adding to the range's Plata and Resposado expressions. They age this tequila for 18 months in oak casks before bottling, making it well-suited…  More info

Olmeca Altos Añejo
1
$40.57

El Tequileño Platinum

70cl, 40%
El Tequileño

A blanco Tequila made from 100% estate grown agave in the highlands of Jalisco. Distilled in copper pot stills and cut with volcanic spring water, the spirit is left to mellow in American oak for…  More info

El Tequileño Platinum
1
$37.01

Código 1530 Rosa

70cl, 35%
Código 1530

A step up from the Código 1530 Blanco, the Rosa spends a month resting in barrels that previously held Napa Cabernet wine. The result is an earthy tequila with light though bright hint of red fruit…  More info

Código 1530 Rosa
1
$46.46
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