Tequila is a delicious drink that can be enjoyed with friends or by yourself. Tequila is usually produced in Mexico, but it doesn’t have to be made there for it to be tequila, technically. It’s often mixed with soda water and lime juice, but there are so many other ways to enjoy cava de oro tequila: on the rocks with salt, in a cocktail, or even as an ingredient in food.
Tequila is a type of mezcal.
For the uninitiated, mezcal is a type of agave spirit made by fermenting and distilling the blue agave plant’s piña (the heart). Tequila is also technically a type of mezcal, but it’s made from only two varieties of blue agave plants: tequila weber Azul and tequila weber Azul oaxaqueño. Most other types of mezcal use different species—and some producers don’t even use agaves at all but instead ferment sugarcane juice or fruit mash into their final product.
The most significant difference between tequila and other mezcals is that the tequila-making process must adhere to strict regulations. If your bottle doesn’t say “100% Agave” on it, it’s not tequila legally—it may still be delicious, though!
There are five types of agavés used for making tequilas: sotol, cenizo, blue agave, espadin, piñas de Oro or Jovenes (golden barrel or young), which refers to green barrels aged only two months before bottling; mix to which relates to blends containing 51% blue agave plus 49% sugar cane.
It Takes decades to mature before harvesting.
Mezcal is a derivative of the agave plant. While cava de oro tequila is sometimes associated with quick-growing agave plants, the reality is that a plant can take decades to reach maturity. The average lifespan of an agave plant is about eight years, but some have been known to live more than 100 years—an impressive life span for any plant!
Once they’ve reached this age, they are ready to be harvested and processed into tequila. Most producers will only harvest their agave once every seven or eight years so that they don’t kill off all their plants at once (and so they can keep some back for future use).
Use of blue agave in making tequila.
The agave plant used for tequila is called “blue agave” or “agave Azul.” The process of making tequila begins with the harvesting of the blue agave plant. These plants are harvested and then cooked in a large oven called a “tahona.” This process creates a liquid called aguamiel, which will eventually become tequila. The aguamiel is transferred to a fermentation vat, where it’s left to ferment for about two weeks.
After fermentation, the liquid ferments further for an additional period before being distilled twice in copper pots known as “alambiques.” The resulting distillate from both distillations is called Blanco or Joven (young) tequila; this type of tequila has undergone no aging process and has yet to be diluted with water to reduce its alcohol content down to 40%.
The difference between mezcal and tequila.
Many think mezcal and tequila are the same, but they’re not! Mezcal is produced from different species of agaves than tequila, usually with more extended fermentation periods and lower alcohol content. While mezcal is sometimes called tequila when made in some regions of Mexico, like Oaxaca or Durango, this practice is unique among other countries that produce mezcal (such as Guatemala).