Know Your Tequila Varieties—and How to Enjoy Them
Oct. 7, 2015
First, there was pulque—a milky-colored, sour-tasting alcoholic brew made from fermenting agave sap by the ancient Aztecs. Fast-forward to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the 16 th century when mom-and-pop distilleries began to distill pulque into tequila. Today, there are 160 distilleries that produce about 1600 tequila brands, but Patrón only makes Patrón—just check the NOM number on every bottle to see for yourself. This four-digit number indicates the tequila producer and is regulated and enforced by Mexico’s Consejo Regulador del Tequila. Still, appreciating tequila isn’t as simple as knowing where it’s made or who does it best. Understanding its different varieties will help you decide which one’s for you—and how best to enjoy it. We spoke with Director of Brand Education at Patrón Spirits, Chris Spake who gave us the goods.
For those who prefer the purest and freshest agave flavor, go with Patrón Silver, which is aged for up to 60 days. It’s perfect for mixing into margaritas and palomas.
As tequila ages in its wood barrels, it changes color and flavor. Patrón Reposado picks up a golden hue as well as a more oaky taste after aging between 60 and 90 days. You can mix this into any cocktail for a slightly more intense flavor.
Añejo is kept in barrels for a minimum of one year. It becomes an even darker, amber shade and gains an even smoother, richer profile. At Patrón, they only age this category between 12 and 14 months lest they over-oak it and eradicate all notes of agave. Try it mixed in any cocktail that traditionally uses a brown spirit, like an Old Fashioned.
Extra Añejo is aged a minimum of three years, and perfect for drinking neat, or over the rocks. “It’s a prize tequila, one of the best on the planet,” says Spake. “You’re not going to make a cocktail with anything that high-end.”