For those of you who may not have noticed, I’m a pretty big fan of tequila. To me, it is a food group! It is also a topic that my brother and I will discuss at great length and provides a special connection for siblings who live so far apart.
Today, a fan asked a question that was much too long to be answered on Facebook so I thought I’d do so here where I could expound upon the subject and include photos. If you’d like more information about tequila, I’d recommend reading articles and blogs by Mike Morales who is a professional tequila journalist.
Anita asked about Tequila: Tell me about the different colors of tequila.
Ahh…Anita. What fun you have allowed me! Today in The Education of a Tequila Drinker we’ll discuss tequila varietals: Blanco, Reposado, Anejo and Extra Anejo.
Silver or Blanco Tequila
This is the original tequila product. Tequila that hasn’t been aged or had the opportunity to pick up any flavors from an aging barrel.
The Reposado is usually a light golden color. It is called “Reposado” because it has rested. It has been aged for 10 months in barrels that may or may not have been used to age bourbon or other spirits. (As of the initial writing of this post, the industry standard for a tequila to be called a Reposado is aging it for only 2 months.) Reposado usually has a little more body than a blanco.
The Anejo is usually an amber color. This will have been aged for 12 months or more in barrels and has had more time to draw out the flavors in the wood. Anejos will usually have more prominent flavors like nuts, vanilla, caramel, smoke, and more. It has a much more intense flavor than the blanco and may leave more of an aftertaste. (Tasting a series, or flight, of anejos can be self-defeating as these are more likely to coat your palate.) This is not tequila you gulp in a shot. Sip it straight or drink it on the rocks. If you mix it into a margarita, you may not sense the alcohol at all.
Extra Anejo Tequila
Extra Anejo is usually much darker in color. The industry standard for aging an extra anejo is three years. Sip it straight from a tequila snifter and enjoy it as a dessert. Extra anejos will have more prominent flavors like almonds, vanilla, plums, dark chocolate, cinnamon and clove. I love to pair this with dark chocolate. The flavors of both complement each other immensely.
So it is with the colors of my passion and the flavors of tequila. The richer the color, the more complex the flavor. I recommend tasting all of them and enjoying the simple pleasures each brings.
Most tequila brands offer blanco, reposado and anejo. Many add an extra anejo to their line of varietals. As you browse liquor store shelves, you may also see aged, extra aged, and joven mentioned but these involve a discussion of normas and that’s an advanced lesson for another day.