The Different Types of Tequila Explained

by | Aug 2019

A margarita recipe made with reposado tequila.

Photo: Tate Carlson

It’s peak margarita season, and our liquor columnist is here to help you choose the right tequila!

It’s peak margarita season, and I’m here to help you choose the right tequila! Most consumers understand that tequila has to come from certain regions in Mexico and has to be distilled from the agave plant. Here are some tricks and tips to buying the right one. Only buy a product that says “100 percent blue agave.” Otherwise, to legally be classified as tequila, it only needs to contain 51 percent blue agave. Your bad experience with Jose Cuervo in college? It came from the decent amount of malt liquor in their product. It isn’t 100 percent blue agave.

Now, why are some tequilas different colors? Anything “silver,” “claro,” or “blanco” just means it was distilled and bottled immediately. Reposado tequila has been aged between two–12 months in (typically) ex-bourbon barrels, and the Anejo tequila is aged between 12–24 months. What’s the difference other than cost? The barrel aging smooths out some of the bite, as well as adding more of that oak flavor. Blanco and Reposado are best for margaritas, and Anejo is best for those that enjoy sipping a high-quality aged spirit. Whiskey drinkers, I’m looking at you!

Here’s my go-to margarita recipe.

  • 2 oz. Reposado tequila (Espolon is great for the price.)
  • 1 oz. Orange liqueur (Triple sec works fine, but I use Cointreau.)
  • 1 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 bar spoon of agave nectar

Directions—shake all the ingredients and pour into a glass.

Pro tip—add a pinch of salt into the liquid vs. rimming your glass.

Contributed by Graham Luterbach, a liquor specialist with Edina Liquor
Instagram: @gldn_cocktails


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