26 Jul 5 things you should know about tequila and mezcal
We’ve had agave spirits on our minds lately, with National Tequila Day earlier this week, as well as the recent visit of Rosendo Zambrano, owner of Mezcal Machetazo, which Wholly Spirits will soon be stocking.
It’s no secret that we love tequila and mezcal here at Wholly Spirits. We currently distribute some excellent agave spirits in Malaysia, including Tequila Ocho, Cimarron Tequila, Fortaleza Tequila, Alipus Mezcal and the incoming Mezcal Machetazo. We also stock other brands at Wholly Spirits Retail, including Espalon Tequila, Milagro Tequila, and others.
One thing that bugs us, however, is that tequila and mezcal are such misunderstood categories, with so many misconceptions, ranging from the one where “you should only drink tequila as shots and with salt and lime”, to the baffling myth that it is guaranteed to give you a headache.
So, in the spirit of spreading our love of agave spirits, here are some basic facts you should know about tequila and mezcal:
1) Tequila and mezcal are made from the agave plant (which is not a cactus)
The laws governing the production of tequila and mezcal in Mexico are very strict. First of all, both tequila and mezcal can only be made in Mexico.
Secondly, tequila can only be made from one species of agave (blue agave), while mezcal can be made from five – the most commonly used is Espadin, while others include tobalá, tobaziche, tepeztate and arroqueño.
2) There are two basic categories of tequila: mixto and 100% agave
The problem with making tequila from just one species of agave is, sometimes you can run out of blue agave. That’s where the mixto came in – a blend that consists of 51% pure blue agave tequila, and 49% grain spirits that tends to be cheaper and not as refined as 100% agave tequilas.
Here’s a tip: if the label on a tequila bottle does not say ‘100% Agave’, then chances are it is a mixto. You won’t have that problem when buying tequila at Wholly Spirits Retail though – we only stock 100% Blue Agave tequilas.
3) If you see a worm in the bottle of mezcal, steer clear
The whole ‘worm in a mezcal’ thing was a marketing gimmick that somehow took off in the US, resulting in a game where the last person to drink from the bottle had. However, the rule of thumb is, if there is a worm in it, don’t drink it, because it probably won’t taste very good!
4) Tequilas are aged as well
There are three general categories of tequilas. Blanco tequilas are unaged, white tequilas bottled immediately after it is distilled, and commonly used for cocktails or in long drinks. Reposado, or “rested” tequila are aged in oak barrels between two and 12 months.
Last but not least, añejo tequilas are aged for at least a year, but usually for an average of three years (there is also an extra añejo category for tequilas that are aged a minimum of three years).
5) Good tequilas and mezcals are meant to be sipped and enjoyed slowly
Yes, the best-known way of drinking tequila is in a shot glass with salt and a lime wedge. But that way of drinking was invented only because the quality of tequila was so bad that drinkers needed the salt and lime to mask the awfulness of the spirit.
These days, the quality of agave spirits has improved tremendously, and so has the way people drink tequila has changed as well. Some of the best tequilas, especially the aged 100% tequilas, are meant to be sipped and enjoyed slowly, much like the way you’d enjoy a good whisky, rum or cognac.
The same goes for mezcal, which are some of the most complex spirits around, full of smoky, herbal, grassy, fruity flavours that are unlike any you can find in any other spirit.
Wholly Spirits Retail currently stocks a good range of 100% agave tequilas, including Tequila Ocho, Cimarron, Forteleza, and Espolon.
For inquiries, Whatsapp us at 012-5805813. Our opening hours are 12pm-9pm daily.