10 Bottles for National Tequila Day
by David Klemt
This Saturday we celebrate the world’s most famous agave spirit: the one and only tequila.
National Tequila Day takes place this weekend on July 24.
Of course, there are still those out there who view tequila as a low-quality, high-proof spirit that leads to bad decisions.
Luckily, years of education are turning that around. People across the world are now aware of high-quality sipping tequilas.
Those in the know are drinking better, although that doesn’t preclude them from making bad choices afterward. Indeed, we can no longer blame the tequila, only ignorance of higher quality expressions.
Arguably the tequila most people associate with cheap shots and cocktails. Distillers don’t age blanco and they bottle the liquid soon after distillation. However, the explosion in the growth of tequila brings with it new brands and higher standards. Many blancos taste excellent and make great cocktails.
This blanco represents the antithesis of the mainstream stereotype of blanco tequilas. Tequilera Maestro (Tequila Master) Ana Maria Romero approaches the process of making Mijenta Blanco with the same care and attention to detail as she does reposado.
Yes, this is a “celebrity tequila.” Yes, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson owns Teremana. Being a celebrity spirit doesn’t discredit the quality of this brand. Teremana Blanco is a silver tequila that aims to drink like a luxury expression.
An interesting and rare (currently) category, joven is unaged tequila blended with one or more aged expressions.
Viva XXXII Joven
Described as a “modern sipping” expression by the distillery, Viva XXXII Joven is made with estate-grown blanco and the brand’s extra añejo. Expect crisp flavors of lemon peel, yerba buena (an aromatic mint), and white pepper.
Casa Dragones Joven
When Casa Dragones first entered the market in 2009, this was their debut expression. Five years later, they released their first blanco. In the case of Casa Dragones Joven, blanco was blended with extra añejo. Not only is it proper to include one of the first joven tequilas on the market on this list, this expression has earned its place.
Combine the bold flavors of younger blanco tequila with the smooth, refined characteristics of aged añejo. That will give you an idea of what to expect with a reposado, which is aged between two and twelve months. Equal capable in shots and cocktails or for sitting and sipping.
Volcán De Mi Tierra Reposado
Made from agaves that take well over 3,000 days to ripen, Volcán Reposado captures the terroir of the state of Jalisco. The liquid is aged in American and European oak barrels, which helps to make this a smooth expression.
Clase Azul Reposado
Arguably the most recognized bottle on the back of any bar. Clase Azul Reposado draws the eyes of guests with its unique appearance and keeps them coming back with its unique flavor profile and incredible smoothness.
This category must be aged for one to three years in oak. Of course, añejo can be enjoyed as a shot or in a cocktail, just like any spirit can be. However, these tequilas are often best when sipped slowly to appreciate every flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel characteristic.
El Tesoro Añejo
This añejo is aged between two and three years in ex-bourbon barrels. The result is intriguing, to the say the least: Master Distiller Carlos Camarena says El Tesoro Añejo, due to vanilla and maple notes, would pair well with pancakes.
Casa Dragones Barrel Blend
Known as a small-batch producer of luxury blanco and joven tequilas, Casa Dragones is finally producing an añejo. Casa Dragones Barrel Blend is aged in Quercus Sessile French oak and new American oak barrels, both of which undergo custom toasting. The result is a smooth, luxurious sipper with spice, oak, berry, and agave notes.
Once a distiller passes the three-year mark aging tequila, they have free reign to experiment. The extra añejo category is where people find truly unique and rare (and expensive, of course) expressions.
Herradura Selección Suprema
It may interest people to know that Herradura gets the credit for creating both the reposado and extra añejo categories. So, it’s only fitting that they be on this list in one of those categories. Herradura Selección Suprema rests for 49 months—four years and one month—in American white oak barrels.
Tears of Llorona No. 3 Extra Añejo
Master Distiller Germán González initially created Tears of Llorona to for his friends and family. However, the five-year-old extra añejo Maestro Gonzalez produces are sometimes made available to the public. The current private stock offering, Tears of Llorona No. 3, is aged in Scotch, brandy, and sherry oak barrels.