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Tequila: Mexico's flagship spirit

Tequila: the history of a Mexican spirit

With a rich heritage and centuries of history, tequila is as much a part of Mexican culture as music, art and food. The blue agave used to make tequila is grown in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, where, according to some estimates, it takes just under a dozen agaves to make a single bottle. The heart of the agave, also called piña, is similar to a pineapple. A flagship spirit found at Yacatan.

The birth of tequila

Tequila: a discovery made by the Spanish

Before the production of this brandy as we all know it, used in cocktails (such as the Margarita), the Aztecs would have started to make an alcohol from this same plant: pulque. Cut into pieces, boiled and then fermented, the agave was transformed into a thick liquid.

In 1519, the Spaniards landed in America and led to the fall of the Aztec empire. Faced with the difficulty of importing wine from Spain, the conquistadors came up with the idea of producing an alcohol on the spot by distilling the agave slurry, which is how mescal wine and the famous tequila were born.

Produced only on site


The particularity of this alcohol is its location. Indeed, in order to obtain the designation "tequila", production must take place in the state of Jalisco and some municipalities in the states of Nayarit, Guanajuato, Tamaulipas and Michoacán. In addition, there are several varieties of agave, but only the “agave tequilana” is used to produce tequila.

In order to produce good tequila, it must contain at least 60% agave azul (blue) of the Weber agave variety. The remaining 40% comes from sugar alcohols. Previously, 51% agave was sufficient because of the hundreds of additives added.

The higher quality and more expensive tequila is labelled "100% agave" as opposed to the cheaper, lower quality products (which still meet the strict Mexican standards). Tequilas that contain less than 100% agave are called "mixtos".

The different types of tequila

Authentic tequila know-how

In addition to the difference between 100% agave tequila and the "mixtos", another major criterion is the ageing of the spirit.

The term blanco is used when it is not aged. The terms plata or silver may also be used.

After 2 months of ageing, the term reposado is used. Ageing is generally done in oak barrels. Tequila that has been in casks for less than 2 months can be called gold. Gold tequila is usually coloured and flavoured after distillation to soften the taste without actually ageing the spirit, thus keeping the price close to the entry level.

A tequila aged for 1 year will become an añejo, and even an extra añejo after 3 years. Generally, it is not aged beyond 4 years, because aged too long, the alcohol is considered bad, with a decrease in the quality of the product.

Consuming tequila: with its particularities and flavours


Depending on the type of tequila, consumption may vary. White tequila (unaged) is better for cocktails because it is less aromatic. It is best consumed neat, preferably very cold.

In Mexico, it is usually served as a shot with a glass of sangrita. Sangrita is a mixture of fruit juice (usually bitter orange, lime and pomegranate) and spices (chilli) flavoured with a hot sauce.

Another popular drink is teq paf' or tequila boom. After taking a pinch of salt, one drinks a shot of tequila before putting a quarter or a slice of lemon in the mouth.

Añejo tequila tastes best as a digestive. It can be drunk neat or on the rocks. Tequila reposado is somewhere in between, pure for those who like it and in cocktails for others.

Tequila Boys Club: our bar in the spotlight

At Yacatan, we want you to rediscover the history and authenticity of this Mexican spirit through our wide range of tequila imported directly from Jalisco. An ideal base for a selection of signature cocktails carefully prepared by our mixologists. Discover, taste and travel for a short while in our "Tequila Boys Club" bar.

Want to learn more about Mexican culture, traditions and heritage?

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