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 What is Tequila? A Guide to Tequila Types

What is Tequila? A Guide to Tequila Types

Originating from Mexico, tequila has become a beloved spirit enjoyed by people all around the world. This versatile drink is known for its rich history and unique production methods, which create a wide range of distinctive flavors. 

In this easy-to-read guide, we’ll delve into the different types of tequila, highlighting the variations in production, aging, and taste that set each variety apart. From the vibrant Blanco to the complex Extra Añejo, join us as we uncover the fascinating world of tequila.

What is Tequila?

Tequila is a distilled spirit made from the blue agave plant, primarily found in the region surrounding the city of Tequila in the Mexican state of Jalisco. Its production process follows strict regulations, ensuring the spirit’s authenticity and quality. Tequila can be enjoyed neat, mixed in cocktails, or as a key ingredient in various culinary dishes.

Major Types of Tequila

Tequila comes in various forms, each offering unique characteristics influenced by factors like aging and production methods. Here are the major types of tequila:

1. Blanco

Blanco, also known as silver or white tequila, is an unaged or minimally aged tequila. It is bottled immediately after distillation or allowed to rest in stainless steel tanks for up to two months. This results in a clear spirit with bold agave flavors and a crisp, clean finish. Blanco tequilas are ideal for mixing in cocktails or sipping straight.

2. Joven

Joven, meaning “young” in Spanish, is a blend of Blanco tequila and either aged tequilas (Reposado, Añejo, or Extra Añejo) or additives like caramel coloring, oak extract, or sugar syrup. The result is a smooth, slightly sweet spirit with a golden hue. Joven tequilas are commonly used in mixed drinks.

3. Reposado

Reposado, which translates to “rested,” is a tequila aged in oak barrels for a period of two months to one year. This aging process imparts a golden color and a smoother, more complex flavor profile, with notes of vanilla, caramel, and oak. Reposado tequilas can be savored neat or used in high-quality cocktails.

4. Añejo

Añejo, or “aged” tequila, is matured in oak barrels for a minimum of one year but not more than three years. The extended aging process gives Añejo tequilas a rich, amber color and imparts deeper flavors of caramel, chocolate, and spices. Añejo tequilas are best enjoyed neat or with a single ice cube to fully appreciate their complexity.

5. Extra Añejo

Extra Añejo, the most premium category of tequila, is aged for a minimum of three years in oak barrels. This prolonged aging results in the dark, almost mahogany color and an exceptionally smooth, complex flavor profile with notes of dried fruits, chocolate, and coffee. Extra Añejo tequilas are best savored neat, allowing their sophisticated nuances to shine.

What to Mix with Tequila? Classic Tequila Cocktails 

Tequila’s versatility makes it a popular choice for creating a variety of cocktails. From sweet and fruity to spicy and savory, there’s a tequila cocktail suited for every taste. Here are some classic tequila cocktails enjoyed in the Philippines:

Tequila Sunrise

The Tequila Sunrise is an iconic tequila cocktail. To prepare this drink, pour 1 1/2 ounces of tequila and the juice of half a lime into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top it up with club soda, then add a few drops of grenadine syrup for color. Gently stir and garnish with an orange slice or cherry.


This timeless Mexican cocktail suits any occasion. Mix two ounces of tequila with one ounce each of triple sec and lime juice in a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a margarita glass rimmed with salt or sugar. Garnish with a lime wedge, and enjoy!

Santa Clara

This refreshing beverage blends tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, and grapefruit soda for a perfect summer cooler. Combine two ounces of tequila, one ounce each of lime juice and simple syrup in a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into an ice-filled glass. Top off with grapefruit soda and garnish with a lime wedge or wheel for extra flavor.

The Paloma

The Paloma is another classic Mexican cocktail made from tequila, grapefruit soda, lime juice, and sugar syrup. Pour two ounces of tequila into an ice-filled glass and top off with grapefruit soda. Add one ounce each of lime juice and sugar syrup to taste before stirring gently to combine all ingredients. Garnish with a lime wheel or wedge for added flavor!


Which type of tequila is strongest?

The Sierra Silver Tequila, with an impressive 75% ABV (150 proof), is the strongest tequila among the various types and brands known. This exceptionally high-proof tequila will pack a powerful punch, making it suitable for those who enjoy a more intense drinking experience. However, it’s essential to consume such high-proof spirits responsibly and in moderation.

Does tequila expire?

Tequila has a very long shelf life due to its high alcohol content. Unopened bottles of tequila can last indefinitely if stored properly, away from direct sunlight and at room temperature. Once opened, the quality and flavor of tequila may slowly degrade over time, but it is still safe to drink. To maintain the best taste and aroma, it is recommended to consume opened tequila within 1-2 years.

What is the best way to drink tequila?

The ideal way to enjoy tequila depends on personal preferences and the type of tequila being consumed. For high-quality aged tequilas like Añejo or Extra Añejo, it is best to sip them neat or with a single ice cube to fully appreciate their complex flavors. Blanco and Reposado tequilas are also great for sipping but can be enjoyed in cocktails as well. Ultimately, the best way to drink tequila is the one that suits your taste buds and the occasion.

Are you supposed to refrigerate tequila?

Refrigerating tequila is not necessary, as it does not affect the shelf life or quality of the spirit. It is best to store tequila at room temperature and away from direct sunlight or heat sources. However, some people prefer to chill tequila, especially Blanco tequila, to enjoy it in shots or cold cocktails.

Ready to explore the world of tequila and try some of these classic cocktails? Head over to Thirst to discover a wide range of premium tequilas, cocktail recipes, and expert tips on how to enjoy this versatile spirit. Cheers to your tequila journey!

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