agave: One of the two official variations of tequila,
made exclusively from only sugars from the "Agave Tequilana
Weber, Variedad Azul" (Agave Tequilana Weber, blue variety).
Premium tequilas are made with "100% de Agave," and
can only be bottled in Mexico, not bulk-shipped for bottling
Unaged tequila, mixto, often called gold (oro).
A group of succulents distantly related to the lily family,
but not related to any cactus. Agave is poisonous when raw,
but has a sweet, mild flavor when baked or made into a syrup.
The juice of the blue agave, cultivated primarily in the state
of Jalisco, is used to make tequila.
Tequilana Weber Azul: The only agave allowed for use
in tequila, and only when grown in specified regions according
to the normas. It has long, rigid leafs and is a glaucuos blue.
The sweet sap extracted from the piña (heart)
of the agave plant. It is fermented for several days and then
distilled to make tequila and mezcal.
Tequila aged for at least one year in. Añejos
may be aged between three and seven years, but generally no
more than five.
A pressure cooker. Large autoclaves are used by many producers
because the steam speeds the cooking of piñas; the agave
is cooked in a few of hours instead of days in a traditional
Barrel. Tequila is aged in oak barrels, although sometimes other
types of wood are used.
"White." Tequila bottled fresh from the still.
Maybe allowed to rest in stainless steel tanks for up to sixty
days before bottling, but never has exposure to wooden barrels.
Also known as plata, plato, and silver tequila. Usually the
most robust, strong-flavored of the tequila types.
suave: An unofficial term to indicate blanco tequila
with extra aging or additives to smoothen its sharp taste.
The traditional tall drinking/shot glass for tequila,
also called a tequillita. Has a flat bottom and wider mouth.
Regional de la Industria Tequila: Regional Chamber of
the Tequila Industry, formed in 1990 to strengthen and develop
the tequila industry. It works with the Mexican government to
protect and strengthen agricultural, industrial, and commercial
activities related to tequila, protects and guards the management
of the agave plantations in order to ensure future supply. The
CRT also takes legal action against companies adultering their
product., Composed of industry members, and based in Guadalajara.
por ciento: One hundred percent; tequila or mezcal made
with only agave sugars (blue agave for tequila)
Heart. The main portion of the distillate that actually
becomes tequila. Also known as the middle part of the distillate.
Regulado de Tequila: Tequila Regulatory Counci). A non-profit
organization, founded in 1994, that verifies the performance
and the fulfillment of Mexican standards (normas) concerning
tequila. It also guarantees the tequila's authenticity and quality,
and protects the Denomination Appelation of Origin worldwide.
Members of the Council include the Mexican government, agave
farmers, tequila producers, bottlers and distributors.
of Origin: The law that establishes all the specifications
required to produce, bottle, distribute and sell tequila, to
protect and maintain the Denomination of Origin. According to
the "Appellation de Origin Controllee" (AOC), tequila
can only be produced in Mexico. In the wine and spirits industry
there are only four drinks recognized with Denomination of Origin:
sherry, cognac, champagne and tequila.
Distillation. Heating the fermented must (mosto) to extract
the alcohol. After distillation, the alcohol is filtered.
using yeast to transform the sugars contained in the
aguamiel into ethyl alcohol.
reposado: Unofficial term used to indicate a reposado
with longer aging time that officially required.
A butterfly larva, also called a worm. It lives in the
heart or leaves of agave plants. It is sometimes placed in bottles
of mezcal, but never in tequila.. There are two kinds of worms:
gusano de oro (gold) and the more prized gusano rojo (red).
en Mexico: Made in Mexico. Should be on all labels of
A traditional oven used to bake the agave piñas.
Mexican state where the town of Tequila is located. It
is also where the vast majority of the agave used for tequila
is harvested and distilled.
Young tequila. Similar to white (blanco) tequila, but
often with added color and flavoring.
Abocado: Young and smooth. Tequila to which flavorings
and often coloring are added to make it more palatable. Usually
referred to as "Gold" (oro) tequila.
Mature, another term for reposado.
Spanish word used for all agave.
mescal: Another name for maguey plant. Also the generic
name for all spirits distilled from the agave, as well as the
name of a regional beverage, similar to the tequila. Technically
tequila is a form of mezcal in the same way cognac is a form
of brandy and is sometimes called "mezcal de tequila."
Mixed: tequilas made with a mixture of agave sugars and other
sugars. If the label doesnt say "100% de agave,"
or "cien de cientos de agave," then the product is
a mixto tequila.
Must. The juices (agaumeil) and solids of the agave after the
grinding stage that will be fermented to produce alcohol.
Normas Official Mexicana de calidad, the Mexican government
standards. Every distillery gets a NOM identification number
to show they conform to the laws and standards governing tequila
production. The number identifies each distiller. Distillers
may make many competing products under the same NOM identifier.
All 100% agave tequilas must have a NOM identifier on the bottle.
The official norms, or standards. Frequently written in all-caps
wood: Used to identify time a tequila has spent in contact
Gold, used to describe tequila that gains its color either by
aging in oaks vats (100% agave), or through the addition of
caramel coloring and other additives (mixto).
o concha: Pearl or conch. A bubble that remains on the
surface of the tequila after serving it or stirring it. To see
if it is there, close the bottle tightly. Hold it upside down,
then turn it right side up: the bubbles should appear and continue
to float. If the perla does not appear, the liquor is most likely
Pineapple. The heart of the agave that contains the sugars used
for the production of tequila. It is also called cabeza (head)
and corazon (heart).
Silver, refers to white, or clear, unaged tequila.
A measurement of the amount of alcohol in liquor or spirits.
In Canada and the United States, proof is exactly twice the
percentage of alcohol.
Rested: tequila aged at least 2 to 12 months in oak barrels
The "resting" mellows and refines the tequila.
Mexican law enforcement age that oversees the tequila
The large stone wheel traditionally turned by donkeys
or oxen. It mashes the pulp of the agave into a coarse paste
and extracts the juice (aguamiel), which is diluted with water
to give it the necessary consistency for fermentation.
The last parts of the distillate to come through the still,
usually recycled into a subsequent distillation.
cortado: Cut tequila, generally a mixto.
de hornitos: Tequila made using the traditional oven
to bake the piñas, and distilled in copper stills (alambiques).
A master tequila maker or tequila producer.
Type. According to the Mexican regulations, there are four officially
recognized types of tequila: