Thanks to the margarita, tequila is one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in the country. But what many people don’t know is that there are three major types of tequila: Tequila Blanco, Tequila Reposado, and Tequila Ańejo, each with its own unique characteristics.
Each of the three types of tequila is distilled from the juice of the Blue Weber Agave plant. The distinction lies in how each is handled after the distillation process is completed. Tequila Blanco is not aged before being bottled, while Tequila Reposado and Tequila Ańejo are aged in oak barrels. Some producers opt to age Tequila Reposado and Tequila Ańejo in barrels that have previously stored other spirits such as bourbon, cognac, or wine, which adds distinctive elements to the agave notes.
Tequila Ańejo is aged for at least a full year which lends distinctive flavors and creates a distinct dark amber color to the tequila. Barrels previously used to store bourbon add rich, smoky vanilla notes to the spirit while storing tequila in French oak barrels produces a sweeter, fruity tequila with prominent vanilla and caramel notes. Coffee and honey notes are also frequently present with Tequila Ańejo.
Tequila Extra Ańejo was designated as a separate category by Mexico’s Consejo Regulador del Tequila in 2006. Tequila Extra Ańejo has been aged for at least three years, a process that lends a darker amber color to the tequila and also creates taste notes of peat. Tequila Extra Ańejo needs to be cut with water, which lends an even smoother flavor in addition to tempering the proof. Cognac lovers will likely enjoy drinking Tequila Extra Ańejo with its rich, full flavor.
Both Tequila Ańejo and Tequila Extra Ańejo are sipping spirits. They can be paired with food but are better suited to being enjoyed on their own. We often have guests come in and say they haven’t found a tequila they enjoy but really want to try. We always ask, “Are you a bourbon or whiskey drinker?” If the answer is “yes”, Añejo tequila, especially an Extra Añejo, is going to pull you right into the tequila world.
After being aged in used oak barrels the tequila starts to reflect characteristics and flavors of whatever was aged in the barrel before. One of the fun facts is that tequila can be aged in any used oak barrel. So, you can find some very different and unique Añjeo tequilas, most from whiskey and bourbon. But some producers are starting to age their tequila in sherry, cognac, and even wine barrels. Like we said before Añejo is a sipping tequila, but if you want to try it in a cocktail, try it in a Manhattan or an Old Fashion.
Joe’s Tequila Bar at the Inn on the Alameda offers a wide variety of tequilas aimed to satisfy the most discriminating drinkers and accommodate both traditional and more adventurous palates. Tequila isn’t the only drink on the menu. Beer, wine, and other spirits are also on offer. Joe’s Tequila Bar also featured tasty Southwestern-influenced appetizers and entrees. Come, relax, and enjoy a drink or a meal!