If you’ve ever wondered how this amazing liqueur is made, you’ve definitely come to the right place!
True Tequila comes from blue agave, which is a typical succulent found in the Mexican regions. Production of tequila is divided into a few major steps: Harvesting, cooking, fermenting, distillation, ageing and bottling. All steps are regulated in the country ensuring that the tequila you drink is of superior quality!
Every distillery in Mexico has its own source of agave along with the techniques and quality control that affect each tequilas taste.
The tending and planting of the plant are still done manually, and this is how it has been done for centuries. This tradition has been passed down from generation to generation. These plants are grown neatly in numerous rows for about 6-10 years and are arduously tended to until they are ripe and are ready to be harvested.
The harvester removes the leaves from the agave plant with a sharp tool called Coa. He trims the leaves which are sometimes 200 plus that protects the heart of the agave until the whole heart is extracted from the ground. The piña or heart of the agave plant is what is used to make the tequila. The older agave will give rise to longer piña which will accumulate the starches that will convert into fermentable sugars.
Steam injections in brick ovens or stainless steel autoclaves are used to activate a process that converts the carbohydrates into fermentable sugar within the piña. This process also softens the piña and makes the process of sugar extraction easy.
After theses agave heads are cooked, they are transported to a milling area for extraction of sugar. This cooked piñas then crushed to release a distinctive juice which is then fermented. Once the piñas are crushed properly, they are washed with water and strained to remove the juice.
The fermentation process involves the transformation of sugars into alcohol within large wooden vats or stainless steel tanks. To accelerate and control this fermentation, yeast may be added to the mix. Usually, the yeast is grown naturally on the agave leave is used. This process of fermentation typically takes about 7-12 days depending on the kind of method used.
This step involves producing distilled tequila through which ferments are separated by heat and steam pressure in stainless steel pots and towers. Some tequila types are distilled three times and some only twice. The second step of distillation known as “rectification” takes 3-4 hours and will yield a liquid with an alcohol level of almost 55%. The second distillation tequila is called silver, or “blanco” tequila.
Mostly all containers used to age tequila are French or American white oak barrels which were previously used to age bourbon. The longer the tequila is aged, the more colour and tanning the final product will have. The tequila aged between 2-12 months are known as Reposados, Anejos are usually aged between 1-3 years and Extra Anejos age for over three years.
Did you know that champagne, tequila is assigned an Appellation of Origin status? This limits its production to a few states. Namely Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. Other states only have permits to grow Blue Agave is defined and small regions. All agave tequilas are required to be bottles in the designated Mexican regions and have to bear their labels “Hecho en Mexico / Made in Mexico”.
For tequila to receive its unique flavour, it must go through a plethora of factors including both environmental and human.
So now that you have this process learnt to the T, it’s time to enjoy your G&T’s like never before! To find out more about different alcohol varieties, head to the shop section on our website. You will not be disappointed with the options you have to choose from! Download the Liqroo app for faster checkouts, better access and instant deliveries in London.