In the State of Jalisco, northwest of Mexico City, the Mexican essence is revealed through the most famous liquor the Aztec country has given the world: tequila. Along with gin, vodka, rum and whisky, tequila has conquered the hearts of millions of people around the world. The renowned Mexican spirit derives from the distillation of the juice extracted from a cactus called blue agave, and it has designation of origin. Although it is produced in other Mexican States, it is in Jalisco where it picks up its enormous popularity.
To be called tequila it must have at least 51 percent agave, though the most pure and select have 100 percent. According to its distillation and subsequent adjustments, tequila is classified into five distinct groups:
Blanco: it is the direct result of distillation; transparent, very sound and considered the purest.
Oro: Tequila to which caramel has been added to develop its golden hue.
Reposado: Matured for at least two months in oak barrels. It is the most commonly consumed.
Añejo: It rests around one year in oak barrels, is darker than the “reposado” and has noticeable hints of wood.
Extra Añejo: It matures for three years in barrels. It is the mildest and most aromatic of all existing varieties.
Following is a list of five of the best tequilas produced in Jalisco to enjoy during your happiest, most joyful moments.
Gran Patrón Piedra Extra Añejo
The best agave from Los Altos de Jalisco is used in the production of this tequila. Later, it is cooked and crushed with a large wheel-shaped volcanic stone as it was done in the past. After distillation, it is aged for more than three years in French and American oak barrels. It has a beautiful deep mahogany color, with sweet and mild aromas of fruits and fresh mushrooms, a hint of citrus and toasted notes conferred by its time in the barrels. On the palate, it is sweet, rich and complex, combining a herbaceous taste with light vanilla.
Casamigos Blanco and Reposado
Two soul mates united by the love of good tequila, actor George Clooney and the entrepreneur and former model Rande Gerber, in partnership with Mike Meldman, founder of the Discovery Land Company, carried their passion for tequila to a higher level with the creation of Casamigos, a really brilliant effort to develop two of the best premium tequilas in the market. The brand has launched two versions: Casamigos Blanco, with touches of vanilla, and Casamigos Reposado, with the aroma of caramel. Both are made with the best hand-selected blue agave grown in the rich red clay soil of Los Altos de Jalisco. Casamigos Blanco rests for two months while the Reposado is aged seven months in American oak barrels, which have been carefully reconditioned after being used to contain the best premium whisky.
Jose Cuervo Tradicional
This premium tequila is still produced in the same way José Cuervo, creator and founder of the brand, did in 1795—after slow cooking, it rests in oak barrels for four months. This authentic tequila is made with one hundred percent agave, and every year there is a limited production of this variety. Every bottle is sealed and numbered individually, which makes it unique and unrepeatable. It has a pale yellow color, the aroma presents herbaceous scents with hints of green fruit, wood and a light touch of honey and flowers. Its taste confirms its sweet character and also a hint of oak. Its finish is long and warm.
This is one of Jalisco’s most distinguished products. Its production began in 1962 with 100 percent blue agave, following the traditional method and aged for 24 months in oak (twice the time required by Mexican law). The extra aging gives it a deep amber color, with intense aromas, spicy cooked agave, toasty oak from the barrel and touches of walnut. It has a complex taste: dry and fruity, and a smooth, creamy finish.
Tequila Don Julio Añejo
Aged in small batches in American white oak barrels for 18 months, Don Julio Añejo is a testament to superb craftsmanship in the creation of mature tequila with superior taste. It boasts a pale amber color; close to the nose, one perceives subtle citrus aromas of lime and tangerine, with a touch of caramel. In the mouth, it is robust and complex, with hints of cooked agave, spices, wild honey and caramel fused with the oak from the barrel. It is an intense, distinctive and complex tequila. ■