By Amy Cassell
Originally appeared in October 2015 issue of Virtuoso Traveler
According to Mexican law, tequila isn’t tequila unless it’s produced in the state of Jalisco or limited areas nearby. Fields blanketed in spiny blue agave – from which the liquor is sourced – lead into the town of Tequila, where distilleries showcase the jimadors’ harvest. “Jalisco is one of Mexico’s most culture-rich states,” says Mexico City-based Virtuoso travel advisor Ana Rosete. “Distilleries are housed in beautiful, well-preserved colonial buildings. It’s definitely worth a visit.”
What Types Of Tequila Should You Be Looking For?
“Sipping tequila is about enjoying its history,” says Angel Estrada, a tequilier at Rosewood San Miguel de Allende’s 1826 Tequila Bar. “Put the tip of your tongue into the tequila to prepare your palate. Sip, savor for three seconds, then swallow and open your mouth to smell its flavors.” Here, Estrada’s take on the four types of tequila.
“The freshest, vanilla-like flavors – and the highest alcohol content – come from this clear tequila, which is typically bottled right after distillation.”
“This tequila rests inside an oak barrel for 3 to 11 months. The end result: a gold color along with a slight woodsy taste.”
“Aged for one to three years, this dark-brown tequila has more bitterness than its younger cousins and a rich, caramel flavor.”
“Tequila sits in barrels once used for bourbon and brandy, so the more it ages (up to five years for extra añejo), the more complex its flavor profile.”
What Are Some Of The Best Tequila Bars In Mexico?
This hip mezcalería specializes in mezcal, a smokier, agave-sourced liquor, “but you can have good tequila here too,” says Rosete. (Avenida Álvaro Obregón 298, Mexico City)
Tequila & Ceviche Bar:
“After a blind tasting, guests at this bar learn which tequila best fits their personality and taste buds,” says John Oberacker, a Virtuoso advisor based in Long Beach, California. (Las Ventanas al Paraíso, Los Cabos)
The quaint cantina with a not-so-quaint selection of tequila is in the heart of Guadalajara’s city center. “It’s been open since 1921,” says Guadalajara-based advisor Mauricio Colin Zuñiga, “and is a very traditional spot.” (Pino Suárez 78, Guadalajara)