The most important part of any margarita is the tequila. Without it, all you have is some kind of lime Slurpee that no one wants to drink. So if you crave a great tasting margarita, the question is: Which type of tequila should you use?
Silver Tequila (Blanco, Plata, White, Platinum)
This is the purest form of the blue agave spirit. Silver Tequila is clear and typically un-aged, where the true flavors and the intensity of the agave are present, as well as the natural sweetness. Because they are the most basic form, they are also the least expensive of tequilas, which makes them ideal for mixed drinks, such as margaritas.
Gold Tequila (Joven, Oro)
Gold tequila is often called Joven, which means “young” in Spanish, and is also known as gold tequila because of the golden or rich light brown color that the liquor has because of flavoring agents such as sugar, glycerin, oak tree extracts, and caramel coloring before being bottled. Gold tequila is typically a mix-to tequila and usually served best for mixed drinks such as margaritas since it is less expensive.
Reposado means “rested” in Spanish, and reposados rest anywhere from two months to a year before they are bottled. This is the key difference between reposado tequilas and blanco or silver tequilas. Reposados take on the golden hue from the barrels in which they are aged. They are typically aged in oak or white oak barrels, and the type of barrel changes the flavor of each distillery’s tequila. Reposado tequilas are often used in premium mixed drinks and are also popular for those taking shots of tequila.
Añejo means “old” in Spanish as these tequilas have been aged from one to three years. Compared to reposado, añejo tequilas are darker in color, more complex, richer, and smoother in flavor. Known as vintage tequila, the amber-colored spirit is typically considered the best type of tequila for sipping because of their smoother flavor.
This is a relatively new type of tequila, which got its official classification from the Mexican government in 2006. The extra añejo has the same exact distilling and aging process as añejo tequila except that it aged longer. This tequila is classified as one that is aged for more than three years. This type of tequila is the most expensive, not only because the flavor is improved with age, but also because distilleries will only allow their best spirits to age for so long. Extra añejo tequila should be enjoyed, not shot or mixed.
As you prepare for your next house party or for Margarita Monday at home, make sure to stop by your nearest Spec’s and ask our friendly tequila experts for suggestions.