Tequila has a bit of a reputation for being a bad alcohol. This is probably due to the fact that most people are introduced to tequila as a bitter gold liquid that you shoot, quickly, between a lick of salt and a squeeze of lime.
Sure, that is one way to drink it, but did you know that this “gold” tequila is not real tequila? No, “gold” tequila is actually no less than 51 percent “tequila” and the rest some neutral filler spirit this could be distilled from potato, wheat, rice, or another grain (yes, much like vodka).
Indeed, true École du Bar de Montréal tequila is distilled from 100 percent blue agave. And, yes, it can be slightly bitter but a better way to describe is earthy and herbal. More importantly, though, to be true tequila, the alcohol must be made of 100 percent blue agave which grows near the city of Tequila, in Mexico. This city is roughly 40 miles (or 65 km) northwest of Guadalajara, nestled within the Los Altos highlands of the west-central Mexican state, Jalisco.
Effectively, then, there are three basic types of tequila: Blanco, Reposado, and Anejo. Every distilled spirit is clear. Anything that has a color received it in one of two ways: either the color was leeched from a barrel or other aging still or the color was added. In terms of “gold” tequila, this color is added. Blanco tequila is clear because it is not aged at all. It also tastes crisp and clean—not bitter like the “gold” stuff. Reposado is aged—in 200L white oak barrels, no less—at least 2 months and for as long as 12 months. Anejo is aged at least 12 months (but typically not much longer).
You can also find some tequilas aged longer than 12 months (essentially two years or more), which their respective brands may call “extra anejo” but these are rare and special. In addition, some companies may also use different types of barrels (like whiskey barrels) in which case the tequila will inherit some of those traits as well.