Tequila is a liquor linked to health benefits, but it’s easy to stray from your healthy intentions. Some tequila brands contain high sugar levels, which can wreak havoc on your diet. By law, tequila must have at least 51% agave (blue Weber agave), but some manufacturers use other forms of sugar to keep costs down. These are known as mixto tequilas.
The agave plant (Agave) is known for producing the alcoholic spirits of tequila and mescal, as well as for agave nectar and pulque. The plant is native to arid and semi-arid regions of Mexico and has some 200 species. Agaves are necessary for ethnobotanical uses, and they are used as ornamental for desert landscaping. They are also important as food crops, and the leaves are a source of fiber used for making ropes, brushes, sandals, nets, sleeping mats, and other textiles. Many species produce sweet sap that can be fermented to make alcoholic beverages or cooked and consumed as a syrupy sweetener. Aside from being an essential ingredient for tequila, agave has a low glycemic index and is considered a better alternative to refined sugar. However, too much agave isn’t a good thing, and it should be enjoyed in moderation just as you would any other sweetener.
Tequila has a bad reputation as a hangover-inducing drink. Still, the spirit’s recent renaissance as a mood-booster and low-calorie option is slowly chipping away at its old image. Not all tequilas are created equal, and many brands you see in bars and liquor stores may be relying on additives or high-fructose corn syrup to maintain profitability and shelf space. Choosing a quality tequila brand starts with finding a distiller that fits your needs and budget. It’s essential to have a good rapport with your distiller, and it’s helpful to understand how each process impacts the quality of your final product. You’ll also want to find a tequilero willing to teach you the ins and outs of tequila production.
In addition to your distiller, you’ll also need to select a bottle. There are numerous shapes, sizes, and colors of bottles on the market, so it’s essential to find one that suits your brand and appeals to your consumers. Then, you’ll need to design an aesthetically pleasing and informative label. The label should include the NOM number, which stands for Norma Oficial Mexicana, followed by a four-digit identifier that gives detailed information about the facility where the tequila was made. It should also note the ABV (alcohol by volume) percentage, the brand name and logo, warning statements required by law, and the tequila’s country of origin.
Tequila’s color is determined by how long it is aged. A clear tequila will be light in color, while reposado and anejo tequilas will be more of a caramel or amber shade. Tequila’s color and flavor may vary according to the type of wood used for aging. Some distillers use new oak barrels, while others may buy old whiskey barrels previously used to age Scotch or bourbon. The time of year and the weather can also affect the tequila’s color. Warmer temperatures speed up fermentation, while cold weather can slow it down. The temperature can affect how fast the yeast converts into ethyl alcohol. The longer the tequila is aged, the darker it will be. Many distillers will rack their anejo tequila in new oak barrels to give it a deeper mahogany color. At the same time, some will let their tequila mature for years before bottling it as extra anejo. Retailers must carry a wide selection of tequila brands, as this is the leading spirit category among the youngest. Retailers should look for tequilas that have been confidently distilled and aged without additives, a philosophy that PATRON embodies.
Tequila may gain popularity around Cinco de Mayo, but you can drink it all year long. And as long as you avoid mixers, tequila can be a healthy option to enjoy with friends. Tequila has fewer calories and carbohydrates than wine, beer, and spiked seltzers, and it’s gluten-free. In addition, tequila is typically low in the chemicals (known as congeners) that can cause hangovers, compared with other spirits made from grains. However, drinking excessive amounts of tequila can cause a temporary rise in blood pressure (measured by systolic and diastolic blood pressure) and may also increase cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Small tequila brands can only sometimes compete with large distribution companies, which can offer incentives such as sales bonuses to get their product into bars and restaurants. The fierce competition is even harder to tackle when agave prices are high, as they are currently. People recommend looking for tequila labeled “organic” or “natural.” The organic designation means it’s free of added sugar, while the natural title indicates no synthetic additives such as citric acid, maltodextrin, or high fructose corn syrup.