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Ask The Tequila Guy
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Does tequila go bad?
Rohit, New Delhi, India

In short, the only bad tequila you get is tequila that was bottled that way. Good tequila doesn’t turn bad because alcohol does not spoil. However, once a bottle is opened, the tequila begins to oxidize changing the characteristics of the tequila. Open bottles have an approximate shelf life of 3 to 6 months. The changes will not be noticeable for tequila used in mixing or cooking. However, you should consider this timeframe to maximize your enjoyment of the flavor and aroma from a sipping tequila. This isn’t advice to drink it quickly, just an FYI for you.


How many tequilas are there?
Jeff, Louisville, KY

Although I can’t give you an exact number, the good news is there are hundreds of tequilas available from which to choose. Just to give you an idea of the numbers, The Tequila Guy has cataloged more than 400 100% agave tequilas. There are also hundreds of mixto tequilas available as well. Then you have to remember to add all the “home brew” and special select vintages produced at the distilleries as well. And like wine, yearly production produces variations in the tequila that are unique and distinct. You can see how your choices continue to grow and grow. Good news, once you find the type of tequila or the distillery you like, you’ll have options for a lifetime.


Is a good tequila really worth the money over something like Jose Quervo?
Jon, Arlington, VA

First of all, you can’t just write off Jose Cuervo as an inexpensive or unworthy tequila. To many people, Jose Cuervo IS tequila. Cuervo offers a wide range of tequilas and a quality tequila product like Reserva de la Familia will cause you to break open your wallet and be glad you did. So I’m going to interpret your question as, “Is it worth it to go beyond the house brand of tequila.” In one word – YES! If you can tell the difference between a Best Western and the Ritz Carlton, then you should understand what I’m getting at. All tequilas, just like all hotels, are made with the same (or very similar) ingredients. It is how the producer selects, combines, and delivers those ingredients that make a difference in your experience. If you want slushy margaritas where you taste the mix more than the tequila, the difference is minimal. However, when sipping straight or drinking other cocktails, you will notice a wonderful positive difference by using an ultra-premium tequila. I hope this encourages you to try more 100% agave tequilas to find the one that you absolutely love.


What's the difference between tequila and mezcal?
Leon, Washington, DC

There are quite a few differences between tequila and mezcal (also known as mescal). The largest difference is the plant from which both are made. Mezcal can be made from a variety of agave plants while tequila is only made from one type, the blue variety of agave tequilana weber. In addition, mezcal can be made from a single distillation where tequila is usually at least double distilled. Both drinks originate in Mexico and are made there with pride.


Should I put good tequila in things like margaritas?
Jonathan, Rockville, MD

By all means! You should just always match the quality level of your alcohol with the cocktail ingredients you use. If using an ultra-premium tequila, use the best and freshest ingredients for making a mixed drink. When you can’t find mixers that match the quality of your alcohol, consider sipping it to maximize the taste and enjoyment.


Are there regulations around the production of tequila like there is around bourbon?
Phil, Casper, WY

Yes. Tequila is regulated similar to bourbon, champagne and cognac. The Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) certifies and verifies that the product meets the standards to be called tequila. Tequila regulations include the origin of the agave plants that make the tequila, the location of the distillery, the process of aging, and the percent of alcohol contained in the tequila.

For more information on tequila regulation, you can visit the CRT site at http://www.crt.org.mx/eng/home.htm


My dad has an unopened bottle of tequila from Mexico circa 1956. When I was little, you could still see the worm at the bottom, but now there's nothing. Is it still safe to drink?
Jodi, Staten Island, NY

Yes, it should still be good. The tequila was safe when the worm was intact at bottling, so it’s still safe now. While the alcohol preserves things, 50 years is a long time for the worm to remain in its original state. The disintegration of the worm could affect the taste of the tequila some, so don’t expect it to be perfect. Let me know what you think of it when you have some. Even though tequila doesn’t typically have a worm, there are rumors that worms were added in the 50’s for marketing purposes.


What are the differences in tequilas?
Alan, Melbourne, Australia

Where to start? With wines, the differences are mainly with the grape used to make the wine. Since all tequilas are from blue agave, the main differences between types of tequilas are the aging. There are now four type of tequilas based in aging; Blanco, also know as plata or silver, Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo. Blancos are tequilas that are aged less than 60 days after distillation and before bottling. Blancos usually have a more agave and botanical taste. Reposados are aged between 2 and 12 months. This aging usually imparts additional complexity to the agave taste of the tequila. Añejo tequilas are aged for 1 to 3 years and Extra Añejos are aged more than 3 years. These types are best known for their smoothness and similarity to cognacs. They make for excellent sipping tequilas.


Isn't tequila the only alcohol that is a stimulant?
David, Potomac, MD

There are no clinical studies existing that support tequila as a stimulant. While tequila is made from a different plant than other alcohols, it is still an alcohol, and the source of the sugars become less important than the resulting product of the alcohol itself. Tequila, like all alcohols, acts as a drug affecting the central nervous system by suppressing nerve function. At very low doses, and for certain people, it can appear as a stimulant since it suppresses certain inhibitions. However, tequila is a depressant like all other alcohols.


How did you become The Tequila Guy?
Stewart, Mobile, AL

I think I've always been a tequila guy; it just took me awhile to uncover it. Yes, in my early twenties I had the obligatory bad tequila experience. It derailed my quest for a time, but in the 90's with everyone jumping on the vodka craze, I knew I needed something different. I started drinking Herradura and Don Julio and began exploring as many different varieties of tequila I could find-specifically reposado. As some point, my friends just started referring to me as The Tequila Guy and it stuck. Fifteen years later, my collection is in the dozens and growing fast.


Where's a good place to find good tequila?
Steve, San Jose, CA

There are hundreds of restaurants throughout the US and beyond that offer a comprehensive tequila selection. Check out the restaurant section of the website for reviews and descriptions.


I read recently that Sammy Hagar sold his Cabo Wabo brand to a large distributor. What does this mean for the growth of that brand? Will we see more varieties or just wider availability?
Jerry, Norfolk, VA

Let's look at the tequila crystal ball to get your answer. A controlling interest of Cabo Wabo was sold to Skyy Spirits. They also distribute 1800 and Gran Centenario tequilas. Since the Cabo name and reputation is good, the tequila crystal ball is telling me Skyy will increase the availablity of Cabo through its previously established channels. Not sure how the 1800 and Gran Centenario relationships are, Skyy could shed one, or both, of them now that they have Cabo. They could also go on a buying binge picking up other premium tequilas that have growing sales. Time will tell.


Do you have any hints on barrel aging tequilas at home?
Brian, Fairfax, VA

Sounds like fun!! Since I've never done this before, I don't think I can help you with any hints. This is an area of tequila-making that intrigues me, so please post your question and your experiences on Tequila Chat so we all can see how your experiment turns out.


What makes some tequilas so expensive?
Adeline, Willimantic, CT

It's the same as anything else - Quality and Quantity. If the producer takes time to add quality at each step of the tequila-making process - planting, harvesting, distillation, aging and bottling; a truly great bottle of tequila can be produced. With this focus on quality, there is usually a corresponding sacrifice on the quantity of tequila that can be produced at this high level. Add some unique, one-of-a-kind, artisanal bottles and you have more than a tequila, you have a collectible item where prices can range from a few hundred dollars to the well over $10,000.


What do you think of Tequila Mañana?
Ellen, Florida,

Until you asked, I hadn't heard of this tequila. I've found some information on it and now it's in the database. If you taste it, please rate it and spread the news so we all know if it's good or not.


I've heard adding an ounce or two of distilled water in a glass before pouring tequila in it adds to the flavor and taste ? Have you ever heard of this?
Brian, Fairfax, VA

What I was told is the official way to drink scotch neat is with a little water added to open up the flavor. I've done this with some tequilas as well. Instead of adding flavor, it reduces the concentration of flavors so you can actually taste all the flavors of tequila. An ounce sounds like an awful lot to add to a 1 1/2 ounce pour of liquor. I would start with a few drops and experiment until you find the right balance.


Have you heard of any sweet tequilas?
Robert, Location Unknown,

While I'm a huge fan of 100% blue agave tequila, there is a tequila liqueur called Agavero made from tequila and damiana. I've had damiana straight and it's liquid honey! Both tequila and damiana are from Mexico and when you mix them, they make a wonderfully sweet, rich, complex and delightful drink. The sweetness of the damiana is balanced well with the agave and citrus tastes in the tequila. There are tequilas that have more sweetness than others, but if you really like sweet, try Agavero. You WILL enjoy it.


I'm trying to find a tequila for a friend of mine. I don't know what it's called, but he says that the bottle has a little wooden mask hanging from it. Think you can help?
Rigo, Location Unknown,

Thanks for asking. I've looked through my database and numerous other sources to find this tequila and have come up empty. I've seen bottles that are horses, cacti, pistols, rifles, cannons, guitars, tikis, agave plants and masks themselves, but NO masks packaged with the bottle. Just goes to show you the rarity of some of these tequilas - once they're gone, they're gone and you can't find them anywhere. Good luck on your search.


In your experience is tequila more enjoyable as an after dinner drink like scotch or port?
Bob, Kansas City, MO

Tequila is more versatile than most people think. While margaritas are the most popular drink using tequila, the availablity of ultra-premium 100% agave tequilas provides many more options for enjoyment. Having tequila served neat as an after dinner drink is an excellent way to enjoy your tequila. I would suggest an Añejo or Extra Añejo for sipping because their flavors tend to be more complex. However, I have been on a Blanco kick lately and they can also be quite enjoyable.


I have two 990ml bottles one light the other dark of Mezcal Regional de Oaxaca con Gusano 76 proof Tequila appx 30 years old straight from Mexico. Never opened origional paper seals intact with the worm, what is the appx value of this? Is this something a collector may be interested in?
Ken, Location Unknown,

Sounds vintage. Looks like you've got a couple of bottles of Mezcal. It's a Mexican liquor also made from agave, but a little different than tequila. Since one is darker than the other, the darker bottle may be aged (look for reposado or anejo on the bottle- that will tell you it is aged). Mezcal can sell for anywhere from $15 to over $200 depending on the quality. I tried to find comparable items and failed. If you have an ebay account, I would suggest putting it up on ebay. Collectors are always looking through there for one of a kind or no longer available bottles. If that isn't of interest to you, you may be able to contact one of the online stores on ebay that sell similar items. They may be able to give you a more complete answer.


Please help! In a recent discussion about drinks we really liked, some friends of mine talked of a tequila named Tarasco that they were served in a very small, family owned Mexican eatery. I have been searching and searching for this. Can you help me?
Jennifer, San Francisco, CA

I think you've found one of the many family or local brands of tequila within Mexico. There are many brands of tequilas made in Mexico that never make it to the US. Some say, the best tequila never leaves the borders of Mexico. Best bet is get the name of the restaurant and ask the owners VERY NICELY about the wonderful tequila and where you can get it. If they are feeling friendly, they may send you a bottle. Whatever you do, don't give up. With so many new brands of tequila hitting the US market, there's a chance it could make it here eventually.


Dear TTG, You're my last hope. I was in California last summer and was talked into an excursion to Tijuana by my husband. Needless to say, our adventure included drinking tequila at a little joint on the side of the road. It was Peach tequila and marvelous. We took some home and after finishing that bottle (and throwing it away) I can't find it ANYWHERE!! Of source I didn't bother paying attention to the name because I assumed it was available everywhere. Any idea where I can get more??
Kristi, Las Vegas, NV

I've regretted throwing away bottles before and now my wife is about to kill me because we're running out of space for my tequila graveyard. There are two peach tequilas that I am aware of: one is Tequipal Duranzo and the other is Don Pancho Duranzo. I believe Tequipal Duranzo is available at El Agave restaurant in San Diego. I'm not aware of an online store that carries these. If you're looking to get another bottle, try Rene Vera Armenta at Mercamext.com. They claim to have some peach tequila available. Good luck and enjoy responsibly.


Our office staff are big on a beer and a shot and have recently been drinking Patron. One of our girls met a liquor distributor and was assured that Partida brand tequila was definitely the best. Could you please rate both Patron and Partida tequila for us?
Debbie & Crew, Palm Beach, FL

Really? The best tequila ever??? That would make my job so easy! You can actually go to the site and click tequilas, then click on the Tastocracy Ratings heading it will list all the ratings for all the tequilas on the site. Currently, it lists both Patron and Partida Añejo with 4 out of 5 stars. That is a very good rating for both. There are a number of tequilas that have 5 stars as well. So is Partida the best? Tough to say. Is it just as good as Patron? According to the site it is. It really comes down to your own taste buds. Since this sounds like a routine affair, you may want to experiment with Partida, Patron, and others you see listed on the site that are available to you. But please not all in one night. You all may not agree, but I imagine you'll have a great time trying them!! Remember to enjoy responsibly and rate them on the site when your done!!


Can you tell us about Mama Lucia's distilled and bottled in Puerto Vallarta. I tasted some and am in love with it. But I can not find where I might be able to purchase anymore. I had the business card, but have lost it. Can you help?
Kimberly, Laramie, WY

I've tried and tried and have come up with nothing. I've seen lots of information on the internet about the distillery and the tours and tastings. However, I've checked my liquor distributor contacts and even the CRT (the tequila regulators) website for distilleries and am unable to find it. This could be a Mexico only brand and not available in the US. At this point, it may be time to just book the cruise again and stock up as much as you can on your trip!!!


I almost bought a bottle of Chinaco Verde the other day thinking it was a blanco. Can you tell me what the verde version is? Thanks.
Jack, Saginaw, MI

There really isn't a difference. It's the bulk packaging for the regular Chinaco Blanco that was made for the bars and now being sold in stores as well.

 






Always Drink Responsibly