The name "Tequila" comes from the colonial town of Tequila in Mexico. In the late 1700s, the town of Tequila was a remote village and its mezcal, or "vino tequila," was little known outside the immediate area. There was no continuity of distilling and no recognizable tequila industry.
In 1873 Don Cenobio Sauza founded Sauza Distillery. Sauza distillery claims that they were the first to call the spirit produced from blue agave plant "tequila" and the first to export the drink to the United States. Today tequila is the fastest growing spirit in America.
His son, Don Eladio was born in Tequila in 1883. When he was old enough to continue the family tradition, he expanded the family business by opening branches in Monterrey and Mexico City and a concession in Spain.
In 1931, his don, Don Francisco Javier Sauza took over the business to keep the family legacy by broadening distribution and its reputation as one of the highest-quality tequilas in the world.
By the 1970s, demand for tequila was increasing worldwide. Sauza distillery formed a partnership with the leading Mexican brandy producer, Pedro Domecq. This relationship eventually led to Pedro Domecq's complete purchase of Sauza distillery in 1988. When Allied Lyos acquired Pedro Domecq in 1994, Allied Domecq was formed and Sauza Tequila join the British empire that now owns world's leading spirit brands including Kahlua, Maker's Mark bourbon, Courvoisier, Tia Maria liqueur, Beefeater gin and others.
All tequila must be produced in Mexico. Every tequila brand should carry a NOM (Normal Official Mexicana) number that is assigned by the Mexican government to identify which company made or bottled the product. This assures you that a brand of tequila has come from the same quality ingredients and process as the rest of the line. For instance, Sauza carries NOM-1102 on its label.
By law, all tequila must be made from 100 percent natural ingredients.
The best tequilas are produced from 100% blue agave rested or aged in oak barrels. They are bottled only in Mexico within designated regions.
Mixto tequilas must be made from a minimum of 51% blue agave with the rest from other sugar sources. Mixto tequilas are softer in taste and may be bottled in other parts of the world outside Mexico.
Sauza Distillery makes seven distinctive tequilas; Sauza Blanco (silver), Sauza Extra Gold, Sauza Commemorativo (mixto, aged in oak barrels for 18 months), Sauza Hornitos (Reposado 100% blue agave), Sauza Tres Generaciones Plata (100% blue agave, unaged), Sauza Tres Generaciones Anejo (100% blue agave, aged 3 years in oak barrels).
Blanco: $13.99 - 16.99
Bright silver color
Aroma: sharp with hints of clean black peppercorn and fresh agave
Blanco or silver tequilas are clear in color and are unaged. It usually has fresh fruity flavor and is closest to the taste of agave itself.
Extra Gold: $13.99 - 16.99
Unaged, not a 100% blue agave tequila (mixto)
Aroma: golden cane sugar with hints of fruit and sweet agave
Gold tequilas are also unaged with added cane sugar or caramel for coloring. It is slightly sweeter than Blanco (silver) tequilas. Since the 1930s, gold tequilas have become popular in the United States.
Hornitos (Reposado): $23.99 - 26.99
100% blue agave reposado, pale antique gold in color
Aroma: distinctively mild yet with the complexity of 100 percent agave
Reposado means rested. Reposado tequilas are usually expensive than gold or silver tequilas. Reposado tequilas must be aged at least two months in wood barrels. Many are aged in used bourbon barrels. Reposado Tequilas are the best selling tequilas in Mexico according to the Tequila Regulatory Council.
Generaciones Anejo: $38.99 - 42.99
100% estate grown blue agave, aged 3 years in oak barrels, pale antique gold in color
Aroma: dry floral and moderately earthy agave, sweet in the mouth with smooth complexity.
Taste: a soft blend of pepper and oak, with a slight hint of butterscotch
Anejo tequilas are considered the best quality tequila category. They are aged for at least one year in oak barrels. Aging process gives the drink golden amber colour with a soft, smooth and complex flavor.
Tequila buying guide