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Types of Tequila
March 10th, 2010
There are main three types of tequila: blanco, reposado and anejo, each with its own unique and distinctive flavor and quality.
Blanco, meaning white or silver, is often referred to as the grandfather of all tequilas. Tequila blanco derives its name from its crystal clear color. It is bottled directly from the distillation process and does not undergo any aging. Tequila blanco is a distinctively strong spirit that usually has heavy overtones of smoke from the cooking of the agave hearts in clay pots. This is the tequila that is usually used in margaritas or other blended drinks.
Reposado, meaning rested, is unmistakably flavorful because it enjoys a process of aging in oak barrels, but only for a period of two months. Reposado tequilas are intense spirits with subtle hints of exotic fruits, agave and slight wood aromas. This tequila is recommended straight or with salt and lemon or lime.
Anejo, meaning aged, is truly the finest of the three varieties of tequila. Anejo tequila is taken after the distillation process and rested in small quantities in white oak barrels for a period of at least one year. When the aging process is complete, the tequila is filtered and its alcohol content is brought up to 38 or 40% before bottling.
Just to complicate things further, there are two further distinctions that need to be explained. Tequila can either be labeled as “blended” or as “100% agave”. In blended tequila, a minimum of 51% of the fermentable sugar is derived from agave, with the balance made up by a variety of other sugars, such as molasses. Blended tequila can be blanco (silver) or oro (gold). The gold has certain characteristics of wood aging but these are generally derived from adding colorings and flavorings, such as caramel, and not through authentic aging.
The 100% agave tequila is that in which fermentable sugars are derived entirely from the agave tequilana weber azul or blue agave plant. Tequila 100% agave can be found in all three types: blanco, reposado and anejo and is truly the finest quality available.
How Tequila is Made
February 9th, 2010
Tequila is made from distilled sap from the hearts or “pinas” of the agave or maguey plant. Once harvested, the heart is cut into four or five pieces and then baked or steamed in a huge above-ground oven or autoclave for hours to obtain softness and sweetness.
The cooked agave is transported to the mill (similar to sugar cane mills) where the juice is extracted several times from the agave fibers. The agave juice is then pumped from the mill into special fermentation tanks where yeast is added to react with the juice to produce an alcoholic mixture.
The final product of fermentation then goes to distilling tanks to separate water from the tequila. Tequila is double distilled and a few brands even boast triple distillation. Distilling has a dual purpose: separate water from the alcohol, and separate any toxic substances and impurities from the final product. After this process, tequila is treated in different ways to obtain several varieties.
Tequila – Made in Mexico – Naturally!
January 19th, 2010
Tequila has been part of Mexican tradition dating back to the ancestral cultures. When natives discovered the blue agave plant and experienced its sweet and palatable flavor, they believed that this was a gift from their gods. Prehispanic towns learned to burn it and extract its juice, which was then fermented. The privilege to drink it was only given to high priests and monarchs to enjoy. Upon the arrival of the Spaniards, this precious liquid was distilled, giving us the tequila we enjoy today.
Tequila became the only Mexican product with the distinction of “Denomination of Origin” (D.O.) and can only be named “tequila” if produced in the central part of Mexico, mostly in the state of Jalisco. It must also be made from the “agave tequilana weber azul” or blue agave plant, one of 136 species of agave in Mexico. This plant has long narrow sword-looking leaves and bluish in color. It is one of the most exotic plants in nature and one of the fewest composed of “inuline”, a fructose polymer, which is a naturally sweet ingredient.
It usually takes from six to eight years for agave plants to be prime for harvest. Agave plants grown in the Los Altos region of the state of Jalisco are considered better that the ones of other regions because of higher fructose content. Agave are very similar to pineapple plants but stand from five to eight feet high and are seven to twelve feet in diameter. Often believed to be a member of the cactus family, they are actually a succulent and are related to the lily and the amaryllis.
August 17th, 2009
Hot food is usually served in small quantities with foods that cool the palate. If you’re new to hot foods and hot sauces, start slowly. Always start with a small amount and add more to taste as desired. Your tolerance for heat will increase the more often you indulge in fiery foods!
Because capsaicin, the chemical that created the heat in chiles and peppers, is an oil based substance, the worst thing you can do is to drink water or beer when your mouth is on fire. They just spread the pain even more! Instead, try some bread, rice, beans, yogurt, sour cream, milk or cheese as they will help absorb the oil and take away the burn.
Bite Your Tongue When Sharing These Hot Sauce Tips!
July 13th, 2009
Serious hot sauce lovers and collectors already use “liquid fire” in all kinds of ways. Outlined below are some suggestions that people may not have thought of or for those more timid, to convert and inspire them to “eat the heat”:
• Try mixing a small amount of hot sauce with softened cream cheese as a spread for bagels or as a dip for vegetables or crackers.
• Mix equal parts of olive oil and your favorite hot sauce and marinate skinless chicken breasts or fish fillets before grilling or broiling.
• Mix equal parts of soy sauce, dry sherry and hot sauce (or to taste), add a small amount of corn starch and mix in at the end of cooking your favorite stir-fry dish. If you’re using meat in your stir-fry, marinate the meat in the sauce mixture beforehand.
• Add a few drops of hot sauce to mayonnaise or salad dressing to add some extra flavor.
• Add a few drops of hot sauce to your favorite salsa, gravy, soup or stew for a little extra “kick”.
• For a different flavor in your next Bloody Mary, Caesar or glass of vegetable juice, try adding a few drops of your favorite hot sauce to “kick” up the taste.
• Use hot sauce on pizza and pasta dishes instead of red pepper flakes.
• Try cooking ham, pork roasts or smoked sausage in any tropical fruit nectar (pineapple, etc.) with a few shakes of hot sauce.
• Try a Caribbean style hot sauce on cottage cheese or your favorite salad as a low calorie, low fat dressing.
• Try mixing your favorite hot sauce with ketchup for a quick and delicious barbecue sauce.
• Tired of airplane food when travelling? Try carrying your own hot sauce to jazz up whatever they serve you.
• Try replacing the salt in your diet with hot sauce. Sprinkle it on burgers, vegetables, eggs, rice, salads, sandwiches or on any food that you’ve grilled. The sauce adds great flavor and is much better for you.