Tequila production dates back to the 16th century, when Aztec people fermented agave plants to make the drink. Later, Spanish people started using agave plants to produce the first native distilled spirit of North America.
Tequila production is localized primarily around city of Tequila, due to the presence of red volcanic soil that is well suited for growing blue agave. More than 300 million agave plants are harvested each year for the production of tequilas.
Today, there are hundreds of distilleries set up around the world, which produce over 900 brands of tequila. Here are the top five tequila brands you should definitely try.
Don Julio Anejo
Don Julio is claimed to be the world’s first luxury tequila produced by the Tequila Don Julio brand. It has been named after its co-founder Don Julio González-Frausto Estrada and was launched in 1987. The agave required for its production is grown on the highlands of Atotonilco. Each agave plant requires around 7 years to reach its maturity and is harvested by hand.
Patron tequila is a product of Patron Spirit Company. Originally produced by Tequila Siete Leguas, the brand rights were later sold to St. Maarten Spirits in 1989. As the demand increased, they had to move all the production to the newly built distillery in Mexico, where they used a traditional stone wheel to crush its agave. Each bottle of patron tequila is inspected and labeled by hand. Today, Patron tequila is the highest selling premium brand in the US.
Beckmann family owns the 1800 tequila brand, which bottled in Jalisco, Mexico. The name ‘1800’ is a reference to the year when tequila was aged for the first time in casks made of oak. The 1800 tequila bagged silver and bronze medals in San Francisco wine and spirit competition, and is one of the premium tequilas sold all over the world.
Rock musician Sammy Hagar founded the Cabo Wabo tequila and restaurant chain in the 1990’s. Hagar commissioned handmade tequila from his family distillery in Jalisco, which received great acceptance in the US, and today, it is the second best selling premium tequila in the country.
Unlike most tequila, this brand is manufactured in Guanajuato instead of Jalisco. It is reposado tequila, and gets four months of oak barrel treatment for a smoother and balanced taste. It has a mixture of citrus flavor, oak, and honey essence, and is priced quite lower than other brands.