What Makes Blanco Tequila Unique?

The process of making tequila is a labor of love that begins years before fermentation, distillation, or aging can occur. Tequila, according to VinePair, is made from a plant called the Blue Weber Agave (scientific name Agave tequilana). The Blue Weber Agave is native to Mexico, specifically to the region of Jalisco and thereabouts. Serious Eats explains that the Blue Weber Agave is cultivated in huge orchards called potreros, where the succulent plants are tended and pruned to grow a large piña, the heart of the plant. This long maturation is important to increase the sugar content of the piña, which needs to reach about 24% before harvest.

It takes 8 to 10 years for each Blue Weber Agave plant to mature, and each plant only produces a single piña in its lifetime. These piñas are carefully hand-harvested, then taken to distilleries, where they're cooked, processed to separate the sweet agave juice from the solids, fermented, and then distilled. The best tequilas are the ones labeled "100% Blue Agave." Other tequilas, categorized as Tequila Mixto, have as little as 51% Blue Agave while the rest is made up of other sugars, according to Tequila.net.

So what makes blanco tequila special?

All of the 100% blue agave tequilas start out, before being double or triple distilled, at about 55% alcohol (via Serious Eats). Reposado, añejo, and extra añejo tequilas are moved into oak barrels for aging, before being diluted to 40% alcohol and bottled. Blanco tequila, also called silver, white, or plata tequila, is the purest expression of the agave spirit. It's diluted to 40% alcohol, or 80 proof, and either bottled immediately or transferred to stainless steel to rest for up to two months.

The result is a spirit that's bright, earthy, and bold. Thrillist describes blanco tequila as a bit hotter, showing more of the brash nature of tequila than the more mellow, oak-aged reposados and añejos. That heat isn't a flaw, however, because it lets the agave fruit shine through, without being obscured by the flavor of oak. And that agave fruit shows up as citrusy, peppery notes, along with fresh vegetal flavors, which make blanco tequilas the perfect choice for margaritas, as well as for palomas

The pure, clean distillation of the character of the Blue Weber Agave is what distinguishes blanco tequila and makes it a favorite for cocktails.