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Tequila Blanco, Reposado, or Añejo: What's The Difference?

Updated: Oct 21, 2021

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Whether it’s in a margarita, on the rocks, or as a shot, tequila remains one of the most popular liquors throughout the United States. Volumes have grown an incredible 180% since 2002, according to the Distilled Spirits Council. While we love its bold flavor, many are unaware that several tequila types are available – all with distinct profiles. The experts at Tequila Sunrise Mexican Grill discuss everything you need to know about understanding the difference between tequila blanco, reposado, and añejo. You'll love tequila bars more than you do already!

What we know as tequila is a reasonably new concept; the origins begin with the ancient Aztecs as a drink called pulque, made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant. While pulque is still made today, the shift to distillation over fermentation did not occur until the 1500s with the introduction of mezcal and its distinct smokey flavor. The agave-based tequila we know today began its rise to popularity in the mid-1700s. As the spirit can only call itself tequila if it comes from one of five regions of Mexico, it is crucial to recognize each type’s differences to enjoy the spirit best.

Unlike other alcohol types, the differences in the aging process determine the kind of tequila. Blanco, which dominates the tequila market, is bottled shortly after the distillation process. Reposado can age no longer than a year, though it is often bottled a few months after distillation. Añejo must age for an entire year, but there are several that age for up to three years. Here, our experts give an in-depth look at understanding the more subtle differences between the three.

Also commonly known as silver, plata, or white tequila, blanco is the purest form of the alcohol, as it does not assume the flavors of the barrel. Due to its quick and copious production, it is often less expensive than the other types. Being affordable makes it a popular choice for both home and bar consumption. Though it can be consumed on the rocks or straight up, it is more commonly seen in cocktails such as Tequila Sunrise Mexican Grill’s perfect margaritas, palomas, and sunrises – or as a shot with lime and salt! Expert distillers often call blanco “the essence of tequila” as it has the most agave-forward taste. No tequila bar is complete without it.

Known for the mellow flavors reposado takes on during the aging process, this tequila directly translates to “rested.” Many enjoy reposado because of its delicate balance between blanco and añejo. The aging process enables it to develop a richer flavor without losing the full agave flavor. Barrel aging the reposado also gives it a gold color from the tannins in the wood. Less commonly, some distillers opt to use bourbon, Cognac, or wine barrels to develop the flavor further. Due to its more decadent flavor, many prefer to use fewer mixers, such as a splash of juice, or simply on the rocks.

With age comes distinction, and the distillers of añejo agree! This tequila takes anywhere between one and three years in the barrel, allowing it to further develop the unique flavors barrels have to offer. Known for its creamy vanilla and often floral notes, añejo also has a deep caramel color. Due to its mellow nature, many aficionados refer to añejo as a sipping tequila, though some use it as a whiskey substitute in several cocktails. A must-have at every tequila bar.

Whether you are a tequila connoisseur or are looking for the best happy hour in Fort Lauderdale, Tequila Sunrise Mexican Grill has something for everyone! With over 75 different tequilas for you to choose from, our friendly staff can’t wait to see you at our tequila bar!

For pick-up or delivery, call us today at (954)-938-4473!

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