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Not Just for Body Shots - Tequila Wants Your Respect

By Kyle Thacker in Food on Jul 12, 2012 7:20PM

2012_7_12_Casa_Sauza.jpg Spirits of Mexico and Casa Sauza recently hosted a panel discussion on tequila at Zocolo Tequila Lounge. The panel included distillers from small batch distilleries in Mexico, representatives from Casa Sauza (producer of the well-known Sauza tequila line), writers and prominent tequila connoisseurs.

The purpose of the discussion was to promote tequila as a drink to be enjoyed in the same line as wine, scotch, or rum. Panelists discussed the growth of tequila in the United States, and some of the innovative techniques that are being used to expand what tequila can do, whether it’s aging anejo’s in unused oak barrels or creating cleaner, more genuine products that honor the agave plant the spirit comes from.

This connection to the agave plant was one of the topics that stirred the most passion in the panel guests. In addition, many of the guests stressed the wonders of blanco, or silver tequila. The un-aged spirits keeps it’s clear appearance by never touching any oak, or being involved in the aging process. We thought most silver tequila was produced for body shots on spring break. But, as the panel stressed, this isn’t the case. Blanco tequila is the closest connection a tequila drinker can have with the agave plant. As it’s un-aged, the flavor profile isn’t influenced by wood, there won’t be the flavors of vanilla or oak, spice or coconut that can be imparted by wood aging.

In honor of our new view of unaged tequila, here are few silver tequila’s that should be enjoyed neat, as you would a nice scotch, and not taken as a shot or chased by a lime.

Tequila: Fortaleza Blanco
Distiller: Los Abuelos
Why try: Fortaleza is produced using older techniques like grinding the agave plants by stone. The extra care and labor adds the additional attention and commitment that must be present to create a good blanco tequila. Guillermo Sauza of the Sauza family heads this brand, and it’s safe to say tequila runs in the family bloodline. Plus, Illinois is one of only four states in the U.S. where you can buy Fortaleza at a restaurant or at a brick and mortar retail store.
Price: Around $40 per 750ml.

Tequila: Republic Tequila Blanco
Distiller: Tequila la Quenada
Why try: One of the few organic producers of tequila, this lowland tequila distiller has a created a rich and earthy blanco of %100 blue agave. This is a blanco that should truly be enjoyed neat.
Price: About $30 per 750ml

Tequila: 7 Leguas Tequila Blanco
Distiller: Tequila Siete Leguas
Why Try: 7 Leguas is highland tequila that comes from one of the oldest distilleries in Mexico. Highland tequila’s tend to have a lighter profile, with more flavor notes than it’s lowland cousins. Tequila Siete Leguas was the original producer of Patron Tequila, before selling the rights to St. Maarten Spirits in 1989.
Price: About $40 per 750ml