You have questions about tequila and we have the answers. Here’s every commonly googled question about the agave spirit with all the right answers. Never wonder anything about tequila again.
What Is Tequila Made From?
Tequila is made from the hearts (or piñas) of agave plants—those spiky, cacti-looking things you see dotting pictures of Mexican fields. But not just any agave will do. Tequila can only be made with one kind of agave: blue Weber agave. Even more specifically, it can only be made with blue Weber agave grown in a select few regions: Jalisco, Tamaulipas, Nayarit, Michoacán and Guanajuato.
How Is Tequila Made?
First, jimadores (agave farmers) harvest agave plants when they are ripe (it can take up to 12 years for an agave plant to ripen). They remove the outer leaves, then roast or steam the hearts for 12-48 hours. Producers then crush the hearts with either a tahona (a giant stone wheel) or a machine to extract the juice, which is left to ferment in a vat with yeast and water. Distillers run the fermented liquid through a pot still once or twice, then typically (but not always) dilute it with water. From there, producers either bottle it right away or leave it to age in oak barrels.
What Are the Different Types of Tequila?
There are four basic types of tequila: blanco or silver (bottled directly after distillation or rested for up to two months in stainless steel or oak barrels), reposado (aged for at least two months and up to a year), añejo (aged at least one year and up to three years), and oro or gold (silver tequila either blended with aged tequila or flavored with caramel color, glycerin, oak extract or sugar syrup—in which case it would also be labeled as mixto). There is also extra añejo tequila, which is a newer classification. These tequilas are aged for a minimum of three years.
How Many Calories Are in a Shot of Tequila?
Since our bodies have a hard time digesting alcohol, it’s difficult to say exactly how many calories your body will absorb. But, generally, a 1.5 ounce shot of tequila has about 98 calories.
How Many Carbs Are in a Shot of Tequila?
Like every other type of pure, distilled alcohol, tequila has zero carbs. Your diet thanks you.
Does Tequila Have Health Benefits?
The short answer is: It depends on who you ask and who you trust. Over the years there have been many scientific and pseudoscientific studies that say tequila can do everything from increase bone strength to help you lose weight. But there is no definitive proof that tequila is good for you. Sorry, you’ll just have to keep drinking it because you like it.
Is Tequila Gluten Free?
Yes, tequila along with vodka, gin and pretty much every other pure distilled spirit is gluten-free. Not only does distillation strip a spirit of any gluten, but, since tequila is made with agave rather than wheat, there was never any gluten in there to begin with.
Is Tequila a Stimulant?
You’ve probably heard that tequila is the only “upper” spirit. But tequila is still alcohol and alcohol is a depressant. While anecdotal evidence (aka, your 28th birthday party) may suggest that the agave spirit is a stimulant, there have been no studies to support that theory.
What’s With the Tequila Worm?
First of all, it’s not a worm. It’s a larva called a gusano de maguey, which lives in the agave plant and eventually metamorphosizes into a moth. Secondly, it was never in tequila bottles; it was in mezcal bottles as a sort of marketing play. Some will tell you the worm contains hallucinogenic substances. Do not believe them. The larva is, however, delicious when dried and mixed with salt to create spicy sal de gusano, which is traditionally served with mezcal alongside orange slices.