Tequila is a spirit produced in the Tequila region of Mexico, made from the juice of the Agave plant, which is grown in the hot and dry land of Mexico. Agave spirit produced outside the region of Tequila is not permitted to be called "Tequila" in Mexico, although the name "Tequila" is not registered world wide and so there are Agave Spirits from a range of countries like South Africa and Cyprus made and labelled "Tequila".
Agave plants are slow growing. It takes years for the Agave to be ready for harvest. The 'Blue Agave' plant is considered to produce the highest quality juice for Agave spirit, and with superior preparation and distillation, it results in what Tequila drinkers consider the best tasting Tequila.
Top quality Tequilas use 100% Blue Agave as the source of their juice. It takes 8 - 10 years for Blue Agave plants to be ready for harvest. Blue Agave Tequilas are typically the higher priced Tequilas, which can be white or aged for differing durations in oak barrels, adding colour and oak flavour.
There are regional differences from highland to lowland, depending on where the Agave plants are grown. Highland Tequilas tend to be sweeter and a little floral in flavour. Lowland Tequilas tend to be more earthy in flavour. Both can be equally high quality. There is also the 'green' Agave plant, as distinct from the Blue Agave. The 'green' Agave grows faster and is more common. This Agave is used for volume grades of Tequila. Mixto Tequila can be produced for very economical grades of Tequila, where the Agave juice is combined with up to 49% sugar cane juice.
Other regions of Mexico produce Agave spirits, such as Sotol and Mezcal, each with regional flavour characteristics, tradition and the way they are served and consumed.