Tequilas come in two basic varieties: “mixtos” – which contain 51% agave in the formulation – and “100% agave,” which is considered superior, although not necessarily smoother. Smoothness and drinkability, as with other liquors, comes through aging in casks. The longer it ages, the smoother it gets.
As described by Wikipedia, Tequila is bottled in 5 classes:
- Blanco (“white”) or Plata (“silver”): white spirit, un-aged and bottled or stored immediately after distillation, or aged less than two months in stainless steel or neutral oak barrels.
- Joven (“young”) or Oro (“gold”): a mixture of blanco tequila and reposado tequila;
- Reposado (“rested”): aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels of any size.
- Añejo (“aged” or “vintage”): aged a minimum of one year, but less than three years in small oak barrels.
- Extra Añejo (“extra aged” or “ultra aged”): aged a minimum of three years in oak barrels. FYI, this category was established in March 2006.
I enjoy tequila both in my favorite spring/summer mixed drink, the Margarita, and occasionally, neat, as a sipping drink. Obviously, if you’re going to be mixing up a pitcher of margaritas, properly made with tequila, Grand Marnier, and freshly squeezed lime juice served in a salted glass, there’s no need to buy a top-shelf, Extra Añejo tequila when something less expensive like good old Cuervo Gold will do the job. Just like The Rev keeps a bottle of Jim Beam White label bourbon to mix with cola and Maker’s Mark for sipping neat, I recommend purchasing tequila in the price range that goes best with its purpose.
If you want a tequila specifically for sipping, DEFINITELY spend the money and get an Extra Añejo like Casa Noble, Don Julio or Herradura Seleccion Suprema. The product is much smoother and surprisingly cognac-like in character.
As for what cigars to select, think one word: spicy. I learned to love Mexican food in Tucson, Arizona, known for its very spicy Sonoran Mexican cuisine; and nothing accompanies a spicy profile cigar like a margarita or top-shelf tequila served neat. Therefore, I would suggest looking for a sampler that comes with several spicy cigars for pairing with margaritas, tequila or even Mexican beer, which is also tailor-made to accompany spicy foods, cigars, etc.
One cigar I particularly enjoy with my margaritas is the Oliva Cain Daytona Torpedo – the spice and strength of all that ligero tobacco and the Habano wrapper is perfectly countered by the cool lime and citrus flavors in the drink. The Famous Nicaraguan Habano Double Corona (one of my standard everyday cigars), is also spicy enough to stand up to the profile of either margaritas or any top-shelf tequila.
Just like cigars, when it comes to tequilas, it’s fun to experiment with different blends. Find the “mix” that works for you and enjoy!
Peace, Love and Smokes,