Ah, Cinco de Mayo. Whether you’re a true blue Mexican-American (hola, mi familia) or simply someone who appreciates Mexican culture, Cinco de Mayo is the time every year when we let down our hair and party like it’s 1862! To clear up any confusion, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s underdog victory over Napoleon’s forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862; it is not Mexican Independence Day, which is September 16th. Following the Mexican Civil War, Mexico found itself in debt to a number of powerful countries, and unable to pay back these debts, it found itself invaded by France, Spain, and the US. The US and Spain eventually signed treaties with the new Mexican government and left peacefully, but the French felt the need to make things complicated. Emperor Napoleon III had decided to make Mexico a client state to France and had even installed the Archduke of Austria Maximilian Hapsburg as the new Emperor of Mexico. This shocking boldness was met with outrage from the Mexican people, and though initial efforts were met with tough opposition, the Battle of Puebla marked a turn in the tide of war that would eventually expel the French from Mexico completely.
The date was fixed as a holiday 4 days after the battle by President Benito Juarez, and Mexicans have been celebrating Cinco de Mayo ever since! The celebration made its way the US the following year in 1863, where Cinco de Mayo celebrations were seen as a way to show US solidarity with Mexico against the French. Nowadays, Cinco de Mayo in the US is a way to celebrate Mexican heritage and culture, all while enjoying delicious Mexican dishes and (of course) Mexican drinks! After all, there’s nothing that spells out “Cinco de Mayo” quite like good tequila, but what is it about this traditional Mexican spirit that makes it so special anyway? In honor of Cinco de Mayo, let Oliver’s take you on un viaje through tequila-making process, and let us answer some of the burning questions you may have about this boozy beverage. What’s the difference between Añejo and Reposado? Why are they different colors? Do they all taste the same? Which one goes best in a margarita?
Have no fear! Oliver’s is here to put your mind at ease and provide you with all the information you need to select the best bottle of tequila for any occasion. ¡Vamos a empezar!
What is Tequila & How is it Made?
Tequila is a distilled beverage that is made from the liquid extracted from the heart of the blue agave plant. Tequila can only be produced in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, and in the highlands (Los Altos) of the Mexican state of Jalisco. The agave plants are carefully trimmed regularly and kept from blooming or dying early. When ready to be harvested, the leaves are carefully cut away and the succulent cone is harvested. The cones are then baked and then mashed to extract the agave juice. The juice is then put into large wooden or stainless-steel vats to ferment which creates a wort. The wort is then distilled twice, resulting in a silver tequila. It can then be bottled as a silver tequila or placed in wooden barrels to age.
Blanco vs. Reposado vs. Añejo
Blanco: Not aged or aged very briefly; strong agave flavor with subtle sweetness & heat. Best type for cocktails and mixing.
Gold: Not 100% agave, actually a mix of colored blanco & mixto, a neutral spirit made from sugar cane. Decent for cocktails.
Reposado: Means “rested”, aged from two months to one year. Coloring is natural and comes from oak barrels during aging. Food friendly, pair it with tacos.
Añejo: Aged one to three years in oak, darker than reposado. Best for sipping; notes of oak and smoke with underlying agave flavor. Pair it with an after-dinner cigar or a chocolate dessert.
Extra Añejo: Newest categories, must be aged more than three years in oak. Woody, less noticeable agave flavor. Perfect for sipping.
Which Brand to Select?
No matter what your budget is, we have the right tequila for you! If your’re planning on mixing up a batch of cocktails, avoid the luxury brands in favor of something a little more down-to-earth. You’ll want a tequila that’s bold in its agave flavor and with plenty of alcohol to stand up to fruit mixers and intensely-flavored liqueurs; in this case, we love to use a bottle of Jose Cuervo’s Tequila Blanco ($10.99/ea) for it’s sturdy flavor and perfect mixability. If your tequila needs to pull double-duty as both a shooter and a mixer, we’re big fans of the Correlejo Tequila Reposado ($21.99/ea). Full-flavored with a mellow smokiness from gentle aging, this tequila is just as suited to mixing as it is to shooting, with a smoothness that lasts all the way to the finish. Whatever tequila you choose, just remember to keep it fun and drink responsibly!
This week, enjoy special deals on everything you need to make your Cinco de Mayo fiesta one for the history books! Check out our incredible selection of house-made salsas, enjoy dipping perfection with our house-made guacamole, or get the best of both worlds with our 7-Layer Bean Dip. No matter how you celebrate Cinco de Mayo, make it lo mejor hasta ahora con Oliver’s!
Get the most from every bottle of tequila with delicious recipes from Oliver’s! Enjoy your tequila savory-style with spicy Tequila Lime Chicken or fresh and light Margarita Fish Tacos, or keep is classic with not-so-traditional cocktails like the Huatusco Whammer or the Tequila Mockingbird. Just remember to drink responsibly, comprende?