To clear up any confusion you might have, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It is not Mexican Independence Day, which is September 16th.
Now, let’s get back to the food. Here at Oliver’s Market, we have everything you’ll need to celebrate Cinco de Mayo; from our house made salsas and guacamole to our wide variety of tortilla chips, plus a great selection of tequila. Our award-winning salsas are made in-house using only the freshest ingredients and you have five styles to choose from, well six with the guacamole (roasted tomato, aguacate, medium Verde, pico de gallo, spicy jalapeno and guacamole). Unfortunately, we don’t make our own tequila (but how cool would that be?). However, we do have a vast selection of tequilas for you to choose from, including Don Julio and El Jimador.
Speaking of tequila, Cinco de Mayo (and our great sale pricing this week) presents a wonderful opportunity to get to know this spirit a little better. 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! I’m here to put your mind at ease and provide you with all the information you need to select the best bottle of tequila for the occasion.
What is Tequila and 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, Reposado, Añejo…Oh My!
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! Three of the tequila producers we’re featuring this week are great starting points for learning about tequila styles: 1800, Don Julio and El Jimador.
1800 is the year the world’s first premium tequila was born. For more than two hundred years, 1800 has never wavered from its original formula and distillation process – producing a 100% agave, quality tequila every time.
Don Julio began producing tequila in 1942 and continues to distill fine tequilas to this day. Don Julio focuses on quality over quantity during every part of the tequila production process. When it came time to select a bottle, they broke tradition by opting for a short, squat bottle instead of the usual taller, thinner bottles. The Blanco is an excellent choice.
El Jimador is named after the jimadors (master harvesters) who spend years mastering the art of perfectly harvesting the blue agave. They look at each plant carefully, knowing which ones ready, and which ones are should be left until tomorrow. Their Reposado is hand-harvested, double distilled and aged in American oak for 2 months.
However you decide to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, we hope you have a fun and safe holiday!