How Ultra-Premium Tequilas are Changing the Market for the Spirit

Once, a tequila was just a tequila. But today, the best tequilas are high-end, ultra-premium, exquisite examples of excellence that were unknown in the past. Tequila is starting to be compared to champagne. In the way that a real champagne was talked about with awe and respect, so, too, is a bottle of today’s tequila — the champagne of Mexico.

Premium tequila must meet certain conditions before it can call itself the best tequila. As champagne must be made from specific grapes that are grown in the Champagne region of France, so must a tequila be made in a certain way from a specific agave from select regions of Mexico. In fact, Mexican law states that no liquor can be labeled tequila unless it comes from the western state of Jalisco, preferably as close as possible to the town of Tequila. But, like champagne, tequila comes in specific qualities and varying price ranges that demonstrate quality.

What are the best tequilas?

The best tequilas are starting to become worthy of a new level of monetary respect, and people are no longer thinking of tequila as something that needs to be chased down with salt and lime. And even though a margarita will never lose popularity, some tequilas are too good to be mixed with fruit juice and soda. In fact, just a few years ago, no one would have ever thought that a tequila could be on par with an expensive champagne or whiskey. But today, yes, you can sip tequila.

Some of the most expensive are only available in limited editions. The Dos Lunas Grande Reserve costs $2,500 a bottle and is aged for ten years. The most expensive of all is the Ultra-Premium Ley .925 Pasion Azteca. This very best tequila comes in a hand-crafted platinum and white gold bottle, even at the lower end! That bottle will cost about $250,000, but to get the really good bottle, if that one isn’t good enough, you will have to spend $3,500,000.

The rest of the good news is that the best tequilas are still as popular as ever. It has always been one of the best party drinks out there because it has so much versatility. As a mixer for orange juice, as an excuse to suck a little lime, or just because people want a great hot-day patio beverage, tequila never disappoints. So, even though not many people are going to drink thousands of dollars of tequila in a single glass, the fact that the option is out there is not only changing people’s respect for tequila in general, but it is also improving the quality of what people are buying, so it is also improving the quality of what is available.

As well, people are gaining more respect for the work that goes into producing a bottle of the best tequila. Not only does tequila come from the specific blue agave plant (which can grow up to 6-feet tall out in the desert), but there is also a specific way of making it. The blue agave plants are harvested, and the leaves are cut off, leaving the sugary core, called a pina. The harvesting is not without risk as the plants grow in the desert and snakes and tarantulas also grow in the desert and hide sometimes in the juicy, sugary plants. The older and taller the plant the more likely it is to be inhabited. After harvesting, the plants are baked, cooled, let to rest, distilled at least twice, and then let rest. The quality of the plants, the quantity of good agave to filler, the number of times distilled, and the amount of time the mixture is left in ‘reposado’ is what determines the quality and the price.

The best tequilas you will drink on a hot sunny afternoon, or at a Saturday night party, may not be so ultra-premium as the million-dollar bottles, but you can still enjoy a great drink with the best tequilas, starting at about $50.00 a bottle. These tequilas know where the fun is, and the best tequilas are not the ones that sit on the shelf to be admired. They are the ones that come out and party with the tacos and the barbecue on the patio.

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