reposado means "rested" in Spanish. While the word Tequila is the name of a town, its meaning in the ancient Nahuatl language is "the place of harvesting plants" or "the place of work." Making the fine Tequila Reposado from 100% blue agave requires a lot of hard work and patience.
Where does Reposado Tequila come from?
Tequila is a distilled blue agave spirit that only comes from one place on earth: Mexico. A Tequila Reposado is aged in oak for two to eleven months before bottling.
Unlike some other spirits, Tequila production is governed by a strict set of laws. The spirit dates back to 1666 in Mexico, and it’s regulated to protect the quality. To be called Tequila, the spirit must come from one of five Mexican states: Jalisco (where you find the town of Tequila), Guanajuato, Nayarit, Michoacán, or Tamaulipas.
There are other spirits distilled from agave, but those are called either mezcal or destilado de agave. Similar to the rule in the US for Bourbon Whiskey, all Tequilas are Mezcals, but not all Mezcals are Tequila. The oldest Tequila distillery is Grupo José Cuervo, makers of José Cuervo Tequila, which was founded in 1758.
How is Tequila Reposado made?
All Tequila starts with the blue agave, a spiky succulent that grows throughout the regions where Tequila is made. For a Tequila Reposado, the sweet sap in the heart of the blue agave is fermented, distilled, and then aged for two to 12 months in oak.
- Making Reposado Tequila takes patience. The blue Weber agave plant grows slowly. The succulent must be six or seven years old before it develops a sugary sap called aquamiel ("honey water" in Spanish) that forms the base of Tequila.
- The heart of the agave plant called the piña (because it looks like a giant pineapple) is harvested with machetes. Then the massive hearts, which weigh 100 pounds or more, are steamed or baked in a clay oven. Experts say baking is better because the cooking process is slower and creates a smoother spirit.
- The cooked hearts are shredded and pressed to extract the juice. That juice is fermented, and then the fermented juice is distilled in either a column still or an old-fashioned pot still. During the distillation process, Tequila retains much of the vegetal, floral, and earthy flavors coming from the agave.
- To make a Reposado Tequila, the distilled spirit will be aged in an oak container of any size for anywhere from two months to just less than a year. During that time, it turns a deeper amber color. It can take on barrel characteristics such as vanilla, cocoa, and baking spice notes.
What is the difference between Reposado and Añejo Tequila?
Reposado Tequila is lighter in color and flavor than an Añejo Tequila because it is not aged as long. Reposado is aged between two months and just under a year, while Añejo is aged for one to three years. Another distinction is that Añejo Tequila must be aged in an oak barrel no larger than 600 liters. By contrast, Reposado can mature in any size oak container. Spending more time in a smaller oak container gives Añejo a deeper color and more flavor.
What are the different types of Tequila?
There are several different kinds of Tequila, and most are categorized according to how long they’re aged. The three main types of Tequila are silver or Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo. In 2006, a new category called Extra Añejo was created. Here is a breakdown on how long each style is aged:
- Blanco or Silver Tequila can be bottled immediately or aged up to two months.
- Reposado ("rested" in Spanish) Tequila is aged for two to 12 months in an oak container, giving it time to turn a pale golden color.
- Añejo ("aged") Tequila spends one to three years in an oak barrel similar to the ones used for aging whiskey or wine. It gets smoother, darker and the taste is sweeter thanks to the barrel.
- Extra Añejo Tequila is barrel-aged for more than three years. The spirit becomes a dark amber color, and the flavor is rich with nuts, caramel, fruit, and spice, similar to whiskey or an old rum.
How much does Reposado Tequila cost?
The price for a Reposado Tequila varies according to where you buy it, the amount of time the spirit was aged, and what kind of oak was used for aging. At Total Wine & More, you can find Reposado Tequilas in our stores and on our website from as low as $12.99 up to over $100 (price will vary by market, where spirits are allowed to be sold).
What are popular Tequila Reposado cocktails?
The three classic Tequila drinks are the Margarita, the Tequila Sunrise, and the Paloma—and all of them are delicious with Tequila Reposado. But keep in mind that Tequila Reposado can also stand-in for other golden or brown spirits in drinks such as a Whiskey Sour or an Old Fashioned.
Here are a few popular Tequila cocktail recipes to try:
What are the popular brands of Reposado Tequila?
Total Wine & More stocks all the popular brand of Reposado Tequila. You’re sure to find your favorites and a few new discoveries in our wide selection.
Our selection of the most popular Reposado Tequilas includes:
Check out our full selection of Reposado Tequila and take home a couple of bottles of the best Tequila from Mexico.