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Tequila! A Primer, a Tasting, a Journey to the Dark Side

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Sipping tequilas have come into their own recently, evidenced by the release of Maestro Dobel's Diamond Tequila and Centenario's hibiscus-infused Reposado. LAist decided to host an evening of tequila-tasting and get the low-down on some of the new products. Careful notes were taken, which eventually degenerated into Hunter Thompson-like scribblings. Apologies for the Zagatesque quote writing, but when we get to bat country, you will be amazed Zagatness was even possible.

Tequila is distilled from the piña of the agave cactus. Beware: some cheaper brands are made with grain alcohol instead of agave. Look for "NOM" on the label to ensure your tequila is 100% agave. The amount of time the tequila is allowed to age after distillation determines the color. The Plata (silver), aged the least, is white. Reposado (rested) is aged a little longer. The Anejo (aged) stays in the cask the longest, and picks up the most flavor of the oak. Like champagne, tequila is only allowed to be called "tequila" if it comes from a certain region - specifically Jalisco. Tequilas from other regions will usually be labeled "agave" or "mezcal" (Mezcal can refer to any distilled agave liquer).