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Spirit Academy

Explore Agave Spirits.

Immerse Yourself in the Spirit of Agave

The History of Agave Spirits

Agave spirits were first created in Mexico. There is some debate if their genesis came before or after Spanish colonization but it is certain that the drinking of agave spirits spread throughout Mexico post-colonization. At various times, the Spanish Crown, and later the Mexican government, attempted to outlaw agave spirits which were sometimes referred to as vino de mezcal, in attempts to promote the consumption of Spanish brandy or decrease what was perceived to be an indigenous spirit. By the turn of the 20th century, tequila made a name for itself separate from other mezcals and became the United States’ favorite Mexican spirit. Since the early 2000s, the popularity of agave spirits, and tequila in particular, has grown at a meteoric rate.

Location

Historically, agave spirits were made primarily in Mexico, and partially in Venezuela. However, since the beginning of the 21st century, small amounts of agave spirits are now being made in a variety of countries such as the United States, Canada, Peru, France, Italy, South Africa, India and Australia.

What makes this spirit category different?

As the name implies, agave spirits must be fermented and distilled from one of the hundreds of varieties of the agave plant. However, tequila and U.S. agave spirits may be made with 51% of the fermentable sugars coming from agave and 49% from other sources such as sugar or even corn syrup. Most styles of agave spirits do not require the use of particular still types, except for certain styles of mezcal like artisanal mezcal, which must use stills heated with direct fire and ancestral mezcal which must use clay stills.

Terms and Definitions

Additives

In tequila, and some other styles of agave spirits, there are a couple additives that can be used without being disclosed. These include caramel coloring, oak extracts, and glycerin or sugar syrups. For tequila, these additives are allowed in small quantities to “mellow” the spirit. In response Tequila Matchmaker has created a rigorous certification process that brands can apply for to use the label, “Additive Free.”

Agave

A large succulent native to Mexico, agaves are monocarpic (only flower once in their life cycle) and grow in a rosette with spiny leaves. In addition to spirits, agaves have been used for making soap, fibers for rope, roof shingles, sewing needles, and cooked for food.

Age Statements

Generally, agave spirits do not use numerical age statements, but a system first adopted in tequila. Blanco or silver usually refers to unaged agave spirits. Reposado usually means that the youngest spirit in the bottle spent a minimum of three months in a wood barrel. Añejo means the youngest spirit in the bottle spent a minimum of one year in a wood barrel, and extra añejo, a minimum of three years in a barrel.

Tannins

The astringent compounds in plants such as oak or grape skins that cause a puckering dry sensation in the mouth. Plants developed tannins as a defense mechanism to dissuade predators from eating them. Humans have developed an appreciation for small quantities of tannins in wine and spirits because they can provide balance and body to the drink.

Our Curated Selection of Top-Quality Agave Spirits. 

Buy one, two, or ten - we won't judge. Our Agave Spirit selection is that good.

Aman - Roso Tequila
Aman - Roso Tequila

Aman - Roso Tequila

$48.99
Buen Bicho - Mezcal Joven
Buen Bicho - Mezcal Joven
Buen Bicho - Mezcal Joven
Buen Bicho - Mezcal Joven

Buen Bicho - Mezcal Joven

$44.99
Dinastia Real - Anejo Tequila
Dinastia Real - Anejo Tequila

Dinastia Real - Anejo Tequila

$77.99
Gran Padre - Reposado Tequila
Gran Padre - Reposado Tequila

Gran Padre - Reposado Tequila

$45.99

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