When you think about tequila, your mind probably goes to a tasty margarita or one too many shots in your younger days. What you probably don’t know is that tequila is a complex spirit that can be just as refined as a good whiskey. There are two main types of tequila – gold and silver. The most significant difference between gold and silver tequila is if it’s distilled in stainless steel or wood and how long until it’s bottled once it’s been distilled.
Understanding the different types of tequila and how they’re best enjoyed is the best way to enhance your drinking experience while broadening your alcoholic beverage horizons!
What is Gold Tequila?
Gold tequila is tequila that appears golden, light brown or amber in the bottle. Gold tequila is a smoother, sweeter drink than silver tequila. The exact flavor profile of gold tequila depends on where the gold color comes from.
100% Agave Aged Gold Tequila
Pure, 100% agave gold tequila is tequila that has been aged. The agave is distilled into a clear tequila that then gets aged.
The aging process happens in oak barrels that make the tequila darker the longer it’s kept inside.
This type of gold tequila is more expensive and will look amber or brown, not gold. The high price tag is because of how long this tequila takes to produce before it can be bottled and sold.
Aged tequilas have a smoother taste than silver or white tequila. The smoothness is the main reason why aged gold tequilas are accepted as one of the best tequila choices if you plan to enjoy it straight.
Artificially Gold Tequila
Most of the gold tequila you see isn’t gold because of aging. Artificially gold tequila is cheaper and easier to find at liquor stores. On the ingredient label, you’ll find Caramel coloring and artificial sweetener.
Because of those additives, even artificially gold tequila is sweeter than silver tequila.
Unlike aged tequila, these types of gold tequila aren’t much smoother than what you find in silver tequilas. The smoothness comes from age, which can’t be faked.
One of the easiest ways to spot a gold tequila that hasn’t been aged is to take a closer look at the color of the alcohol. If it has a golden hue instead of a brown or amber hue, it hasn’t been aged in wooden barrels.
What is Silver Tequila?
Silver tequila is considered the purest form of the blue agave spirit because it’s the first product to be bottled after the blue agave plant is distilled. The distilling process occurs in stainless steel containers that won’t impact the agave flavor.
Since it’s such a pure form of agave, silver tequilas look as clear as water when bottled. Silver tequila is bottled directly after the distilling process is finished most of the time. In some cases, the tequila is kept in stainless steel storage containers for up to 60 days before bottling without a noticeable change in taste.
Silver tequilas are known for their harsh taste. It doesn’t have the same smooth taste as an aged brown tequila. That’s why silver tequila is often paired with fresh lime juice to mask the flavor after a shot.
Silver tequila is often labeled as Blanco tequila, white tequila, or platinum tequila.
The pure flavor of the blue agave plant in tequila silver pairs wonderfully with other flavors. That’s why this is the optimal choice when making margaritas or mixed drinks like the tequila sunrise.
Other Types of Tequila
Now that you know the basics of gold VS silver tequila, we can dive into some lesser-known tequila terms you’ll find on certain bottles. Each of these types can also be categorized as gold or silver tequila.
Reposado tequila is a type of tequila gold that has an amber hue and a taste that’s generally preferred over other types of tequila.
Reposado means “rest” in Spanish. For a bottle of tequila gold to be considered reposado tequila, it has to be aged in wooden barrels for at least 60 days but no longer than one year.
The aging process usually happens in oak barrels. Some tequila manufacturers even reuse barrels that have previously been used to age wine or other spirits.
Joven tequila is a tasty blend of reposado gold and silver tequila. The mixing process has to take place during the making process before the tequila is bottled for it to be considered Joven tequila.
Joven tequila has a light caramel color. It can be consumed directly or added to mixed drinks. You’ll get to enjoy the best features of gold and silver tequilas at the same time!
Añejo & Extra Añejo Tequila
The last two types of tequila are añejo and extra añejo tequila. The word añejo means “aged.”
Since we know the biggest difference between gold and silver tequila is the golden color and rather they’re aged or bottled immediately, it’s no surprise to learn that añejo and extra añejo tequila are both classed as a gold tequila.
Añejo tequila is tequila that’s been aged in wooden barrels for at least one year but no more than three years. The flavoring processes take place inside the barrels as they age. The final product is tequila that’s smooth with hints of vanilla and caramel.
Extra añejo tequila is made in only small batches and sold at a higher price than any other type of tequila. This extra-aged tequila sits in barrels for at least three years before being bottled and sold. The flavor profile is complex, with hints of spice.
What’s the Best Type of Tequila?
The debate about silver and gold tequila is nothing new. There’s not one version of Mexico’s National Drink that can be considered better or worse than the other. They both have unique flavors and uses.
Gold or silver – it all comes down to what you prefer! If you usually drink silver tequila, don’t be afraid to try something new with gold tequila. You might just be surprised how much you enjoy it!