How is Tequila made?: Distillation

Ever wonder how Tequila is made? You’ll often see Tequilas boast about being distilled twice or even three times. So let us let you in on a little secret: every Tequila is distilled twice and distilling more than that could actually make the Tequila taste worse.

Let’s start with the number of times Tequila needs to be distilled. Remember, we start by roasting agave, crushing them and then fermenting that juice. So far we only have a liquid that has 5% alcohol content. So we then distill it, separating the alcohol from the water, and we get something called Ordinario which has between 20% and 25% alcohol. But all Tequila has to (by law!) be between 35% and 55% alcohol, so we give it a second distillation and that gets up to between 50% and 55%. This is what every single Tequila company must do. This resulting Blanco Tequila is either bottled or aged to become Reposado and Anejo tequila

So is there anything in the distillation process that allows Tequilas to distinguish themselves? Yes! The first and last parts of Ordinario or Tequila to be distilled are called the tops and the tails of the distillation. They contain alcohols you definitely don’t want to drink (because…science). The skill of the master distiller is knowing just where the cut off points are to only keep the best alcohols.

So what about distilling 3 times? The fact is that every time Tequila is distilled, congeners – the molecules that give liquor their taste – get sacrificed. More distilling, less flavor.

By the way, at Tres Agaves we only distill twice in copper-lined stills. Our master distiller, Iliana Partida, is a 4th generation Tequilera so brings years of knowledge with her to craft a smoother, brighter Tequila.