Casa Maestri's Tequila Basics Vol. VII: "The art of Tequila Distillation"

When talking about tequila, almost immediately we all think of the word "distillation." Why? Because tequila itself is a drink from the agave distillate. This part of the process is highly recognized and we will talk a little more about it today.

The honeys from the extraction and hydrolysis of the agave pineapples are placed in tanks and transported by pipes to the formulation vats. In the juice with these honeys we can find sugars such as glucose, sucrose and mainly fructose. From this moment on, a decision must be made: will the final product of these juices be 100% agave tequila or just tequila? Because no, they are not made the same way.

When you read a label and it says "100% agave tequila" you should know that to obtain it, only cooked agave juice and water are incorporated into the formulation. If you want to obtain tequila, the formula also contains cooked agave juice and water, but other sugars could be added to the mixture as well; standard sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar, glucose, molasses... you name it.

The Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) in Mexico indicates that, for the drink to be considered tequila, a minimum of 51% sugars from blue agave tequilana weber must be added. The rest of that 51% may be some other sugar from those mentioned above.

Once the purpose of the yeast and nutrients in the fermentation process has been fulfilled, the liquids from the "dead wort" are ready to go into distillation. (Read more about the fermentation process by clicking here)

Distillation "alambiques" or tanks at Casa Maestri Distillery.

The first part of the liquid that comes out for distillation is called "cabezas" and has the aldehydes that cause terrible hangovers; That is why that liquid must be separated by a valve that will later take it to a separate container.

Afterwards, the heart must be separated from the distillate, the truly important part. To collect the core of the distillate, a person must accurately measure the alcohol concentration until it reaches 16% and at that time close the valves and to switch to the other container and collect the alcohol until it reaches 4% concentration.

This last liquid is called "colas" and it contains methanol, a substance that in high amounts can cause irreversible blindness. That is why in the distillation process, heads and tails are separated and discarded.

After distillation, our tequilas are tested for quality purposes at Casa Maestri's laboratory. Here, extra flavors and tasting notes can be modified.

By CRT rules there must be two distillations. The heart of the agave in its second distillation is already a transparent liquid without solids, this is done in finer and thinner stills. The product must have 55% alcohol and until then it can be called tequila. Then distilled water without salts is added so that the minerals do not alter the flavor. The final mix must have 40% alcohol before going to packaging or aging.

It is crucial that excellent care and attention is taken in every part of the distillation. It is here that we can finally call it tequila, and although it has not concluded its production process, we are getting closer and closer.

Join us to discover the last steps of tequila making at Casa Maestri, where we take pride on the quality and love with which our tequilas are produced.


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