What Makes a Good Tequila?

Welcome to the vibrant and spirited world of tequila! As aficionados and guides at the heart of the San Diego Tequila Tour, we’ve danced through agave fields, sipped under the warm glow of Mexican sunsets, and learned from the masters of tequila craft. We’re here to share the essence of what makes tequila not just good, but exceptional. Grab your favorite glass, and let’s embark on this flavorful journey together.

The Anatomy of Tequila

Tequila, a spirit that dances on the tongue and tells a story with each sip, begins its tale in the rich, volcanic soils of Mexico. The hero of our story is the agave plant, particularly the Blue Weber variety, which is the only type allowed for producing genuine tequila. These plants spend 7 to 10 years maturing under the Mexican sun, soaking in the terroir, which imparts unique flavors that you can’t find anywhere else in the world.

Water, often overlooked, plays a pivotal role too. It’s the canvas on which the flavors of tequila are painted. The purity of water, sourced from deep wells, ensures that the essence of agave shines brightly.

Production Process

The journey from field to bottle is a testament to the dedication and artistry of tequila makers. It all starts with the harvesting of agave, where jimadores wield their coas with precision and care, selecting only the ripest piñas for production.

Cooking: A Slow Simmer of Tradition

Here at San Diego Tequila Tour, we hold a special reverence for the traditional method of cooking agave in brick ovens. The slow steaming process allows sugars to caramelize perfectly, while the use of a tahona wheel, a giant stone wheel, to crush the agave ensures the fibers are kept intact. This method, though labor-intensive, is a pure form of artistry, creating a product of unparalleled quality that we proudly feature in our tours.

tahona wheel tequila process

Fermentation and Distillation: The Heartbeat of Tequila

As the cooked agave is fermented, the yeast plays its symphony, converting sugars into alcohol. Whether in open-air vats where wild yeast adds its signature, or in controlled environments, this step is crucial for flavor development.

Distillation is where the spirit begins to shine. Using traditional pot stills, the tequila is distilled twice to achieve a perfect balance of purity and taste.

Aging: Time's Gentle Touch

Aging in barrels adds complexity and smoothness. From the unaged Blanco to the deeply matured Extra Añejo, each category offers a unique window into the soul of tequila.

Savoring the Types of Tequila

  • Blanco: Crisp and lively, it’s tequila in its purest form.
  • Reposado: Aged in oak, it whispers tales of vanilla and spice.
  • Añejo: A deeper dive into complexity, with hints of caramel and oak.
  • Extra Añejo: The epitome of aging, offering layers upon layers of flavor.

Criteria for Quality

Quality tequila bears the mark of the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT), ensuring authenticity and adherence to strict standards. When tasting, look for clarity, richness in aroma, and a flavor profile that balances sweetness, acidity, and alcohol perfectly.

The craftsmanship and heritage of a distillery add layers to tequila’s story, something we cherish and share with enthusiasts on our San Diego Tequila Tour. We delve into the artisanal methods, share stories behind the labels, and, of course, enjoy tastings that highlight the essence of true tequila.

Enhancing the Tequila Experience

Serving tequila is an art. Whether sipped from a caballito or savored from a Riedel tequila glass, the right glassware can elevate your tequila experience. And when it comes to pairings, tequila is a versatile companion, enhancing everything from traditional Mexican cuisine to innovative, modern dishes.

The San Diego Tequila Tour: A Journey of Discovery

Nestled in the heart of one of the most beautiful cities, our San Diego Tequila Tour is more than just a tasting. It’s a voyage into the heart of tequila’s culture and craftsmanship. We showcase the traditional methods that make tequila a world-class spirit, including the revered brick oven and tahona wheel process. Our goal is to create unforgettable moments, filled with learning, laughter, and, of course, excellent tequila. Whether you’re a curious newcomer or a seasoned aficionado, we promise a journey that’s both educational and exhilarating.


Tequila is more than just a spirit; it’s a celebration of heritage, craftsmanship, and the vibrant flavors of Mexico. Through each step of its creation, from the sun-drenched agave fields to the careful aging in oak barrels, tequila tells a story of passion, tradition, and innovation.

As you explore the world of tequila, remember that each bottle holds a journey, each sip a story. And if you’re ever in San Diego, join us on a tour that goes beyond the glass, diving deep into the heart of tequila. Together, let’s unlock the spirit of this extraordinary drink.