Tequila is one of the most popular distilled beverages in the world today because it comes from a multi-annual plant that generates unique aromas and flavors. But like other distillates, its alcoholic concentration and compounds may not be for many people, which generates that every day new presentations and ways of drinking it are found, to make it more accessible to other audiences, as is the case of Cristalino. In this article we are going to see how to make Cristalino tequila, but first we are going to see the official classification of tequilas.
Tequila variations and classification
In tequila, it is divided into five types:
- White tequila that has to be distilled and its bottling is practically immediate after distillation.
- Young tequila (gold) which, due to its alcohol content, must be diluted with water (because it is not commercially accepted). It can also be a blend of blanco tequila with reposado and/or añejo and/or extra añejo tequila.
- Reposado tequila aged in oak or oak barrels for a minimum of 2 months and a maximum of 1 year.
- Aged tequila that can be aged from one year in oak or oak barrels and up to 3 years.
- And finally, the extra añejo, which must be at least 3 years old in barrels.
What is a Cristalino Tequila?
Tequila cristalino is not considered a classification, but only a variation in the presentation of an aged tequila with discoloration.
The white tequila, which by quality standards is practically colorless, and the following ones have an amber color that depending on the aging process can be darker.
White tequila for tequila drinkers could be said to have the purest flavor and with the true blue agave flavor, but the barrel can give more interesting and complex flavors to the same tequila, the crystal tequila is an aged tequila that through an additional process is decolored. It is a relatively new creation. In this article we will learn how to make Cristalino tequila.
What is the origin of Cristalino Tequila?
The best known history of this tequila presentation is attributed to Cazadores. Don Felix Bañuelos at 51 years old, grandson of Don Jose Maria Bañuelos, created the first Cazadores distillery in the region of Arandas, Jalisco, to produce tequila using his grandfather’s recipe. And perhaps accidentally created cristalino tequila in 1973.
But the first tequila to be marketed under this name was Don Julio 70, they mention that they did it to soften its passage through the throat but without removing the tequila sensation: it was the first cristalino tequila to reach the market, to commemorate the 70 years.
Since then, distilleries have replicated and created other methods to create their versions of crystalline tequilas, and every day more and more advances are made in production techniques to avoid removing as few as possible important molecules that form in the barrel.
How is Cristalino Tequila produced?
The production process is an art that involves the senses and through laboratory tests we arrive at it. We can explain it as follows:
- Tequila must be añejo, made with blue agave (tequilana Weber). The aromas and flavors offered by the barrel are the differentiator.
- Depending on the color and molecules of the tequila, a composition of one or more types of activated carbon is made in powder or granular form to remove the color.
in powder or granular form to remove the color.
- Finally, it is passed through a polypropylene sediment filter, which retains the activated carbon sediments and other solid particles that the tequila may have, leaving a clear liquid.
This process may seem simple but organoleptic testing (involving the use of the senses of smell and taste) in the laboratory makes it an “art”.
Tequila clarification requires testing with different types of activated carbon, which can be coconut shell, wood or minerals, because each has different pore sizes and therefore does not eliminate the same compounds and does not require the same concentrations.
The main challenge is to eliminate only the color and not the compounds that give flavor to the aged distillate profile, without the need to abocate or recompose it*.
Characteristics of a crystalline tequila
The crystalline tequilas are considered an option to drink tequilas without less itching in the mouth; so it has made more people approach this drink, and it can be a preamble to accustom the palate to drink tequilas without going through this process.
In a crystalline tequila you will find the taste and smell characteristics of aged tequilas. However, the activated charcoal causes certain tequila molecules in the crystallines to diminish and gives a smooth taste sensation.
Other problems in a distillate can also be corrected, you can consult the service we provide in the following link:
Correction of tequila and distilled beverages