Anyone going through a midlife crisis probably envies reposado tequila. It got some of the fire and spunk of youthful blanco tequila, and the complexity and depth of añejo tequila. That's a little thing called "the best of both worlds." Reposado strikes a nice balance between the agave and wooden barrel flavors. To get there, it's aged for two to 11 months, allowing it to rest just enough to take the edge off without maturing too much. It's what everyone aspires to in their middle age. Since no one can pull it off, might as well drink some reposado and ride it out.
Basic Tequila Training:
In Spanish, the word "reposado" means "rested." This is tequila that's taken a siesta — a pleasant middle ground somewhere between wide awake and Rip Van Winkle. While they may have done away with the siesta afternoon break in modern-day Mexico (government workers were robbed of their slumber in 1999), reposado tequila is still going strong.
Reposado is the delightful bridge between youthful foolishness and tired old age. Silver "baby" tequila is not aged at all. It's clear as an alpaca's tears and delivers the full sweetness of the agave. Añejo and extra-añejo tequilas, the old geezers of the tequila world, are aged at least a year and have a deep caramel color. Both have their advantages, but why not purchase reposado and get them all?
Timing Is Everything:
Far from destroying the purity of silver tequila, the aging process unlocks deep and complex flavors not possible without the use of wood barrels. The barrels used are most commonly of American or French oak, so the glycerin in the wood is slowly absorbed by the liquor. This is where reposado tequila gains its natural golden hue and woodsy complex flavor, pleasantly balancing out the sweetness of the agave. Sometimes whiskey, bourbon, cognac or wine barrels are used to create even more delicious results.
Añejos can be a bit overwhelming — not to mention expensive — for some folks. The natural agave flavor can easily become steamrolled by the smoky wood accents. Alternately, some believe that silver tequila is too sweet and bland. Additives and colorants added to unaged tequilas, creating what's known as "oro" or gold, can be a turn-off, too. Reposado has a light touch of wood, just the right level of complexity, and a price tag that's easier to work with than classic tequilas (which can cost as much as classic cars).
How to Enjoy Reposado Tequila:
Reposado is a versatile liquor that's complex enough to enjoy from a shot glass, yet sweet and simple enough to create excellent mixed drinks. Aside from the reigning champion of tequila drinks, the margarita, you can also enjoy stellar concoctions such as the grapefruit-based paloma, the hilariously dubbed Juan Collins, or the upscale tequini. Reposado truly represents the best that tequila has to offer.