Difference between Tequila and Whiskey

Key difference: Tequila and whiskey are two different alcoholic beverages. Tequila is a distilled spirit that is composed from the blue agave plant. Whiskey or whisky is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from any form of fermented grain mash.

Alcoholic drinks serve a variety of purposes today. It is present at almost every event such as a party or a get-together. It can also be served as an ice breaker on a new date or as many people claim it help drown out sorrows and other worries. They have practically become a main part of our culture. There are a variety of different alcoholic beverages that can be consumed including vodka, whiskey, gin, rum, scotch, tequila, etc. However, each drink differs in terms of flavor, appearance, process of making etc. Tequila and whiskey are two different alcoholic beverages.

Tequila is a distilled spirit that is composed from the blue agave plant. The blue agave plant grows primarily around the city of Tequila, Mexico. Hence, most tequila distilleries are located in the surrounding area. According to Mexican Law, tequila can be produced only in the state of Jalisco and limited regions in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. However, it can be shipped in large quantities to the United States of America to be bottled, and eventually sold.

Tequila was first produced in the 15th century. It generally has 38–40% alcohol content, which is 76–80 proof. Some types of tequila may be produced with an alcoholic content as low as 31% (62 proof) or as high as 55% (110 proof). However, these are uncommon.

Under Mexican Law, only tequila which is 100% agave can be sold as tequila. Even so, as per American Law, tequila which is 51% agave can be commercially labeled as tequila. These types of tequila are usually called mixtos in Mexico.

According to Wikipedia, there are 5 different types of tequila:

  • Blanco (white) or plata (silver): white spirit, un-aged and bottled or stored immediately after distillation, or aged less than two months in stainless steel or neutral oak barrels
  • Joven (young) or oro (gold): usually a mixto (rarely 100% agave) with added coloring
  • Reposado (rested): aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels of any size
  • Añejo (aged or vintage): aged a minimum of one year, but less than three years in small oak barrels
  • Extra Añejo (extra aged or ultra aged): aged a minimum of three years in oak barrels.

Tequila is often drunk neat in form of shots. This is why tequila has a bad reputation for causing blackouts and hangovers. However, many of the premium tequilas are now sipped neat, in order to taste the flavor and to enjoy the liquor. Tequila may also be used to create cocktails, the most famous of which is the Margarita.

Whiskey or whisky is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from any form of fermented grain mash. Depending on the geographical region or type of whiskey that is being made, whiskey can be made from barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat, and corn. They are often aged in charred barrels. According to Wikipedia, the word ‘whiskey’ is the anglicisation of the Gaelic word ‘uisce|uisge’ meaning “water”. Distilled water was known in Latin as aqua vitae meaning “water of life”. The process of distillation can be dated back to the Greeks in Alexandria around the 3rd century AD; however they did not distill alcohol only spirits for fragrance purposes. The distillation process was passed down through the ages to Italy in the 13th century AD where the first distillation process of alcohol took place and alcohol was distilled from wine. The alcohol was originally used for medicinal purposes before it become consumable as a beverage. Whiskey first become popular as a beverage in Scotland before it spread to other neighboring countries.

There are various different types of whiskey and they differ in terms of base product, alcoholic content and quality. The main two types include malt whisky and grain whisky. Malt whisky is made primarily from malted barley, while grain whisky is made from any type of grain. Malting is when the grain is put under the process of germination. Germination requires the barley being placed in water for a certain amount of time and being constantly turned to ensure proper soaking. Whiskies can further be classified under:

  • Single malt whisky: is whisky that is from a single distillery and is made from a mash that uses only one particular type of malted grain.
  • Blended malt whisky: is a blend of different malt whiskies from different distilleries.
  • Blended whiskies: is whiskey that is made from a mixture of malt and grain whiskies along with neutral spirits, caramel, and flavoring.
  • Cask strength: These whiskies are bottled directly from the cask and are undiluted or only a little diluted. These are rare whiskies.
  • Single cask: Each bottle of a single barrel whiskey is from an individual cask with the cask number labeled on the bottle.

Whiskies must be strengthened and aged in the barrel. They do not mature in the bottle, hence if a person keeps the whiskey bottle over a long time, it would not become any stronger in flavor or alcohol content. The alcohol content and mash content varies depending on the regulations of the geographic region. The whiskies require a charred oak barrel during the aging process, which provides them with the golden brown and amber coloring. Additional flavors and colors can be added to the alcohol depending on the regulations.

Whiskey is usually drunk neat or on the rocks. It may be drunk in addition with carbonated water or different types of carbonated drinks. A variety of cocktails can also be made with whiskey.

Image Courtesy: scottystarnes.wordpress.com, recipesforyourbodyandsoul.blogspot.com

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