How can you tell the difference between real tequila and fake tequila?

Answered by Dustin Gorski

When it comes to identifying real versus fake tequila, there are a few key factors to consider. As a sommelier and brewer, I have encountered various types of tequila and learned to distinguish the authentic ones from the imitations. Let me guide you through the process of identifying real tequila.

1. Check the label: Look for the terms “100 percent blue Weber agave” or “100 percent agave” on the label. These indicate that the tequila is made solely from the agave plant, which is the traditional and authentic way of producing tequila. If the label does not mention these phrases, it is likely a mixto tequila, which means it contains at least 51 percent agave and can have other cheaper added to it.

2. Read the ingredients: Authentic tequila should only contain agave, , and . If you come across a tequila that lists additional ingredients such as sugar, caramel, or other additives, it is a clear indication that it is not a pure tequila. These added ingredients can significantly alter the taste and quality of the tequila.

3. Consider the bottle design: Authentic tequila producers often take pride in their craftsmanship, and the design of the bottle can reflect this. Look for well-crafted, high-quality bottles with attention to detail. Fake tequilas may have poorly designed labels, misspelled words, or inconsistencies in the packaging. While this is not a foolproof method, it can raise suspicions about the authenticity of the product.

4. Research the brand: Before purchasing a tequila, it is always a good idea to do some research on the brand and its reputation. Look for well-established and reputable tequila producers who have a history of producing high-quality products. Check online reviews, ratings, and recommendations from tequila experts or enthusiasts to get a better understanding of the brand's authenticity.

5. Look for the official NOM number: The Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM) is a unique number assigned to each tequila producer in Mexico. This number ensures that the tequila meets the government's regulations and quality standards. Look for the NOM number on the bottle, usually on the back label or the neck of the bottle. You can cross-reference this number with official databases or websites to verify the authenticity of the tequila.

Identifying real tequila requires attention to detail, knowledge about the production process, and a bit of research. Look for the terms “100 percent blue Weber agave” or “100 percent agave” on the label, check the ingredients for any additives, consider the bottle design and brand reputation, and look for the official NOM number. By following these guidelines, you can increase your chances of enjoying a genuine and high-quality tequila experience.