What is American agave spirit?

Answered by Andrew Fritz

American Agave Spirit is a unique expression of distilled derived from the agave plant. It is essential to note that these spirits are distinct from , as Tequila has a protected status known as “denomination of origin” and “geographic indication.” Just like can only be called champagne if it comes from the Champagne region of France, Tequila can only be produced in specific regions of Mexico.

The term “American Agave Spirit” refers to spirits made from agave plants grown and distilled within the United States. While Tequila must adhere to specific production methods and be made exclusively from the blue agave plant in designated regions of Mexico, American producers have the freedom to experiment with different agave species and production techniques.

One of the fascinating aspects of American Agave Spirit is the variety of agave species that can be used. While Tequila primarily uses the blue agave (Agave tequilana), American distillers have the opportunity to explore different species such as the Espadin (Agave angustifolia) or the Madre-Cuishe (Agave karwinskii). This allows for a diverse range of flavors and characteristics in the final spirit.

The production process of American Agave Spirit shares some similarities with Tequila production but also allows for innovation and experimentation. Agave plants are typically harvested, and the leaves are removed to expose the sweet agave heart, also known as the piña. The piñas are then roasted, crushed, and the extracted is fermented and distilled.

The aging process of American Agave Spirit can vary greatly depending on the producer's preferences. Some spirits may be aged in oak for a few months to develop a subtle complexity, while others may be aged for several years, resulting in a richer and more nuanced flavor profile.

The flavor profiles of American Agave Spirit can be diverse and complex, depending on the agave species used, the production techniques employed, and the aging process. Some spirits may exhibit floral and herbal notes, while others may showcase fruity or spicy characteristics. Exploring different American Agave Spirits can be an exciting journey for spirits enthusiasts, as each expression offers a unique taste experience.

As a sommelier and brewer, I have had the pleasure of tasting various American Agave Spirits and witnessing the creativity and passion that goes into their production. It is remarkable to see how American distillers have embraced the agave plant and created their own distinct expressions of this beloved spirit.

American Agave Spirit is a category of distilled spirits produced in the United States from different agave species. It offers a wide range of flavors and characteristics, thanks to the freedom of experimentation and innovation allowed by its non-protected status. Exploring American Agave Spirits can be a delightful and educational experience, as it showcases the diversity and versatility of the agave plant in the hands of passionate distillers.