What liquor first comes to mind when you think of a wild night with friends? That’s right, the correct answer is tequila.
If you selected moonshine, it may be time to try tequila, as you may be spending too much time in the woods behind your house. Tequila is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the blue agave plant and produced in Mexico.
A shot of tequila is a rite of passage. Who doesn’t remember the first time they licked the salt off their hand, put back a shot of tequila, and stuck a lime wedge in their mouth?
Tequila also just happens to be the main ingredient in the number one cocktail in America, the Margarita. It stands to reason that whoever produces the most liquor for the most popular drink would be pretty special.
That special brand, or especial, is Jose Cuervo. Jose Cuervo is the top-selling tequila brand in the world, which makes them the undisputed world tequila champion.
A Brief History of Jose Cuervo
Jose Cuervo’s history starts way back in 1758 in Tequila, Jalisco, in Mexico when Don José Antonio de Cuervo received a land grant from the King of Spain that allowed him to grow blue agave plants in order to produce tequila.
The blue agave plant grows well in high altitudes in sandy soil and has large spiky leaves. The core of the blue agave is full of sugars that make them ideal for producing alcohol.
In 1795, Don José’s son, José María Guadalupe de Cuervo, was granted the first license to distribute tequila. By the 1880s, Jose Cuervo revolutionized the tequila industry by being the first distiller to bottle and distribute tequila.
Up to this point in history, tequila was solely kept in barrels. Jose Cuervo expanded into the United States around this same time and has just continued to grow, even during prohibition, as it was smuggled from Mexico.
Jose Cuervo is currently owned by Proximo Spirits and is produced at the Rojeña distillery, the oldest active distillery in Latin America, in Jalisco, Mexico.
At this point, we know that tequila is made from the blue agave plant, but what does it take to get from a plant to sipping on a Margarita? There are six basic steps: harvest, bake, shred, ferment, distill, and age.
To harvest the blue agave plant, the leaves are cut off with a special knife called a coa.
Then the core of the plant, the piña bulb, is baked to extract its sugars in a brick or stainless steel oven. Once baked, the core is shredded to extract the mosto, the extracted sweet sugar.
The mosto is then combined with water and yeast to ferment in tanks until being distilled to purify and concentrate the alcohol. Finally, the tequila is aged for anywhere from 14 days up to more than three years.
The length of time spent aging determines the type of tequila. Reposado is aged from two months to one year, añejo is aged from one to three years, and extra añejo is aged for over three years.
In addition to the age, tequila can have a different appearance based on how it has been aged or distilled.
Typically a tequila that hasn’t been aged as long and has been aged in stainless steel would be clear in color, and a golden brown tequila was most likely aged longer and possibly in barrels.
Jose Cuervo Prices, Variations & Sizes
As the top-selling tequila brand in the world, Jose Cuervo has developed an impressive portfolio of tequilas. You would have to try hard not to find something that satisfies you on this list.
Jose Cuervo tequilas range from the very affordable, used for mixers, to the more expensive ultra-aged and finely-crafted tequilas.
|Jose Cuervo Especial Gold||80||40%||750ml||From $15.99|
|Jose Cuervo Especial Silver||80||40%||750ml||From $15.99|
|Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver Tequila Plata||80||40%||750ml||From $19.99|
|Jose Cuervo Tradicional Tequila Reposa||80||40%||750ml||From $19.99|
|Jose Cuervo Tradicional Tequila Añej||80||40%||750ml||From $34.99|
|Jose Cuervo Reserva De La Familia Platino||80||40%||750ml||From $69.99|
|Jose Cuervo Reserva De La Familia Reposado||80||40%||750ml||From $89.99|
|Jose Cuervo Reserva De La Familia Extra Añejo||80||40%||750ml||From $169.99|
|Jose Cuervo Aniversario||80||40%||750ml||From $2,699.99|
- Jose Cuervo Especial Gold is the most widely available and perfect for Margaritas.
- Jose Cuervo Especial Silver is specially blended for a smoother taste.
- Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver Tequila Plata is the first of the Tradicional line, which is a step up from Especial. 100% blue agave for a more refined flavor.
- Jose Cuervo Tradicional Tequila Reposado was aged in oak for a minimum of two months. This is the original Jose Cuervo tequila.
- Jose Cuervo Tradicional Tequila Añejo is aged in charred oak barrels for a year before resting in single malt Irish whisky barrels.
- Jose Cuervo Reserva De La Familia Platino is the first of Jose Cuervo’s line of ultra-premium tequilas. Platino is clear in color and puts the agave out in front flavor-wise.
- Jose Cuervo Reserva De La Familia Reposado is made using a unique barrel aging process that gives a rich array of flavors.
- Jose Cuervo Reserva De La Familia Extra Añejo is the top of the Reserva De La Familia line and it’s priced that way.
- Jose Cuervo Aniversario is at the very top of the Jose Cuervo food chain. This is a rare ultra-aged tequila crafted with the utmost care to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Jose Cuervo. Aniversario is aged in French and American oak barrels before being aged for a year in Spanish sherry barrels. This is an expensive one if you are lucky enough to find it.
Jose Cuervo Alternatives and Comparisons
There is no shortage of tequila brands out there. Even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has his own tequila called Teremana Añejo. As Jose Cuervo is the best-selling tequila, it makes sense to compare it to other high-volume tequila producers.
Sauza is a budget-friendly tequila that can be a decent stand-in for Jose Cuervo when you’re looking for an affordable tequila to use in Margaritas.
El Jimador, the best-selling tequila in Mexico, is also a valid alternative to Jose Cuervo. It is widely available and highly respected.
Patrón tequila is a popular small-batch tequila brand with an extensive selection of tequilas. Their standard tequilas are a bit pricier than Jose Cuervo but you’ll still often see them offered alongside Jose Cuervo in a bar.
How to Drink Jose Cuervo
The best way to enjoy Jose Cuervo tequila is as a shot with salt and lime, neat, and in cocktails – namely the Margarita. Purists recommend enjoying tequila neat at room temperature to maximize the smell and taste.
Tequila is the perfect spirit for cocktails. The Margarita is obviously the most popular, but tequila lends itself to many other outstanding cocktails like a Tequila Sunrise or a Paloma.
Jose Cuervo can be stored at room temperature or in the freezer. The one thing you don’t want to do is store it in direct sunlight as it will negatively affect the taste.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Jose Cuervo real tequila?
Jose Cuervo is real tequila. In order to call your beverage tequila, there are some strict rules that must be followed. The spirit must be made from the blue agave plant and it must be produced in specific regions in Mexico.
Jose Cuervo has always been produced in the state of Jalisco in Mexico.
2. Is Jose Cuervo vegan?
Yes. Tequila, like most other distilled spirits, is vegan and Jose Cuervo is no exception to that rule.
However, the pre-mixed margaritas have not been confirmed as vegan so you need to watch out for that when venturing away from the Jose Cuervo line of tequilas.
3. How do you make a Jose Cuervo margarita?
I thought you’d never ask. Here is how to make the classic Jose Cuervo Margarita:
- 2 ounces Jose Cuervo Tradicional Tequila Plata
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce orange liqueur
- Agave syrup to taste
- 1 lime wedge for garnish
- Salt for the rim of the glass
Combine the ice, Jose Cuervo Tequila, fresh lime juice, orange liqueur, and agave syrup in a cocktail shaker and shake well. Add salt to the rim of your glass, strain the shaker into the glass, and garnish with the lime wedge.
4. How many calories are there in Jose Cuervo?
1 shot (1.5 ounces) of Jose Cuervo contains 96 calories. There may be some fluctuation between the varieties, but 96 calories is a reasonable benchmark.
5. Does Jose Cuervo sell non-tequila products?
In recent years, Jose Cuervo has expanded beyond tequila into mixers and seltzers. In addition to their tequila lines, Jose Cuevo now offers:
Pre-mixed margaritas in three different styles: Authentic Margarita, Golden Margarita, Sparkling Margarita, and Golden Rosé Margarita.
Classic Margarita mix that does not contain alcohol. Just add the Jose Cuervo tequila.
Playamar is a hard seltzer made with tequila. This is a great light option at 90 calories and 4.5% alcohol by volume. Playamar is currently available in an assortment of fruit flavors: grapefruit, black cherry, mango, and lime.
Interesting Facts & Myths
Does tequila come with a worm in the bottle?
No. People often think that tequila is the liquor that comes with a worm in the bottle, but that isn’t true.
If you see something in the bottom of a bottle of booze, it’s in a bottle of Mezcal and it’s also not even a worm, it’s an insect larva.
Mezcal is another Mexican liquor, typically produced in Oaxaca, with a distinct smoky flavor and yes sometimes it comes with an insect larva. This started happening in the 1950s as an accident and then as a marketing strategy.