What’s in Your Tequila?
The Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) – the organization in Mexico that regulates tequila – allows for additives in tequila as long as they don’t exceed more than 1% of the tequila’s total liquid (though additives these days have become increasingly concentrated, in order to stay under that 1% rule).
So, what are these additives exactly, and how are they used? Additives in tequila fall into four main categories:
- Sugar-based: These additives are a syrup of different ingredients (from agave nectar to corn syrup to aspartame) that are used to sweeten the tequila. If you are drinking a tequila that tastes overly sweet, that bottle likely has additives.
- Glycerin: This is one of the most common additives used in tequila because it helps create a more rounded and fuller “mouthfeel.” So, if the tequila is watery or thin, adding glycerin can help increase its viscosity.
- Oak extract: Some tequila producers add oak extract to their tequila to increase the spirit’s aroma or flavor, making the tequila taste as though it had been aged longer.
- Caramel color: Not all additives are for flavor, tequila brands that add caramel color to their spirit do so for the purpose of increasing or refining the color to their finished spirit.