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How Our Tequila is Made From Agave Sugar

Natalie Noel, CEO shows us the extracting mill at the partner distillery in Mexico.

What is Agave Sugar?

Not all sweeteners are equal and there are many ways to produce sugars and syrups. 

Still, there’s no doubt one of the most interesting is the creation of agave sugar.

Agave sugar is a versatile sweetener used in the kitchen and bar. It’s much sweeter than regular sugar, so a little goes a long way and it has a low glycemic index. Agave syrup can be substituted for honey and table sugar in many recipes, cocktails, and desserts. 

This Mexican specialty has deep cultural roots and is the base for our fabulous tequila.  Read on to discover its secrets and how Noël Tequila is sourced and processed from this unique plant.

Agave Plants

There are many different types of agave. These cactus-like plants grow in the arid Mexican landscape and similar regions such as the southern USA and the Caribbean.

Agave plants are tough and evolved to weather the harshest conditions, with little water and intense sunlight.

The plants retain water in their often-spiny leaves. However, they also store energy in the form of starches which can be turned into sugar.

Agave sugar is typically fermented to produce the base of exciting spirits like Mezcal and Tequila. Still, consumers are curious about the sugar itself, which leads us to the creation of agave syrup.

Baking Agave

The famous Tequilana Weber Blue Agave is the most common source of agave sugar, whether it’s destined to become Tequila or syrup. The plant is easy to grow and contains a big, starchy “heart.” When harvested, the spiny leaves are cut and the heart is later processed to make alcoholic spirits or syrup.

Since the agave’s starches are large molecules that are not sweet at all, the hearts must be cooked to break them down into smaller, sweeter sugar molecules.

How do you cook an agave heart? Traditionally, producers used an underground pit oven. However, modern ovens are the norm today. The result, though, is the same: cooked agave hearts filled with sweet sugars that are ready to be extracted.

Our agave is matured harvested and cooked for up to 30 hours to reveal the full aroma and flavor of the agave plant.

Natalie Noel, CEO standing beside the holding tank in Mexico where the fresh-pressed agave juice is stored.

Grinding the Agave

Whether the agave is cooked or processed raw, it‘s time to grind it. Modern methods have evolved to achieve similar results as the time-honored practices.

Traditionally, a donkey walked around a pit dragging a heavy grinding stone called a tahona. This is how agave hearts (and other ingredients, like grains) were crushed for centuries. Some producers still use this approach today.

Our woman-owned partner distillery in Jalisco, Mexico uses mechanical mills with metallic rollers to crush the agave hearts to obtain fine fibers that can easily be processed to extract the sugar.

Here‘s where making agave sugar gets interesting. Once you have fine agave fibers, you can run hot water through them. The water gently separates the sugar from the fiber, resulting in sweet syrup then aged or rested appropriately.

Master distiller, Chip Noel, and CEO Natalie Noel inspect the extracting mill at their woman-owned partner distillery in Mexico.

There’s a reason we’re the only distillery in Louisiana to offer tequila-it’s no easy feat! Like the tough agave plants, we fought over six long years to bring you authentic Mexican tequila with our own flavorful and bold Louisiana spin.

Our cross-border partnership with another woman-owned distillery has produced two versatile and luxurious blends made for celebrating everyday moments–no need to wait for a special occasion.

A propriety blend of lowland and highland Blue Weber agave gives this expression a mix of earthy, peppery, fruity, and floral notes. Enjoy it as a sipper or in a refreshing Ranch Water cocktail.

Aged in former Jack Daniels oak barrels, this expression offers oak, caramel, almond, and baked agave notes. Perfect in a margarita or as a rum or bourbon swap in your favorite cocktails. 

Now that you’ve had an inside look into how our tequilas are made, come experience our other beautiful spirits. We’ll welcome you with a shot of southern hospitality. Book a tour today, meet our master distiller, and sample our small batch spirits.

Not local? No problem. Click Here to have our craft spirits delivered straight to your door. Cheers from our family to yours!