Both Blue agave and Mixto are used to produce the different grades of Tequila available which include: Blanco (also referred to as White, Silver or Plata), Joven Abocado, Reposado (rested), Añejo (aged), Extra Añejo, and Reserva. Blanco Blue Agave and Blanco Mixto are "fresh" Tequilas that have not been aged, but simply "rested" for a very short time in wood or stainless steel vats. This grade provides a fresh fruity flavor that resembles the true taste of pure agave. It can be served as a drink that goes well with appetizers, such as cheese and smoked meats. The Joven Abocado grade of Tequila is a Mixto Tequila, also referred to as Oro, that has not been aged but is colored and flavored with various ingredients such as caramelized sugar, oak tree extracts, glycerin, and/or sugar syrups which serve to enhance the color and flavor giving it a smoother taste similar to the aged varieties. Blue agave Reposado or Mixto Reposado are aged grades of tequila that have been stored in wood barrels (most often oak) for 2 to 12 months. The Reposado Tequilas are often considered to be high grades of tequila with a mellow flavor that goes well with earthy or hearty foods, such as rich cuts of beef, salmon, tuna, or the dark meats on poultry and gamebirds. Blue agave Añejo and Mixto Añejo are the highest grades of Tequila, which are aged in wood barrels for at least 1 year or more. Very smooth in taste, Añejo is often served as an after dinner drink, similar to brandy or cognac. Extra Anejo, is one of the most recent additions to the Tequila categories. It is a Tequila that is aged for 3 years or longer, providing a rich Tecquila flavor and aroma. The longer aged Tequilas are known as the Reserve Tequila or Reserva. They are aged for 5 to 10 years.
Tequila is a beverage that is often referred to as a "mezcal", a category of beverages made from agave, however it is a different variety of agave than the type used to produce true Tequila. Often confused with Tequila, mezcal can be made from a variety of agave plants growing throughout Mexico, while Tequila is made only from blue agave grown in specific regions of Mexico. Also, the cooking process for making the two beverage differs, thus resulting in a difference in flavor as the agave hearts are steam cooked to make Tequila and wood roasted to produce mezcal. Wood roasting provides a peppery or somewhat smokier flavor to mezcal.