Tequila is for most people a fun drink to enjoy in groups. Tequila shots are a party favorite, but more often than not, people end up waking the next day with a wicked hangover. Tequila connoisseurs, like Brady Bunte, attribute this problem to the poor quality of tequila that is drunk. Whether you are drinking the tequila neat, as a shot or in margaritas, the quality of the product will strongly influence your ability to enjoy the flavors and physical side effects.
Methanol is a common congener of any alcoholic drink that is made through fermentation. According to Brady Bunte, congeners help add flavor and aroma to distilled drinks. Methanol adds sweetness to tequila, but also has a dark side. When methanol is broken down in the body, metabolites are produced that can build up to toxic levels. Some of the metabolites that can result include formaldehyde and formic acid. Methanol poisoning occurs when an alcohol with a high concentration of methanol is ingested.
Brady Bunte points to the many instances of home-distilled brews gone awry, where drinkers are reported to have gone blind or died. Consuming as little as 25-90 ml of methanol can be fatal without proper medical attention. In less severe circumstances, consuming drinks with small amounts of methanol can result in gastric distress, vomiting and headaches. Brady Bunte has also observed that those with sensitivity to migraines are likely to trigger an attack when they consume the same drinks.
Headaches and migraines are a particularly common side effect from consuming cheap brands of alcoholic drinks that often have up to 2% of their volume made up of methanol. Experienced drinkers know that clear drinks like vodka and white wine are less likely to give you a hangover than darker drinks like whisky, beer and red wine. Tequila, which has clear varieties, is an exception to this rule, as it is known to have high levels of congeners.
Experts in the tequila industry suggest that this problem is more common with cheap popular brands of tequila, especially mixtos. Tres Sietes Tequila will not cause such a problem as they undergo a sophisticated distillation process that ensures minimal presence of congeners and other impurities in the end product. Although on the higher end of the price spectrum, it is worth noting that with tequila, you get what you pay for.
Tres Sietes tequila production involves the extraction of juices using a steaming diffuser process that guarantees cleaner results. Brady Bunte has found that most other distilleries make use of traditional techniques that involve heating kilns with burning wood. These traditional processes often lead to the higher concentration of methanol and other toxic substances in the resulting tequila. Brady Bunte believes that the care taken in the preliminary stages of production are what ensure that Tres Sietes offers the lowest level of methanol amongst tequilas currently available in the market.
This low methanol concentration means that premium brands like Tres Sietes are the best solution for tequila lovers who tend to experience hangovers when enjoying their favorite alcohol. The purity of the tequila also means there is easier detection of the distinct flavors, aromas and aftertaste of the liquid on the palate and other senses. Brady Bunte considers this particularly important for those who are traditionalists and prefer to imbibe tequila neat.
Some industry critics suggest that repeated distillations and the use of diffuser technology tends to dilute the taste of the tequila. Like many other successful tequila makers, Brady Bunte however feels that it is not so much the number of times the drink is distilled that will determine its flavor, but rather the proprietary techniques applied during the distillation process that will ensure the best is brought out of the liquid.