Understanding the Tequila NOM

sparkledonkeyNow a lot of the internet might be thinking that I’ve somehow come up with a great new baked treat that incorporates tasty tequila, this is sadly not the case.  (But would make for another great post).  The NOM or Norma Oficial Mexicana is the standard that regulates the production of tequila in Mexico.  By law and tradition Tequila is a distilled agave spirit made in the city of Tequila in the Mexican state of Jalisco, pronounced (Hal-is-co).  The law was eventually expanded to allow any distiller in the state of Jalisco to call their spirit tequlia, and even after that some parts of the neighboring states of  Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas.

As you can see it’s an oddly shaped little state with protrusions and that kinda pitchfork looking section on top.

Much like the French  appellation d’origine contrôlée restricts what you can call Champagne, Bordeaux and Roquefort, the NOM limits tequlia’s to this region and imposes other standards on the production.  It isn’t a mark of quality it simply assures that you’ve bought something that was actually produced in mexico and is what you could consider “legit” tequila as opposed to a knockoff.  If you check a bottle of tequlia you’ll usually find the NOM as a 4 digit number on the back.

Much like any distillery the ones in mexico aren’t always brand specific.  The distillery can manufacture tequila for a number of different labels at different times of year.  You can actually look up the distillery online via http://www.tequila.net/nom-database.html This handy database lists all of the official NOM distilleries and which labels they bottle.  Handy in an argument if you’re trying to prove that 1800 is better than Jose Cuervo. (Fun fact if you look up NOM 1122 you’ll find that they both come out of the same still.)

There are a lot of other agave spirits from Mezcal to Bacanora each with their own regional history.

My own personal favorite Sparkle Donkey comes from a distillery called Destiladora del Valle de Tequila NOM 1438.  Some other brands from that same still include apocalypto tequila , Uno Mas and Verde Green an Organic Kosher tequila.  I’m not entirely sure what you’d need to do to have a Kosher Tequila but I applaud them for trying.