Gin Vs Tequila – Taste, Differences, and Calories Compared

There are so many flavors and types to choose from especially when we’re thinking about things like taste and calorie content. So, how should you decide?

Gin is a type of distilled spirit that is made from botanical ingredients such as juniper, coriander, angelica, and fennel. Tequila, on the other hand, is made from the fermented juice of the blue agave plant. It can be either 100% or 51% agave. 

Regardless of whether you’re an expert or a novice, your questions are sure to be answered in preparation for your next evening out. You never know, you may even find a few new and interesting cocktails to try too!

What Are Gin And Tequila Made From

Gin and Tequila are among the most interesting alcoholic beverages in terms of ingredients and production. There are multiple rules distilleries must abide by and each drink contains different ingredients and has different laws… intrigued?

Typical Ingredients In Gin

Believe it or not, there are actual laws in place dictating what ingredients must be used to classify a drink as ‘gin’.

Gin is a neutral spirit distilled from wheat, barley, potatoes, or grapes. They are then fermented and distilled along with water and various botanicals, which gives the gin its flavor. Botanicals are flowers, seeds, plants, herbs, or spices.

Here’s the interesting part – all gin MUST include juniper. If this vital ingredient is not included, it cannot legally be branded as a gin.

So now we know what’s in gin, let’s turn our attention to tequila and see if there are any similarities.

Typical Ingredients In Tequila

Before we get into the key ingredients, we must talk about where tequila is produced. To legally be classed as tequila (I know, more rules…) it must be produced in one of the 5 approved states in Mexico.

Much like gin must contain juniper, tequila’s vital ingredient is blue agave. The plant itself takes between 5 and 12 years to mature and the process of harvesting the piña (the fruit at the bottom of the plant) is a painstakingly long one.

The agave plants are weeded and trimmed twice a year by hand; then harvested, cooked, and shredded to release the sugars ready to ferment and finally be distilled. I think we’ll all appreciate our next tequila shot a little more knowing how long and difficult it is to produce.

Different Types Of Gin

Now we know what the ingredients are, we can now move on to the different types of gin; there are 3 traditional types: London Dry, Plymouth, and Old Tom gin.

1. London Dry Gin

Despite what the name suggests, this doesn’t actually need to be produced in London. The name, instead, refers to the production process, which is specific to this type of gin.

This process states that all botanicals must be added during the distillation process and all must be natural. The only ingredients that can be added post-distillation are water and a small amount of sugar if needed.

2. Plymouth Gin

Unlike London Dry, this must be produced in Plymouth to earn its name. However, there is now only 1 distillery left making this a more premium and expensive gin to buy.

Plymouth gin’s trademark taste is achieved by lessening the focus on the juniper and instead focusing more on root botanicals such as licorice or orris. For this reason, it tends to be sweeter than London Dry.

3. Old Tom Gin

This is the oldest and sweetest of the gins; it originates back to the 18th Century when plentiful amounts of honey or sugar were added to mask the bitterness of poor quality, homemade gin.

It’s still popular today and is a particular favorite among bartenders as the sweetness is perfect for cocktails.

Different Types Of Tequila

Just the same as gin, there are a few main types of tequila: Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo as well as 2 variations; Extra Añejo and Joven. The different types refer to how long they have been aged, which changes the quality and way they should be served.

1. Blanco Tequila

Blanco is otherwise known as ‘silver’ tequila, which is very common as it’s the best type for margaritas. This is the purest form of tequila as the alcohol is not aged for any longer than a few weeks. Blanco Tequila is your typical clear-liquid tequila.

2. Reposado Tequila

Reposado means ‘rested’ in Spanish and in relation to tequila, this means the alcohol has been left to age or ‘rest’ for a period. Generally, it has been aged for between 2 months and 1 year in American or European oak barrels. The alcohol takes on a slightly gold hue from the barrels.

3. Añejo Tequila

This type is aged for at least 1 year and can be aged for up to 3 years in the same oak barrels as Reposado tequila. As it’s aged for longer, this tends to be smoother in taste, darker in color, and perfect as a sipping tequila.

4. Extra Añejo Tequila

This is aged for at least 3 years making it the darkest in color and smoothest out of all tequilas. Distilleries only choose their best spirits to be aged for this long meaning it’s the best quality and most expensive.

This is not meant to be mixed or shot; the subtle nuances are best appreciated by sipping it neat.

5. Joven Tequila

Although this is a variation from the traditional types of tequila, this is among the most common. It’s otherwise known as ‘gold’ tequila and is usually a mix of aged and unaged alcohol combined with an array of sugars.

It’s usually the lowest quality and brands will artificially add the gold color, so it looks more aged and, therefore, expensive.

One thing to be wary of is brands that do not include ‘100% agave’ on the bottle. These tend to be low quality with a whole load of artificial ingredients.

Flavored Gins And Tequilas

You can buy pretty much any flavor of any alcohol these days; different flavored vodkas, rums, wines, and even beers, are a newfound trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Gin and tequila are no different; flavored gins have been around longer so there is more variety but more flavored tequilas are being released and they are yummy, to say the least!

Gin and tequila can both be infused with pretty much anything; fruity flavors are most common such as orange, rhubarb, and coconut. However, you can find more fun and quirky flavors if you’re feeling adventurous.

Do Gin And Tequila Taste Different?

When trying something new, the taste is the most important factor in determining whether this will be your next signature drink. So, if you’re wondering if gin and tequilas taste different… they do. They contain very different ingredients and have completely different taste profiles.

If you’re drinking gin neat, then there will be different subtle flavors to detect depending on the brand and type of gin you’re drinking.

It’s very fresh tasting and the juniper gives it a piney and refreshing flavor – however, it has a breath-taking bite that you will feel in your throat.

The taste of tequila will vary depending on where it was produced; highlands tequila tends to have a more refreshing, green flavor with earthy nuances.

Whereas, if it’s made in the lowlands, it will have a slightly sweeter, fruitier taste with that gorgeous underlying earthiness.

It’s clear that they taste very different, but they are both refreshing and a great drink all year round. They also both have a nice kick to them, which you will notice! They also both work very well in cocktails; they blend in well and accentuate the other ingredients without dominating the whole drink.

Which Is Healthier; Gin Or Tequila

Neither of these drinks is necessarily ‘healthy’ but both gin and tequila contain fewer calories and carbohydrates than many other alcoholic beverages.

Calorie counting has become part of everyday life for many of us and thinking about our calorie intake is important. This applies to alcohol as well – I know many of us go to the pub and order our favorite without consideration about how many calories are in it.

It’s becoming more well-known how calorific wines and beers are, which is why gin and tequila are great low-calorie alternatives.

Calorie And Alcohol Content In Gin

Gin is known for being a low-calorie drink and many people will substitute their beer or wine for gin in an effort to lose weight.

In terms of calories, a full shot (1.5oz) of gin contains between 95 and 105 calories depending on the brand and type. It also contains no carbs!

Plus, juniper berries are full of antioxidants, and although it has not been researched extensively, drinking gin could have mild health benefits – in moderation of course.

In terms of alcohol content, this is measured in ABV, which is alcohol by volume and is generally somewhere between 35% and 55%. Interestingly, in America, gin must have a minimum alcohol content of 40% ABV to be classed as a gin.

Calorie And Alcohol Content In Tequila

Tequila’s calorie content came as a surprise; considering it’s the agave sugars that ferment, it’s amazing that it’s so low in calories. In this case, gin and tequila are almost identical with tequila containing around 100 calories per 1.5oz shot.

If the tequila you’re drinking is not 100% agave, then this number could be higher. Also, like gin, this does not contain any carbohydrates. 

An interesting side note – just as gin has its potential benefits from antioxidants, tequila has its own perks. It’s been proven that it does not cause a spike in blood sugar making this a great choice for diabetics.

The minimum alcohol content for tequila varies depending on which country you’re in. Each country has its own legal minimum; in Mexico, the ABV will vary between 35% and 55%, in Europe, the minimum is 37.5% and, in the USA, the minimum is 40%.

Which Is Healthier; Gin Or Tequila?

I wouldn’t class drinking any alcohol as ‘healthy’ but compared to other alcohols, gin and tequila are both great choices. They are much lower in calories, contain no carbs or excess sugars, and even have some potential benefits.

If you’re choosing between the two solely based on calorie content, then they are evenly matched. However, gin tends to be mixed with a tonic or other mixer, which will increase the number of calories you consume.

Therefore, as tequila is mostly drunk neat, this is the better option. 

How To Best Serve; Gin VS Tequila

If you’re wondering how to serve your favorite drinks, this will depend entirely on the type of gin and tequila you’re drinking. They can be served as a shot, with a mixer, or in a cocktail; have a look below at the best ways to serve them.

How Is Gin Served

  • It can be served neat in a shot glass
  • It is often served with tonic in a tumbler (with or without ice) with a lemon or lime wedge
  • Traditionally, it is served neat in a tumbler with lots of ice and lots of cucumber
  • Finally, gin is a common ingredient in many cocktails… keep reading for cocktail ideas!

How Is Tequila Served

  • It is commonly served in a shot glass with a lemon or lime wedge and salt
  • Better quality tequilas will be served in a brandy-type glass to be sipped

Different Gin Cocktails To Try

We all love a cocktail whether we’re making them at home or drinking at a bar. However, there are so many different ones to choose from so here is a list of a few common (and quirky) gin-based cocktails to try.

1. Gin Martini

This has to be the number one gin-based cocktail. It’s a timeless classic, which is elegant, simple, and ever so refreshing. It’s the perfect cocktail for summer – it’s simply comprised of gin and dry vermouth.

2. Negroni

This is the perfect cocktail to serve as a pre-dinner aperitif as it goes well with almost any dish. This is made with gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari.

3. Bramble

This is a delicious fruity cocktail made with gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup, and blackberry liqueur. This drink perfectly balances the sweet with the sour and not to mention, it looks incredible when served.

4. Gin Fizz

This cocktail contains some unusual ingredients but doesn’t let that put you off. This is gorgeously refreshing and contains gin, lemon juice, a simple syrup, an egg white, and soda water. The egg white ingredient scares people off but it’s necessary for an authentic gin fizz.  

Different Tequila Cocktails To Try

Likewise, here are a few tequila-based cocktails for you to try!

1. Margarita

Moving onto tequila-based cocktails; the margarita is an iconic drink that you must try if you haven’t already. It’s made with tequila, triple sec, and lime juice and it’s generally served with salt or sugar around the rim.

2. Tequila Sunrise

This is a gorgeous fruity drink that looks absolutely stunning in the glass. It contains tequila, orange juice, grenadine, and various fruits as a garnish.

3. Envy

This is an uncommon cocktail but is absolutely amazing and I think should be served everywhere. This is a refreshing, tropical drink comprising tequila, blue curaçao liqueur, and pineapple juice.

Final Thoughts

After reading this post, you have got all the information about the taste, differences, and health benefits of these two popular liquors.

Now it’s time to make your decision since both of them taste great. 

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