The goal of distillation is to remove the unwanted toxic substances from the fermented mosto while ensuring that tequila's taste, aroma and body remain intact. At this point of the long and arduous process of transcending the blue agave, we finally get to taste pure tequila.
After fermentation is complete, the mosto contains not only ethyl alcohol, but also other byproducts of the fermentation process. Some of them are very important for creation of tequila's characteristic taste, aroma and body but some are harmful like methanol and aldehydes, which need to be extracted. In craft production, the distillation is done in traditional copper pot stills. During the distillation process, the steam-heated mosto vaporizes and then condenses in a cooled coil, separating alcohol from the impurities.
According to Mexican laws, tequila must be distilled twice. The first round of distillation takes about 2 hours and produces an "ordinario" tequila with the alcohol content of 25% ABV. The first and the last parts of the ordinario (generally referred to as "head" and "tails") contain toxic compounds and impurities and are discarded. Only the most pure middle part of the batch (called "heart" or el corazon) of the ordinario is reserved and distilled for the second time. During the second round of distillation, the head and tails are separated and removed once again. The middle part of the batch of the second distillation round is a true blanco tequila, a crystalline liquid with alcohol content of 55% ABV.
We use traditional copper pot stills to produce Arrogante tequila. Small stills are very important. Small batches make better tequila because there is less heating time. Cooler temperatures makes for smoother tequilas.