is North America’s first distilled spirit.
The name comes from a Mexican town of the same name in the
state of Jalisco. It’s made from the hearts of the agave
plant and by law, to be called and labeled Tequila, 51 percent
of it must be made from the blue agave plant grown near the
town of Tequila.
says that the Aztec ruler, Montezuma, welcomed the
Spanish explorer Cortez with a wine made from the agave plant.
Poor man. The ungrateful Cortez became his conqueror, took
the agave wine, and distilled it to make Tequila. This all
took place around the early 1500s and by the 1600s it was
the 1500‘s the Spanish conquered the Aztecs
and founded the town named Tequila. At the time there was only
a honey wine-type of alcohol being drunk, but the Spanish broke
out their copper stills and tequila was born. In the 1700’s
the King of Spain granted land to Jose Antonio de Cuervo to cultivate
the agave plant. Then for a short while liquor was outlawed in
Mexico, but a new Spanish King lifted the prohibition and granted
the second generation of the Cuervo family the first license to
produce tequila for a commercial market. Tequila became an icon
of Mexican nationality, pride and culture, and recognized worldwide
Categories of Tequila
100% Blue Agave and Mixto (minimum of 51% Blue Agave)
Types of Tequila Blanco (Plata - White - Platinum) Unaged. Joven (Oro - gold) Reposado (means aged or rested) aged blanco for 2 -11 months in charred barrels. Añejo (extra aged) aged blanco for 1 - 3 years in charred barrels. Extra Añejo (ultra aged - Maduro - Vintage) aged blanco for more than 3 years in oak barrels.Tthese are very high-end Tequilas that are very
expensive. Some even age in casks that had previously been used
for French wine and brandies.
January 17, 2006, Mexico and the United States signed the Tequila
Trade Agreement, which stated that Tequila can be imported in
bulk then bottled in the U.S. In March of 2006 the Norma Official
Mexicana created a new ultra-age category for Tequila called Maduro.
This Tequila is aged a minimum of three years in oak barrels from
France and Canada and produces a superior and smooth spirit that
is often called the Cognac of Tequila.
Other types include: Liqueur, Créme, Infusion, and Flavored.
are over two hundred types of agave plants,
but the best is the weber blue agave plant. An agave plant
takes almost ten (sometimes 12) years to mature. When it matures
a flower stalk grows straight up through the plant. If allowed
to grow it will bloom yellow flowers, but if the agave farmer
chops off the stalk, the plant will swell inside the piña, creating
a large bulb that will fill with a sweet, juicy pulp. The piña is used to make Tequila. The piña (means
“pineapple” because it looks kind of like a pineapple)
can weigh as much as one hundred pounds. The piñas
are cut, baked, and then crushed to extract the sweet agave
juice used to make Tequila.
Mezcal (sometimes spelled Mescal)
Made from a variaty of agave plants.
what's up with the worm?The worm is only found
in Mescal Tequila. Mescal is a mixto. And the worm...well,
it's really not even a worm. It's a butterfly larve/caterpillar
and is only used in a few varieties of Mescal (it's also suppose
to be an aphrodisiac). It's also a big marketing ploy.
has a "Tequila
Express" tour that begins with a train ride
through fields if agave and ends with a tour of their distillery
and the Tequila making process. There is a short clip of it below.