When it comes to alcohol, tequila might conjure up visions of crazy nights out, or the fact that you have to drink it either in margarita form, or with salt and a lime. But there is a lot more to tequila than what might first meet the eye (or taste buds).
National Tequila Day is July 24th and we wanted to make sure we celebrated the liquor the way it should be- with a knowledge of what it is, where it comes from, and what makes it just so great. So before you throw on your favorite pair of boots to head out to the bar, we’re here to let you in on everything you need to know to sound like a pro out there.
Most tequila is from Mexico
Tequila is distilled with agave plants grown in five specific regions of Mexico: in the highland Jalisco state and in limited areas in four states around the city of Tequila (makes sense, right?).
Different kinds of tequila
There are three main types: blanco (white), reposado (rested) and añejo (aged).
White tequila is the lightest, with a clean sweetness. Rested is darker and more flavorful, and Aged is the darkest variety and most complex- with earthy vanilla, oak and even whiskey tastes from the way it is aged.
How tequila is made
Tequila is made with mature blue agave (also called Pina) that takes about 8-12 years to fully grow. Once it is grown, the sharp ends of the plants are chopped off and roasted to turn the starches and proteins from the plants into fermentable sugars.
Then, the plants are crushed with a large stone to remove the sweet juice, called mosto. Next, the mosto is combined with yeast in a fermentation tank. During this, the yeast starts to eat the sugar, leaving you with a low wine. This wine is heated up, where it turns into a vapor, and is rapidly cooled to turn back into a liquid, which is the end result you know and love.
Your tequila bottle should not have a worm in it.
Despite popular legend, unless your friends are playing a joke on you, the tequila bottle you drink should not come with a worm at the bottom. No one’s positive where this originated, but just know if you do have a worm in your bottle, it’s probably not the best idea to drink it.
The Tahona Process is as Craft-y as they come
Yes, we are all well aware of craft cocktails with scotch and whiskey, and of course, craft beer. But unlike the reputation that usually follows tequila, there still is an artisan process in crafting tequila. Like we already mentioned, tequila is made by crushing huge agave, and the Tahona Process is pretty much doing that by dragging a huge volcanic wheel, over the steamed agave hearts. While this is the more traditional way, it is still alive and well in some places.
Now that you have all the knowledge you need to impress your friends, boot up (we’re partial to the Abe Canvas for really impressing your friends), head to the bar, and have a margarita for us.