A spirit that is only produced in two region of Mexico and that is made from a minimum of 51% of distilled blue agave sap.
Tequila isnít just an ingredient in some popular drinks, such as the margarita and tequila sunrise. It is also a spirit that has an interesting history. Itís well known name is derived from a town located in central Mexico. In addition to being named after the town in Jalisco, Tequila is also considered to be Mexicoís national drink because it has been a huge part in the nationís culture, history, and ecology.
Aztecs and other civilizations in the region known today as Mexico City began producing pulque, an alcoholic beverage, centuries prior to the Spanish conquest. The drink was created by extracting and fermenting agave juice in much the same way as youíd see in the production of beer.
Once the Spanish arrived and conquered Mexico, cultures began to mix. The new additions to the population were familiar with the techniques used to create liquor. They used this knowledge to distill an extract that was akin to pulque in order to create mezcal wine, or what would come to be known as Tequila. The refinement process used prompted the name Tequila, which eventually began to mean that the spirit was created in the Tequila region using certain production methods.
Tequila is created by fermenting and distilling the extract from a blue agave plant. The plan is often thought of as a cactus, but is actually considered a succulent.
In order to be an actual Agave Tequila, which is the most superb and desired of its kind, the spirit has to be created through strict manufacturing and quality control standards and by using only a particular genus of the agave plant. In addition, the Mexican registering organization has authorized certain areas in which the spirit can be produced, which are located in areas in and around Tequila.
There are various classifications used to distinguish between Tequila. Reposado is Tequila that has been rested in wooden casks or tanks for at least two months. Anejo is also aged, but in wooden barrels for at least a year. Blanco or Silver Tequila is clear and have been aged inside of stainless steel tanks for a maximum of 60 days. And last, but not least, is Gold Tequila, which is silver tequila that has not been aged and has used caramel to add flavor and color.
Blue agave is instrumental in the production of fine Tequila. The large plant has long leaves, is spiny, and is bluish-green in color. The plant is allowed to grow for ten years, until it is mature. At that point, a jimador, or a harvester, cuts the leaves that radiate from the plant, which are baked and then crushed in order to remove the sugary liquid inside. Next comes fermentation and distillation, and what is created is white Tequila.
While Tequila is a tasty ingredient in many popular drinks, it is thought to be the perfect beverage to be consumed straight up. It is said that the characteristic flavors are best enjoyed when Tequila is served as room temperature. However, something is to be said for the smooth, syrupy consistency is gets when served frozen.
Whether you prefer to add Tequila to your favorite drink recipe, enjoy it with an infusion of lime, sip it over ice, or have it as is at room temperature, you can be sure that there are no wrong ways to drink this tasty spirit.
The following is an exerpt from one of The Raven's articles.
Tequila and the Worm. Many of those reading probably already know this, but tequila never has a worm in it. Well, except maybe a few novelty brands. The association of Mexican liquor and worms actually comes from the parent group of tequila, mescal. Properly defined, mescal is any liquor fermented from the agave plant. Tequila is any mescal distilled entirely from the blue agave and produced in the Tequila region of Mexico. Much like champagne, tequila is simply a regional instance of a larger type of booze. The worm comes from a mostly unrelated mescal, and was not put in the bottle so you could prove how tough you are. The worm was used to prove that the liquor in the bottle was the strength that the salesman was telling you. If the booze had been cut with water, the worm would still be alive. If you follow the logic, the booze in the bottle is strong enough to kill a worm. Makes you want to drink a whole bunch, doesnít it?