Harvesting The Blue Agave
An agave plant usually takes between 8 -12 years to grow to its full size and weighs approximately 40-100 Kg. The Jimador who is a Mexican farmer specialising in the harvesting The blue agave plant is actually a succulent of the agave plant He uses a coa to harvest the agave by first cutting away the outer leaves of the agave, leaving only the centre fruit known as the Piña .
At La Alteña to this day, every step from harvesting the agave to bottling, is done by hand, in the most traditional way.
The Jimador harvesting the agave plant cutting away the outer leaves
The Piñas are then taken back to the distillery and axed in half and a V shaped bitter wedge is removed from near the root . Many of the more modern distilleries use chain/rip saws or different machinery in order to save time and lower costs of manpower.
Halving the piñas by hand at Distileria La Alteña
Difference Between Mezcal And Tequila
While both beverages can get the job done, its important to point out that tequila and mezcal are not the same thing. In fact, theyre two completely different liquors.
As we already noted, tequila must be made only from the blue agave in five Mexican states. Mezcal, on the other hand, can be made from any kind of agave and in eight Mexican states. Most of the Mezcal produced today comes from the Oaxaca region.
The Necessary Ingredient In Tequila
Tequila is made from the blue agave plant, a member of the succulent family, native to Mexico . The plant grows particularly well in dry soil at an altitude of 5,000 feet or higher and is pollinated by bats .
People who harvest agave are known as jimadors and they are considered specialists in their field who pass down agave knowledge through the generations . The tequila-making process begins with the core or piña of the plant, which is revealed when the agave’s spiky leaves are stripped away by the jimadors.
The core of the plant is referred to as the piña because it resembles a huge pineapple. Each piña can weigh between 80 and 300 pounds . The piñas are juiced by first heating and then crushing them, and the liquid that is extracted is fermented and distilled to become tequila . To produce one liter of tequila, around 15 pounds of piña is used.
Read Also: Svedka Dragonfruit Melon Recipes
Best Cristalino: 1800 Cristalino
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Sweet, Smooth, Peppery
A recent innovation, cristalino is made by stripping the color from aged tequila. Its essentially a way to circumvent the steep pricing of agave due to crop shortages by using what distillers already have in stock. The 1800 Cristalino is a good bottle to uncork when drinking with non-tequila fans. Blended from 16-month-old añejo aged in American and French oak, its rested for an additional six months in former port barrels before double filtering. As youd expect, its sweet on the nose and the palate, with a luscious mouthfeel, but it finishes with some of the pepperiness that bespeaks the agave. Sip this neat or on ice.
What Makes Tequila Sunrise Red
The signature red sunrise effect is created simply by pouring Grenadine in. Because its a heavy syrup, it sinks to the bottom when poured into the tequila-orange juice.
To achieve the cleanest sunrise effect ie. red on bottom, retain orange colour on top, drizzle the syrup down the side of the glass using the back of a teaspoon.
Otherwise, just drizzle it down the inside of the glass straight from the bottle.
Dont just pour it in the middle of the glass if you do this, the syrup discolours the orange juice more.
You May Like: What Proof Is Bacardi Rum
Don’t Miss: What To Mix With Malibu Strawberry
When To Serve Tequila Sunrise
Make Tequila Sunrises all through the warm months, by the pool, for tropical themed gatherings and just anytime you want to pick up the mood with a vibrant colourful drink to get the party started!
Its a good drink to serve thats not overly potent so its a sensible choice for outdoor functions on hot summer days .
Recommended Reading: What To Mix With Jim Beam Honey Whiskey
What Is Tequila Made From
Tequila is a type of mezcal, a spirit produced from agave. Unlike mezcal, which can be made from a number of different agave varieties, tequila is only made with Webers blue agave or agave tequilana. Confused? Its kind of like how all scotch is whiskey but not all whiskey is scotch.
The blue agave thrives in Mexico, in the highlands of Jalisco. It takes over seven years to reach maturity! Once mature, agave farmers harvest the large succulents by removing the leaves and exposing the hearts which are sent off to a distillery.
Don’t Miss: 1800 Silver Mixed Drinks
From There Its Popularity Took On A Life Of Its Own And Became The Base For Famous Mixed Drinks And More
During the Prohibition era in the United States, scofflaws started to drink tequila more in the states or traveled to Tijuana to get their fix. Historic folklore claims that the margarita drink was first created in a bar in Tijuana owned by an Irishman known as Madden. By 1974, the term “tequila” was declared as the intellectual property of the Mexican government. This means tequila needs to come from certain areas of Mexico in order to be considered legitimate tequila and the Tequila Regulatory Council was established to uphold the quality and culture surrounding the liquor.
So next time you order a round of shots with salt and lime, consider the fact that the beverage you’re drinking spans several millennia, cultural shifts, and so much more. If you want to become a self-taught expert, you can learn more about the difference between mezcal and tequila here.
Can You Eat Agave Plant
The plants parts that have culinary uses include agave leaves, agave fruit, agave nectar, and agave nectar powder. Often, people toss the flowers into salads due to their edibility. Its leaves are tastier and richer in agave sap than any other plant, and its stalk can be roasted before it blooms. As a result, the flavor is distinctively sweet and molasses-like.
Read Also: Malibu Coconut Rum Punch Recipes
Also Check: 100% Agave Tequila Brands Cheap
How Strong Is Tequila
When sold in Latin America, tequila can be as low as 35% ABV according to each countrys local laws. Meanwhile, any alcoholic spirit must be at least 40% ABV in the European Union and North America.
Usually, the alcohol is hydrated, which means that it is simply cut with pure water. Most large-scale brands will usually retail their tequilas at exactly 40% as it means that they can sell a greater quantity.
Alternatively, a few distillers may distil to proof, which involves a careful distillation process where the resulting distillate is immediately bottled without hydration. Tequila that is distilled to proof tends to be above 55% ABV.
When ageing the tequila, this can be particularly challenging as the angels share will alter the alcohol content as it evaporates. Nevertheless, some distillers have mastered the technique into an art-form.
Blanco Silver Or White Tequila
Blanco tequila is a transparent spirit that isnt necessarily completely colorless and is diluted with water, to the proper bottling ABV. To be considered a Blanco or silver tequila, you can mature or age the spirit in oak barrels for zero to two months. If you age your Blanco tequila for more than two months, it will be considered a Reposado tequila. Which well cover next.
Read Also: Empress Color Changing Gin
Should Tequila Be Refrigerated
The simple answer is no you do not need to refrigerate or even freeze Tequila once you open the bottle.
Distilled spirits like rum, tequila, Licor 43, vodka, or gin are perfectly fine when stored at room temperature or just a little bit lower.
Store them in a dark and cool place and you can use them for years.
Recommended Reading: What Do You Mix With Reposado Tequila
Which Tequila Is The Smoothest
Ocho Aejo What is the smoothest tequila? The smoothest tequila is often regarded to be Ocho Aejo, an estate-grown spirit brand that also bears the title of the first ever Tequila vintage. The Aejo is rich and vegetal with notes of vanilla and caramel and is aged in ex-American whiskey barrels for one year.
Read Also: Svedka Flavored Vodka Calories
The Spanish Invasion Led To A Distillation Process For Agave
Many believe that the Spanish invasion of the Aztec civilization in the 1500s marks the beginning of a distillation process used for the agave plant to make tequila. When brandy supplies ran low, Spaniards used mud and agave to create a drink . By the early 1600s the Marquis of Altamira built the first large-scale distillery in what is now Tequila, Jalisco. Jalisco is where the majority of tequila is produced to this day.
How Is Tequila Made
The process starts as the piñas bake in special ovens. This converts all the starch in the piñas into sugara must for fermenting into alcohol. The next step is shredding and pressing the piñas, releasing all the sugars. Many producers add yeast to kick off fermentation, though some allow native wild yeasts to get things going. This juice ferments for up to four days before being distilled to reach the minimum alcohol content required by law. From here, the tequila is either bottled or aged.
Tequila can only be produced in five states in Mexico: Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, Guanajuato and Tamaulipas. Most tequila is made in Jalisco, where the sandy soil is ideal for growing blue agave.
You May Like: Drinks With Jim Beam Honey
What Is A 100% Agave Tequila
A 100% De Agave or 100% Puro De Agave tequila is made entirely from fermented, distilled blue agave. They are substantially more expensive than mixed tequila, but they possess superior flavor and quality. Tacos from brands such as Patron, Herradura, Don Julio, and Cazadores are made from 100% agave tequila.
Read Also: Svedka Bottle Sizes
Cooking The Blue Agave
The piñas are then placed into large brick or stone horno ovens where the raw agave is steamed at low temperatures for between 22 and 56 hours. Historically, the process took place in earthen pits. Yet, this is rare for tequila and is usually used for making mezcal instead.
Contrary to popular belief, the blue agave piñas are not baked or roasted. By using steam, the piñas become soft and the fructan and inulin are converted to fructose.
Some modern operations may use autoclave pressure ovens. However, although larger and much faster, the higher temperatures arent as effective at removing bitter flavours. Nevertheless, while less authentic, professionals claim that it can proposer cleaner flavours.
In any case, these arent quite as poor as diffusers, which work on an industrial scale to chemically extract juice from the agave.
Also Check: Skyy Vodka Blood Orange Recipes
Most Versatile: Corralejo Reposado
Region: Guanajuato, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Honey, Peppercorn, Oak
Jenny Harris, bar manager of San Diego’s Point Loma Fish Shop, says you cant lose with this reposado produced at Tequilera Corralejo. Located east of Jalisco in the neighboring state of Guanajuato, this distillery is rated among tequilas top 100 by the Sanschagrins Tequila Matchmaker user base. This reposado is aged in American oak barrels, giving off an oaky profile that Harris particularly likesalong with flavors of peppercorn, honey, and, of course, agave. Its a tequila that starts with a woody, nutty aroma, rolls sweetly over the palate, and finishes with a slightly bitter spiciness.
Neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail, is always going to be delicious and smooth. Jenny Harris, bar manager of San Diego’s Point Loma Fish Shop
How Long Does Tequila Production Take
Overall, the production process can take up to 20 years to conclude. And thats typically for a single bottle. However, the tequila must go through further approval steps once production is done before being sold. This means the substance must be approved by higher raked personnel, taking months to years.
Read Also: Is Svedka Gluten Free
Harvesting Or Purchasing The Agave Plants
Depending on the tequila company, this first step could go two ways. Usually, a couple of them choose just to purchase the already-harvested plants from farmers because it takes less time than harvesting. As mentioned, the blue agave plant can take up to 12 years to fully develop, and if tequila making is a primary source of income, some producers need a quicker method. On the other hand, those who choose to harvest the plants will wait the necessary time before using a coa tool to gather them.
Extracting The Sweet Agave Juices
Those sweet juices found inside the baked agave now need to be extracted. Just like every other step in the process, tequila distilleries employ different methods.
The majority of the time, mechanical shredders are used to pulverize and separate the agave fibers, allowing the sweet juice, or mosto, to be collected for fermentation. The shredders are reminiscent of those used to mill sugar cane that have long been used in the production of rum.
A handful of tequila distilleries choose to do it the old-school way, with a tahona, a large wheel often made from volcanic rock that rolls around a stone pit, crushing the agave and extracting the juice as it goes. Using the tahona wheel is a very traditional method and it was originally pulled by horses, mules, or oxen. Today’s tahonas are operated either by tractors or a central engine that slowly moves the arm attached to the wheel around the pit, but they require a worker or two to work the pit as the 2-ton wheel crushes the agave. Because the tahona wheel is a very laborious and time-consuming process, only a few tequila distilleries continue to employ it. Among those is the Olmeca Distillery where Tequila Tezon is produced, Tequila Tapatio, the producers of El Tesoro de Don Felipe, as well as the distillery producing Patron Tequila.
Also Check: Good Jim Beam Mixed Drinks
They’re Produced In Different Regions
While there is some geographical overlap, tequila and mezcal primarily come from different regions of Mexico. According to McEvoy, tequila is produced in five places: Michoacán, Guanajuato, Nayarit, Tamaulipas and Jalisco, which is where the actual town of Tequila is located.
Conversely, mezcal is produced in nine different areas of Mexico. The include include Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Michoacán, Puebla and Oaxaca, which is where upwards of 85 percent of all mezcal is made.
Join Our Next Virtual Cocktail Class
Join us Thursday, Sept. 2, at 7 p.m. for Boston.coms Cocktail Club with host Jackson Cannon and his special guest Brian Hoefling, author of The Cocktail Seminars. This week they are exploring craft updates of disco era cocktails, catching up about the Boston restaurant and bar scene, and sharing tips the pros use to make great drinks at home. Theyll be mixing the Morgenthaler update of the amaretto sour and exploring the origin recipe for the drink that became the tequila sunrise. Everything you need is in the shopping list here.
Don’t Miss: Svedka Blue Raspberry Carbs
Where Is Tequila From
The first tequila distillery was in the town of Tequila, in the state of Jalisco. Much like the way in which France controls the wine regions and naming of wines, Mexico controls the regions where tequila can be produced. The state of Jalisco is the largest area that produces tequila with the seal of approval, and there are other smaller areas near some cities in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit and Tamaulipas. If you’re interested in purchasing some high-quality tequila, head over to our spotlight on 11 Mexican- and Mexican American-Owned Tequila & Mezcal Brands You Need to Know.
What Type Of Tequila Should I Use
More affordable types of tequila like silver or gold will work like a charm in this recipe. These varieties have a stronger tequila flavor than other types, but we all know the taste of tequila is such a wonderful combination with fruit juices.
If youre looking for a more mild flavor, try using aÃ±ejo tequila. While its more expensive, this variety is extremely smooth. I dont suggest using mezcal unless you know youd enjoy smokiness mixed with the fruity flavor of the cocktail.
Don’t Miss: Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea Nutrition Facts
Step : Prep And Clean The Pot Still
An important part of the process, prepping and cleaning the pot still maximizes the quality of the distillate. It creates a pure tequila free of unwanted impurities.Once the still and all equipment are properly cleaned, the tequila is poured into the still. Unwanted particles and sediments cause the distillation to burn and can soil the final product. Because of this, a siphon is used to reduce sediment build up.
Best Value: Pueblo Viejo Blanco
courtesy of Checkersliquors.com
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: White pepper, Agave, Mint
Tequila’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, and the top bottles now command cultish prices formerly reserved for the rarest of Scotches and small-batch bourbons. But there are still plenty of great values for those with the patience to seek them outand it’s hard to think of an inexpensive tequila that over-delivers on quality quite like Pueblo Viejo. A secret favorite in the mixologist comminity, Pueblo Viejo blanco is crafted using 100 percent blue Weber agave, which is cooked in stone and brick ovens and crushed by a traditional rolling mill called a tahona. The classically-made tequila boasts a nose of white pepper and a rustic, unapologetic palate replete with bright agave and fresh mint.
Once you claw your way through the limited-production bottlings and the celebrity vanity projects, you’ll discover that solid tequila can still be found at budget pricesand the Pueblo Viejo blanco is Exhibit A.