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What Plant Is Tequila Made Out Of

What Is Tequila Made From

Making tequila, harvesting a blue agave plant in Mexico

The rules governing the production of tequila in Mexico are as strict as those that designate the wine appellations in France. Thats why the good stuff is good. Read on.

Homemade classic margarita drink with lime and salt, selective focus

Fraya is a chef and a contributing writer at Food Network.

Modern tequila production began in Mexico in the 1600s, but individual communities were making it as far back as the year 250. Youre probably familiar with the cocktails it has inspired, but lets take a look at how its made, the different varieties and how it’s different from Mezcal.

Why Can Tequila Only Be Made In Mexico

Tequila is fermented and distilled from a single type of agave plant, Agave tequilana Weber blue. Tequila is not smoky because the agave hearts are steamed or kilned during production it can only be produced in Jalisco, and designated areas in four other Mexican states.

100 Percent Agave Tequila List

  • Tarantula Azul Tequila. 3.8 out of 5 stars.
  • El Padrino Blanco Tequila. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
  • Porfidio Tequila Extra Anejo 3 Year Agave. 5 out of 5 stars.
  • Agavales Especial Gold 100% Agave. 4.6 out of 5 stars.
  • Agavales 100% Agave Reposado. 5 out of 5 stars.
  • Cazul 100 Silver.

The History Of Tequila

In the 16th Century, in Mexico, the Spanish conquistadors produced the first tequila. They ran out of brandy and decided to distill the agave plant.

Around 80-years later, in Jalisco, Mexico, the Marquis of Altamira mass-produced the spirit. By 1806 his tequila was being taxed by the colonial governor of Nueva Galicia.

Tequila was first exported to the United States by Don Cenobio Sauza. He was the founder of Sauza Tequila. The original name was Tequila Extract which he shortened to Tequila.

His grandson, Don Franciso Javier, is the reason why real tequila is only produced in Mexico. He insisted that there cannot be tequila where there are no agaves!.

After production, tequila is then exported in bulk to the United States. Once there, its bottled at bottling plants and sold to the mass market.

In 2004, the Tequila Regulatory Council of Mexico allowed flavored tequila to have the tequila name. Before this, flavored tequila was not allowed to use the name.

In 2013, China finally lifted the ban on 100% blue agave tequila. This caused a 20% increase in tequila exports.

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What Plant Is Tequila Made From

Tequila is made from Webers blue agave plant . This is a blue-gray succulent plant native to Mexico. Its leaves are spiky and fleshy and can grow over 7ft long.

The plant takes about seven years to reach maturity. It needs careful tending during this time.

The agave farmers do everything by hand. From planting and tending to harvest. The knowledge of agave cultivation is passed down through the generations.

At about 5-years-old, the agave sprouts a stalk that can reach 16 ft high. The agave farmers need to know when and how to trim the stalk . This allows the plant to ripen completely. If they dont trim it at regular intervals, it will flower and die early.

Only the piñas get used for making tequila. They need to harvest the piña at the perfect time. Too early or too late and it wont have enough carbohydrates for fermentation. Agave farmers use a special knife called a coa to trim the leaves away from the stalk.

Agave piñas are large and average between 150lbs and 240lbs. The bigger piñas are grown in the highlands while the smaller ones are in the valley.

Why Is Tequila Different From Other Alcohol

Agave Tequilana

Unlike the other 6 types of liquor, tequila is only made in one part of the world.

Mexico is the only place in the world where tequila production is allowed. The name Tequila is the copyright of the Mexican government.

All the activities related to tequila are overseen by the Norma Oficial Mexicana . This includes the supply of the agave to the production of the spirit and everything after.

If a tequila should have a NOM identifier on the bottle . If it doesnt have this then its not authentic or regulated by the Mexican government.

This code also indicates which distillery the bottle comes from. Each distillery is assigned a NOM number by the Mexican government. You can use the NOM number to find out where it was made.

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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

The Blue Agave Plant Only Has One Life To Give

It doesnt help efficiency that blue agave is a one-time use plant. Once theyre finally ready to harvest, the agave plants have their piñas or hearts called that because they end up looking like pineapples ripped out. Those are the parts that will be steamed, crushed, and fermented into tequila.

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The Differences Between Tequila And Mezcal Explained

Agave is a magical plant. With over 200 known species, many of which can be made into myriad byproducts, it is a diverse, multifaceted entity. Perhaps the best-known uses for agave are tequila and mezcal.

Whether sipped neat or served in a Margarita, tequila is one of Americas favorite spirits and its on the rise. Last year, tequila consumption grew 7.4 percent.

Mezcal is relatively new to the States, but it is picking up steam as unique bottles with innovative flavors and strong tradition are increasingly available. Both are staples for any good bar or beverage program.


Pathogens Affecting The Plant

The Tequila Plant | Agave

As agave production has moved to an industrial scale since the end of the 1980s, diseases and pests, collectively referred to as TMA , have hit the crops. Through the 1990s, diseases spread, particularly Fusarium fungi and Erwinia bacteria, exacerbated by the low genetic diversity of the agave plants. Other problems include the agave weevil, Scyphophorus acupunctatus, and a fungus, Thielaviopsis paradoxa.

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From Plant To Bottle Find Out How Traditional Tequila Is Made

Tequila drinkers are largely unaware of the labor and history that goes into every bottle. From the men who tend and harvest the maguey with techniques untouched by modern agriculture, to hand painted ceramic bottles, Tequila is steeped in Mexican tradition.

First, the hijuelos, shoots carefully plucked from the base of mother agaves, are planted by hand. As the hijuelos mature they are meticulously trimmed. It is not uncommon to find three generations of jimadores working side by side, inspecting the agaves for pests barbering leaves to fatten the heart of the agave, the piña or removing the quiote, the large flowering stalk that would rob the agave of energy.

Quiotes begin to develop during the fifth or sixth year of the plants life. When they are sufficiently ripe for Herradura Tequila its no earlier than 10 years the agaves are harvested using a coa, a flat razor-sharp blade on a long pole. A skilled jimador can remove the leaves from the piña in just a few strikes and harvest two tons of piñas in a days work.

One variety of agave is used to make tequila: the Agave tequilana, or agave azul. The plant is grown on the volcanic highlands and fertile valleys near the town of Tequila, Jalisco in Mexico and in a few other states.Based on its hearty constitution and superior production of aguamiel, the sweet sap fermented and distilled to make tequila, the agave azul was selected in the late 19th century to be the only varietal used in tequila production.

Ever Sip On A Margarita And Wonder What Is Tequila Made From We Break Down What You Need To Know About Mexico’s Most Famous Spirit

In a cocktail, as a shooter or as a spirit to sip on, tequila in all its forms remains super popular. Its not hard to find a good tequila, either. But theres more to tequila than meets the eye. You might be surprised to learn how tequila is made and what types of tequila you can buy.

Mix yourself a margarita on the rocksits time to learn all about tequila.

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Whats The Difference Between Gold And Silver Tequila

Silver tequila also called blanco or white is characterized by its clear appearance. Silver tequila has this color because it is bottled directly after being distilled. It is either aged for a very short period of up to two months or not aged at all. Because of this, some people see silver tequila as often being harsh to drink. It can be either 100 percent agave or a mix.

There are two reasons why gold tequila gets its color. One reason is that it could have been aged in barrels for over a year and gradually absorbed the color and flavor of the wood. The more likely reason is that caramel or other coloring was added to the liquor. These additives make the tequila smoother and easier to drink. This also means that this kind of tequila is often not 100 percent agave.

Whether it be in the form of a margarita or a shot with lime and salt, come enjoy some tequila at Chapala Mexican Restaurant at either of our two locations!

How To Grow And Care For An Tequila Agave

Tequila Don Julio Jimadors Harvest Agave

If you are considering getting an Agave tequilana plant, then what are you waiting for!? This succulent has a nice and shiny pink flower when it blooms. It is a beautiful yet easy-to-care plant that will surely catch everyones attention while also making your garden an exceptional place.

Heres how you can take care of it:

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What Kinds Tequila Are There

There are several kinds of tequila: blanco, joven, reposado, anejo, and extra anejo. Each of these names relates to how long the tequila has been aged. You can technically age tequila for as long as you want, but there arent many brands out there that age it for longer than seven to ten years .

The most obvious difference between these types of tequilas is their color, which is influenced by their age. Some tequila is clear, while others are a golden color, and others are a dark caramel color. A general rule of thumb regarding the colors of tequila is that the longer it is aged, the darker the color will be. The only time when this rule does not apply is when some companies simply add coloring to their tequila to change the color, and it is not actually aged. Most of the time, however, it is safe to assume that a dark-colored tequila has been aged significantly longer than a clear-colored one.

Tequila Is Legally Required To Be Only 51% Blue Agave

Tequila is made from blue agave, but it does not have to be 100% agave. Many tequilas will advertise themselves as 100% Blue Agave, but the legal requirement is 51%. Distillers are allowed to fill out the rest with a neutral spirit made from cane sugar juice, creating what is known as a mixto tequila. Generally, no surprise, these are thought to be lower quality.

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All Cuervo Tequila Is Made In Central Mexico

Specifically, the central Mexican town of Tequila in the state of Jalisco. According to the Declaration for the Protection of the Denomination of Origin , only alcoholic beverages made with Blue Agave or Agave Azul grown in the states of Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, Guanajuato and Tamaulipas can be labeled tequila. No agave grown outside this region, including other countries, can be used for any product labeled as tequila.

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The Role Of Yeast On Tequila Rum Vodka Quality

The Plant Tequila’s Made From

As one of the most important alternative for improving fermentation productivity of alcoholic beverages is to use a strain of yeast/coculture capable of both efficiently converting sugars into alcohol and producing the appropriate organoleptic compounds that impart pleasant aroma to the final product.

In another study, the performances of different non-Saccharomyces yeasts were compared to one Saccharomyces yeast strain in tequila fermentation under industrial conditions, and all yeasts were isolated from agave musts. According to the results, agave tequilana juice was fermented at an industrial level using two non-Saccharomyces yeasts with fermentation efficiency higher than 85%. Pichia kluyveri was more efficient for alcohol and ethyl lactate production than S. cerevisiae , while K. marxianus produced more iso-butanol and ethyl-acetate than S. cerevisiae . The level of volatile compounds at the end of fermentation was compared with the tequila standard regulation. All volatile compounds were within the allowed range except for methanol, which was higher for S. cerevisiae and K. marxianus . The variations in methanol may have been caused by the Agave tequilana used for the tests, since this compound is not synthesized by these yeasts .

Using of non-Saccharomyces yeasts for production of sensorial accepted products from Agave americana L. and panela honey such as comiteco spirit was demonstrated .

Giselle M.A. Martínez-Noël, Jorge A. Tognetti, in, 2018

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Is Tequila A Vodka

There are some major differences between tequila and vodka, though they are both distilled spirits: Tequila is made from the blue agave plant and vodka is made from a starch or sugar rich plant. Tequila is distilled into five different types, while vodka only has one form. Tequila is more expensive than vodka.

Tequila Does Not Cause A Hangover

It depends. It is said that a 100% agave tequila, if taken neat, does not cause a hangover the next day. Some factors that influence the effects of hangovers have to do with the amount and frequency of alcohol consumed.

Finally, if someone tells you that an authentic tequila can be made anywhere in the world where agave grows, it is a lie. The tequila has to be Mexican as its Denomination of Origin indicates it. It is produced in Jalisco, in addition to certain regions of Nayarit, Michoacán, Guanajuato and Tamaulipas.

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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.

How To Care For A Tequila Plant

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Every gardener knows that plants can make fantastic conversation starters, so if you have your heart set on growing a tequila plant , then you probably have a good idea about where the conversation is headed. Of course, the best way to spark curiosity about the plant in the first place is to grow a tall, thriving one whose very presence commands attention.

You’ll probably grow your tequila plant indoors unless you live in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9b to 10b, where the warm climate should help nurture it outdoors. Knowing how to care for your tequila plant is the first step in getting a good conversation started among cocktail lovers and teetotalers alike.

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Your Tequila Plant Stands Out

Tequila plants are also known as blue agave because of their bluish-gray, spear-shaped leaves, which often shoot up to 5 feet tall but can extend to 8 feet. There are nearly 170 species of agave, but your guests should be interested to know that only one can be used to make tequila, Avas Flowers says. Your blue agave is the one that owns this distinction.

Before you get anyone’s hopes up, tequila production is best left to the professionals. Tequila is produced only in Mexico, which makes sense when you consider that the blue agave is a succulent that is native to that country, according to the World of Succulents. Besides, it takes more than 11 pounds of blue agave to make one bottle of tequila, says, and it’s a long, complicated process that can take up to 20 years.

The Tahona Process Is As Crafty As It Gets

Tequila can be as artisan as the most artisany crafty tiny spirit out there. Even if its made by a big producer. See, tequila is made by steaming and crushing those massive piñas. One way those piñas can be crushed is the Tahona processbasically dragging a massive volcanic wheel over the steamed agave hearts. Traditionally, and in at least one place, still done by donkey. If use of a donkey isnt artisan, we dont know what is.

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