Tequila and Mezcal
Tequila is a plant-based spirit that is made from the blue aguave plant in the Mexican state of Jalisco in the surrounding area of the city of Tequila. It can only be produced in this area. The first aguave-based distilled beverages can be traced back to the Aztec times, well before the arrival of the Spanish and grew in popularity over the years, to finally become mass-produced in several distilleries in Guadalajara. The harvesting of the aguave is labour-intensive as every aspect needs to be tended by hand. The harvested leaves are shredded and pressed and placed in fermentation tanks along with yeast to ferment. The fermented liquid is twice distilled to produce clear, Silver Tequila. From there, it can be put into barrels to start the ageing process. Silver Tequila is harsher in flavour with distinct forward aguave characteristics. Reposado and añejo are smoother, subtler, and more complex, with characters of the wood used in the ageing process smoothing and interating the alcohol. It is a common misconception that some premium tequilas contain a 'worm' in the bottle. Only certain mezcals (mostly from Oaxaca), are ever sold this way, and that only began as a marketing gimmick in the 1940s. Tequila has gained popularity all over the world, from tequila 'slammers' taken with salt and lime to more upmarket Tequilas that serve the premium and ultra-premium markets. In Mexico, good quality Tequila is sipped and savoured much like a single malt.