19th Aug 2021

The History of Tequila

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The History of Tequila

What is Tequila?

Well, Tequila is nothing but a distilled spirit that is made from the agave plant. This liquor is known to be produced only in Mexico. Tequila is the most popular liquor in today's era. It is very famous in all parts of the country but most often consumed in Mexico and the US & especially amongst youngsters. Just like vodka, tequila is also very low in carbohydrates, sugar, and calories and since the purest form of tequila is made from 100% agave it is the healthiest liquor available as it is very natural to consume. Since tequila has low nutritional value it offers the same health benefits as vodka.

Where is Tequila made?

As we just discussed, tequila is made in Mexico but the exact place where it is produced is inside the Mexican State of Jalisco and also in some other municipalities in Tamaulipas, Nayarit, Guanajuato, and Michoacán.

What is Tequila made out of?

Mezcal and Tequila both spirits are made from the agave plant (the harvested core of the agave plant). This beverage is made from fermenting the sugars after the blue agave plant is cooked.

Wondering how Tequila is made?

Tequila is distilled 2 or 3 times in the copper pots but before that, they are produced by steaming the blue agave plants inside the industrial ovens.

Molecules such as ethanol, isobutyl alcohol, and isoamyl alcohol are present in tequila, influencing the higher alcohol content in it. Tequila comes in various colors that range from dark Amber brown to simple clear distilled. The beverage’s color depends upon the type of wood used for storage and the aging process.

The authentic well-known tequila is only made from a hundred percent blue agave however there are also low-end tequilas available typically known as mixtos. They contain 51 percent agave and the rest is made up of corn syrup, molasses, or other sugars. The name mixtos is derived from the Mexican town that lies in the major city of Guadalajara.

What we read was the origin of tequila and how it is made. But the interesting part is how and why tequila is one of the most popular liquors of all time and how it is the most-liked and consumed in the present scenario. It's not just the outstanding flavor but also the strong Aroma that makes it stand out among the various categories of alcohol available.

Here's how tequila get its impeccable taste and flavor 

Flavor and aroma of Tequila 

During the fermentation process, there are almost 300 known compounds present in tequila. The flavor and taste of tequila can depend upon these components as well as the quantity and interaction of each volatile compound used in it. These volatile compounds can be categorized as organoleptic compounds that give tequila its original aroma and flavor. These compounds during the fermentation process increase in concentration and produce higher-order alcohols such as -

- Methanol

- Esters

- Carbonyls

- Terpenes

- Furans

- Propanol

It is a known fact that beverages with higher-order alcohols tend to have strong aromas. However, in the case of tequila, the depth of aroma depends upon the quantity of carbon and nitrogen ratio and also its temperature during the fermentation and cooking process. Wondering what adds the final flavor to the end product of tequila? Well, it is acetaldehyde, a compound that is produced during the oxidation process of ethanol. During the final process of distillation, the desired product of tequila is produced which is usually in the silver or white color.

The first version of Tequila (from 1000 BC)

Obviously, the tequila we know and drink today is way different from how it started in 1000 BC. In the earliest version of tequila it was made typically from the fermented sap of the agave plant. This was introduced by the Aztec civilization now in northern Mexico.

When was Tequila first produced commercially?

The distillation of tequila was initially started by the Cuervo family in the year 1758. Then in 1873,their tradition was followed by the Sauza family which are now the names of some most popular known tequila brands. From that point onwards the Sauza family identified that the blue agave plant is the best option for making tequila and that is how the production of tequila started!

The term "tequila" was given by the Mexican government by 1974 & it became the most famous base for mixed drinks.

Storage conditions for Tequila

The best part about tequila is that despite over time this liquor does not change its taste, unlike wine. Once they are bottled they don't need very strict or proper storage conditions to have their original & authentic taste. You can easily keep them in your house for years and it will still remain the same.

To ensure that the quality and taste of tequila is meeting you just need to keep in mind a few things such as temperature. Make sure to have constant and moderate temperature in the place where you keep the bottle. Also, keep in mind the proper seal of the bottle so that it does not leak. Keep it away from direct sunlight as exposure to UV rays may damage the product. If stored in improper conditions the complex flavors of it might get hampered and tainted.

What is the best time to consume Tequila after opening the bottle?

It is recommended to consume the bottle within one or two years after opening the seal as it gets oxidized as soon as you open the bottle. And in case the bottle has more space for air to fill inside the bottle the process of oxidation increases.

Types of Tequila you didn't know about-

One type of tequila we discussed above was Mixtos. But did you know that there are five more categories of tequila? Let's have a look at these four categories of tequila -

Blanco tequila (white and silver rested for not more than 60 days)

Joven tequila (unaged tequilas)

Reposado tequila (rested, aged for a minimum of 2 months)

Añejo tequila (vintage, aged for a minimum of 1 year)

Extra añejo tequila (extra aged for a minimum of 3 years)

Tequila cocktail and food recipes 

Yes, you heard that right you can incorporate tequila into food and cocktail drinks as well. It's most popularly seen that Tequila is used in salsas and marinades that are lightly cooked. However, it advised that dishes that include tequila must be served to adults only. Talking about cocktail recipes, various diverse cocktail tequila recipes are popular such as - Margarita cocktail, Paloma, sangria, Chimayo, tequila sunrise, etc.

Tequila vs Mezcal

It has been noticed that many people often get confused between tequila and mezcal as the raw materials used in both of them are the same. Mezcal is also the name of a distilled spirit just like tequila made from the agave (maguey) plant. Tequila can be denoted as Mezcal but not all mezcals are tequila. The flavor of both the liquor is different. In the case of Mezcal, the agave plant is baked to give it that authentic smoky flavor.