Tequila is a delicious drink that (thanks God!) we find easily and at a very affordable price. Ok, it’s not like that either, like… I was going to say “like a cachaça” but I remembered the value of an Anísio Santiago, shouting there on the liquor shelf (about R$ 200.00).
Tequila’s value for money
Credits: Phillip Jefferis
Well, in any case, it’s worth it! Value for money is great! And after researching with A LOT of people I discovered that it is not my impression, it gives a different “breeze”, you will agree with me (as well as Jagermeister, that DAMN German Herb distillate).
Back to tequila…
Forgetting the King of the Staff Bar and going back to Tequila… It’s in the spirits category, but before distillation, it goes through fermentation, with yeast, to extract the Tequila base.
the agave thing
The base is the juice of a plant, Agave Azul or Agave Tequilano , a plant that grows very well in volcanic soil and arid climate and needs 8 to 10 years of age to be ready for production.
After being cut (jimado), the core looks like a white pineapple. This crumb is called Piña or Cabeza. On a typical day, the jimador catches up to a ton of piñas weighing between 30 and 60 kilos each.
How many agaves can you make a Jangada, I mean, Tequila?
It takes 7 kilos of Blue Agave to produce 1 liter of tequila. So a single Agave produces several liters.
The piñas are taken to distilleries to be steamed in large stone ovens for over 48 hours and cooled for another 14 hours before being taken out of the ovens to convert the fibers into fermentable sugar.
After this step, they are placed in special mills to extract all the sugar and the result is a rich liquid called “ Aguamiel ”, a very suggestive name, uh!? This is then placed in autoclaves for cooking. As in wine or beer fermentation tanks, yeasts are used to get to the wort.
Yeasts, fermentation and… Wine?
Natural yeast is added for fermentation, which breaks the sugar molecules into alcohol, transforming it into an Agave wine (sacrilegious to use this term since Wine from anything other than Grapes – Vittis, is not Wine, but here is my correction ) which has 10 to 12% alcohol content. So we have the base of nectar.
This must be distilled 56 times, discarding its beginning and end to get the best of the distillation. Finally, the tequila that is born “ Blanca ” is rested or aged.
Filtering and bottling
Credits: Ramon Morales
Before bottling, the drink is then filtered and its alcohol content is reduced to around 40º. ??To improve its softness, individuality and aroma, the filtered product is stored in old oak barrels, where it will age undisturbed. To be called Tequila, the spirit must be at least 51% Blue Agave.
Mexican Tequila Law
Tequila is produced in a demarcated region, as are the wines. This region, demarcated by Mexican Law, is in the State of Jalisco in places like Amatitan, Arandas, Zapotlanejo, Guadalajara and Tequila, from where the name of the “ Regalo de los Dioses ” originated.
Tequila aromas and colors
Credits: Andreas Reinhold
Strongly aromatic, the drink has different degrees of color, flavor and aroma according to some classifications. As with other quality beverages, the entire process undergoes small variations, in this case regarding the way of cooking, pressing, fermenting, distilling and aging, according to the particularity of each distillery. These small variations + the characteristics of the origin, type, quality and percentage of agave used are what will give each brand its characteristic and particular personality.
Types of Tequila
Tequila can be divided into Blended (eg José Cuervo Silver/Gold/Black) or 100% Agave (eg José Cuervo Tradicional/Reserva de La Familia). Both qualities are delicious, however, 100% Agave Tequilas have the traditional Tequila flavor more pronounced.
Credits: Bill Bumgarner
In addition to this, we can classify them by aging time: Blanco, Jovem, Reposado, Añejo or Extra Añejo, in ascending order of aging time. Aging period in oak barrels of each denomination:
- Blanco Tequila – no aging (eg Blanco Sauza).
- Young Tequila – up to 2 months (usually Silver, such as José Cuervo Clássica)
- Tequila Reposado – about 6 months (Ex.: José Cuervo Gold)
- Añejo Tequilas – more than 2 years. (Ex.: José Cuervo Black)
- Tequila Extra-Añejo – more than 3 years (Ex.: Chinaco Negro Extra Añejo – 5 years. Don Lunas – 10 years)
All these standards are required by the Mexican government for marketing the product.
I make it clear that I do not have any Profit Sharing for José Cuervo or Aurora Importadora. It’s just the easiest brand to find in any bigger market, so… easier to see! I usually take Patrón Añejo myself, but I’ve never seen it to buy here.
Back to tequila again
Well, moving on… The most widespread way of consumption is to put salt around the glass (salt ring) or in the hand, between the thumb and index finger, lick the salt, drink it quickly (turn in the shot) and soon after, bite a lemon quarter.
Like other luxury drinks, tequila has a special glass to be tasted, the “caballito”, with 60 ml volume, which I already have a beautiful collection from about 19 different countries, essential souvenir!! Okay… None are from Mexico! But I’ve never been there…
It can also be enjoyed in tall stemmed glasses with a capacity of 200 ml. However, the correct way and practiced by drinkers dispenses with salt and lemon. The drink is served in an appropriate dose and undergoes a sensory analysis, or olfactory test, where aromas present due to aging characteristics can be characterized.
The tasting is slow, with small sips that pass through the entire mouth before being swallowed, where it is possible to analyze attributes such as acidity and residual taste, the aftertaste. I’m feeling in my Wine or Beer talks already! But I admit… I don’t know how to analyze tequila professionally! Better to keep quiet and do a guided tasting only of what I understand most of all… And drink the Tequila in the SAME shot!
Origin of “Shot”
Credits: Igo Alter
Despite being a versatile spirit, Tequila is known for its most famous ritual: The “shot” with salt and lemon. Nobody really knows how this all started. But legend has it that it was during a worldwide flu epidemic in 1918, that some doctors began to prescribe “Tequila shots” as a treatment, have you ever thought what a beauty?
It was obviously no surprise that even after the epidemic, many claimed to have the flu to continue treatment. Featured in my Alternative Medicine Notebook!
The best Tequila to drink in the shot is an aged 100% Agave Tequila, that is, “Reposado” or “Añejo”. In Brazil, Tequila Jose Cuervo Clasico, Especial, Black (Blends); Traditional, 1800 Blanco, 1800 Reposado, 1800 Añejo and Reserva De La Familia (100% agave). And Sauza Tequila Blanco, Sauza Tequila Gold and Sauza Tequila Hacienda (Reposada).
Other types of tequila shots
In addition to the shot with salt and lime, or for some exotics with orange and cinnamon, in Mexico they usually drink the Mexican Flag: A shot of tequila (golden), a shot of lime juice (green) and a shot of sangrita, of tomato with typical seasoning.
drinks with tequila
Well, there are several recipes and drinks with Tequila, here at Papo de Bar, for example, we already talked about the Tequila Sunrise drink , which besides being beautiful is excellent. We also have Margarita, which I believe you know very well, is famous and very popular. It will be made by our Barmaniac and posted here on Chat de Bar, stay tuned
But if you call, the name is Margarita and not Marguerita, as many say. Easy and important tip: Margarita is drink, Marguerita is food. Just remember the green bottle of José Cuervo Margarita Mix, which doesn’t taste the same as making the drink, sure!