The Mexican national drink tequila is a special kind of vodka made from agave cactus. Tequila is also the most famous spirit drink in Mexico. Millions of bottles of tequila are shipped worldwide from the port of Veracruz every year. In Mexico, more than 250 types of tequila can be found and even the smallest cafes in the middle of nowhere can offers a few dozen kind of tequila to the customers.
Tequila is the same Mexican symbol as tortilla or sombrero. In Mexican restaurants, agave vodka is drunk as an aperitif and a digestive drink. Anyone who has experienced the true heat of Mexican tequila can confirm that such an evening becomes unpredictable, and the hangover of next day is almost deadly. Whoever wants to survive a night of Mexican life without major consequences should eat greasy and very spicy food before drinking more than one shot of tequila. For tourists, Mexican tequila is served with salt and lemon. The function of lemon, salt, and spicy foods is to help the body endure a drinking marathon with Mexicans. It might be said that they are very friendly people, so drinking tequila with them would be fun, but hard-to-survive experience. In Mexico, it is very rude to deny a shot of tequila when another person offers it to you and pays for it.
How Is It Made?
International rules strictly set the conditions for the use of the tequila name. According to the DOT (Denomination of Origin Tequila) and NOM (Norma Officiale Mexicana de Calidad) regulations, true tequila is produced only in a specifically defined area of 200 km² in southwestern Mexico.
Tequila can be made from wild agave or the one that is cultivated in the farms. Wild agave grows up to 4-5 m in nature. Pine, a large part of the root and stem of a mature agave that resembles a pineapple is used to make tequila. Higher productivity of agaves with a life cycle of 8-12 years is achieved in the farms. The pine suitable for removal is about a couple of meters high and weighs 20-100 kg. Harvesting and removing prickly leaves is a manual exercise that requires a lot of physical strength. It is performed by skilled chimadors who can process more than a ton of harvest per day.
The pine, collected, cleaned, and cut in half or quarters, is heated at 90 ° C for 2 to 3 days until the starch in them is converted into sugar. The cooled pins are ground to a homogeneous mass, soaked, and filtered. Then aquamiel is obtained. It is honey water, mixed with yeast, ammonium sulphate (needed for the fermentation process), sugar (usually cane sugar), and the mass is left to ferment for 2-3 days, and sometimes even 12 days. The agave liquid obtained with a strength of 5 to 9% is distilled twice. In the first, rapid distillation yields about 20% of the strength of the ordinary. During the second distillation, all undesirable impurities are removed and pure colorless tequila with a strength of 55-60% is obtained. To optimize the strength of the drink, it is diluted with distilled or demineralized water. Depending on