The taste of Mexico in a drink
Read everything you need to know about tequila
Mexico is not only known for its cuisine and culture but also for its traditional drink: tequila.
It is the most representative liquor in Mexico, a beverage belonging to the distillate family, originally from the municipality of Tequila in the state of Jalisco (hence its name).
Obtained by the distillation of extracts derived from the blue agave plant, its components are cooked and subjected to alcoholic fermentation with yeast. It is considered a drink that gives identity to an entire nation and its name comes from the Nahuatl word “tequitl” (meaning job or trade) and “tlan” (place) which means “place of workers.”
The Story of Tequila
There are two versions about the origin of this elixir: one goes back to ancient Mexico when the natives discovered this concoction, the other is the distillation processes that the Spaniards brought to the so-called Nueva Galicia to produce alcoholic beverages.
Among the tales, there is one that tells; during a thunderstorm, a lightning strike fell on an agave field that caused a fire, subsequently, the vapors heated the agave balls causing them to give off liquid honey with a sweet taste and a pleasant aroma that caught the attention of the natives, who discovered that when fermented, they could drink it and be relaxed while being filled with euphoria. They thought it was a gift from the gods of drunkenness.
Tequila is classified according to the percentage of sugars from the agave that is used in its elaboration:
- 100% agave: the drink is made only from sugars from the agave.
- Tequila: its composition is the product of a mixture of two sources of sugars, where at least 51% must be sugars from agave.
Drink it by itself or combine it.
Today we have the pleasure of enjoying many varieties of tequila, among which are the aged, reposado, and white.
There are several cocktail options that will allow you to enjoy this drink, from what we Mexicans call “seco” (the tequila laid) accompanied by salt and lemon or the famous “Paloma”, a combination of grapefruit soda with a tequila shot served in a glass.
It is the plant where tequila comes from. There are about 295 different types of agaves and can only be used to produce the drink: The Weber tequilana agave blue variety. With some other types of agaves of other species, mezcal and pulque are made, drinks that are also native and loved by Mexicans.
A 100% agave tequila that does not go through any chemical process will never give you a hangover.
¿Is there any specific way of drinking it?
With a shot
A shot is equivalent to 45 milliliters of this drink. Nowadays, the jigger or shot as it is also known, has become one of the most popular ways of drinking tequila.
Outside of Mexico, it is usual to serve as a short drink or shot, accompanied by a slice of lime or lemon with salt. These accompaniments help compensate for the strong flavor of tequila.
We Mexicans have our perfect combinations to enjoy it, but there is a very popular way it can be enjoyed even more: first you should moisten the skin of the top of the thumb of the hand, then put some salt in that same area so that the salt can stick on your hand. After, while holding the slice of lemon with the same hand, you will lick the salt and drink the tequila shot and immediately after biting the lemon. Enjoy it and get ready to make gestures with your face while you react from the strong taste. Some people prefer to bite the lemon before drinking the tequila.
“El caballito” (little horse)
It is the common name for the small glass in which tequila should be drunk. This got its name when the ranchers carried one of these hanging glasses to serve the distillate that they took to the horseback riding. When asked what this glass was used for, they answered: “For drinking the tequila while riding the little horse.”
Tequila is considered the gift of Mexico to the world. It is a good remedy for the flu since it acts as a pain reliever and throat cauterizer … or so my grandmother used to tell me. It is an element that cannot be missed at parties and a drink to toast for pretty much everything because we Mexicans usually toast for absolutely everything.
“Tequila is considered the gift of Mexico to the world.”
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