More Information on Tequila
Tequila is North America’s first distilled spirit,
To be classified as tequila, it must be made from no less than 51% Weber blue agave. Better and high-end tequilas are made from 100% Weber blue agave. Today’s fine tequilas are highly coveted by collectors worldwide—for both the smooth aromatic liquor and the handcrafted decorative bottle.
Mexico’s tequila producers, almost all located in a one hundred-mile radius of the town of Tequila in Jalisco State, distill hundreds of brands, some the old way – in small lots in tiny family-run fabricas – most in ultra-modern distilleries. As of January 31, 2011, there are 142 registered tequila distilleries producing 1,155 certified brands. These producers are often using artisans to create unique hand-blown glass, crystal, ceramic, and Talavera pottery bottles that savvy collectors are snapping up like fine vintages of wine.
The long version:
The history of Tequila is a combination of fact and myth with the two so intertwined that no one knows what is real and what is folklore. But, no matter what, the stories add to the appeal of this “nectar of the gods.”
Much of the history of Tequila is from Aztec mythology, and like many myths, it is full of good and evil, love and heartbreak. The story begins with Tzinzimiti, the Goddess of darkness. She was hated and feared because she devoured all of the sunshine and light from the villages of the native Mexican tribes. In order to keep her at bay, the native Mexicans made human sacrifices to her. Quetzalcoatl was an Aztec feathered serpent who ascended to the sky to destroy the evil goddess. Along his journey, he encountered Mayahuel, Tzinzimiti’s granddaughter. The two fell in love, as serpents and granddaughters of goddesses are prone to do. They then returned to earth to hide as trees so they couldn’t be found. However, their plan was flawed and the evil Grandmother, after a long battle, killed Mayahuel who died in the arms of her true love. Quetzalcoatl buried her and a beautiful Agave grew on top of her burial site. The pointy leaves are to protect her from falling objects. The 400 thorns symbolize Mayahuel’s 400 breasts (did we mention this “fact” before?). After burying his beloved, Quetzalcoatl returns to the sky to kill Tzinzimiti and return the sunlight to the earth. In order to alleviate Quetzalcoatl’s pain, the other gods gave the Agave a liquid that, when drunk, would comfort and erase painful memories. And those who drink from the Agave will live happily ever after.
In the 16th century, Spaniards were taking over the region and using the Agave for building roofs, making needles, pins, and nails. Dried leaves were used for fuel while its ashes were used for soap, which helped to heal wounds. The Spanish liked their Spanish wines and liquors so they banned the production of native spirits. Despite the ban, clandestine production continued. During the 17th century, native spirits were seen as a revenue opportunity so spirits from the Agave were allowed but heavily taxed. Tequila became the first export of Jalisco and tax revenue funded civil projects including aqueducts and government buildings. The revenue from Tequila made many Tequila producers politically influential. During the middle of the 19th century, many Tequila producers supported the liberals during Mexico’s civil war. Good choice – the liberals won. Tequila suffered a blow when the railroads came to Mexico in the late 1800′s. The railroads made European wines readily available to the masses and Tequila was relegated to the “drink of the lower classes.” Tequila enjoyed resurgence during the Mexican Revolution when all things Mexican represented patriotism. In the 1930′s, it was found that Tequila was the “best medicine” against the Spanish flu epidemic that battered Northern Mexico. And, the rest, as they say, is history.
About Experience Tequila
Experience Tequila is a small, independent company dedicated to promoting tequila culture and appreciation through tours, tastings, education and events. We believe that tequila is most fascinating and rewarding when fully experienced. The spirit should be sipped and savored, the history and culture observed and appreciated, and the region visited and absorbed. We love tequila as one of the world’s great distilled spirits, but know that tequila is so much more than what comes out of the bottle. We’ve made it our business to help the world truly experience tequila.
We enjoy thriving relationships with the best tequila makers in the world, but maintain our independence so that we can always tell it as we see it.
We work closely with the Tequila Regulatory Council, the National Industrial Chamber of Tequila, the Ruta de Tequila and various maestros tequileros to ensure that our knowledge and understanding is constantly evolving, just like tequila itself.
We form an official part of the Tequila Trail (La Ruta del Tequila), and are the only American company to receive the prestigious “Double T” certification for excellence in tequila tourism. Our tours are also recommended by the Lonely Planet guidebook.
www.Tequila.net – Tequila news headlines, product reviews and videos.
,www.TequilaWhisperer.com – gotta see Lippy to understand and fully appreciate his weekly live shows and offerings…
Lippy was in middle management at an anonymous San Francisco corporate graphics company where he toiled long and tedious hours refining someone *else’s* dreams. Suddenly, in MIDDLE AGE, he was introduced to GOURMET TEQUILA and was immediately transformed. It was as if his world blossomed from a muted grayscale to 48-bit color in the space of a single, magical sip!
Newly inspired, he quit his job(s) and headed straight for Jalisco, Mexico to learn first-hand about all the phases of tequila production and tasting-techniques from the Tequila Masters. Many happy sips and tequila journeys later, he brings his particularly singular “take” on his tequila(s) of the week. The “Tequila Whisperer” Show is a lifestyle, a social movement, and a hairdo (or LACK thereof) all at the same time.
“Tequila-Guide to Types, Flights, Cocktails and Bites”, Joanne Weir 2009
“Tequila – Myth, Magic & Spritied Recipes”, Karl Petzke 2009
“The Tequila 1000 – The Ultimate Collection of Tequila Cocktails, Recipes, Facts and Resources” Ray Foley 2008
Tequila Regulatory Council
The Website of the CRT, the authority that oversees tequila production and enforces the Official Mexican Norms of tequila (NOM, Norma Oficial Mexicana).
National Chamber of the Tequila Industry (CNIT, Cámara Nacional de la Industria Tequilera).
The objective of CNIT is to represent, promote and defend the common interests of its members. By proposing and carrying out actions that satisfy their needs and expectations the Chamber strengthens the Tequila Industry’s image and prestige in general and Tequila’s in particular.
This objective is based on:
a) Concentrating efforts in tending to the needs of the members as a fundamental objective.
b) Positioning the CNIT as a leading institution in the defense of Tequila
c) Promoting Tequila as a successful drink and the culture that surrounds it as a traditional value of Mexico.
The CNIT is the oldest institution of the Tequila Industry. One in which the member companies freely and voluntarily join to work together in favor of Tequila, patrimony of Mexico.
Beverage Tasting Institute- BTI – Our Tasting Lab
To make our information as consistent as possible, the Beverage Testing Institute uses a dedicated tasting lab in Chicago. This room was specially designed to minimize external factors and maximize our panelists’ concentration. Tasting at the same time of day practically every weekday morning, under the same ideal conditions, is far better than working out of a suitcase or at a producer’s facility.
Beverage Tasting Institute- BTI – Our Panels
We rely heavily on highly experienced, professional guest tasters who are either retailers, restaurateurs, or prominent writers that are especially knowledgeable about the beverage category being reviewed. All panelists are rigourously screened and audited and then trained in our proprietary blind tasting methodology. Our director, Jerald O’Kennard, moderates the panels.