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Spirits,Wine

Tequila, Where Does That Name Come From? And Other Fun Tequila Facts

I’m now working with Tequila Semental, an ultra premium tequila brand from Mexico. This is a new learning curve for me, which is a fascinating ride. I’m definitely at the Tequila 101 level. I’m gathering all the basic facts, so I have a good foundation of learning.

Tequila is a spirit with lots of spirit; and a fascinating subject, no matter what I source for new nuggets of knowledge.

I’m storing these tidbits, because who knows when I’ll have to pull them up again. Meanwhile, you can also enjoy these facts, if you’re not familiar with the plant behind the beverage.

The images for this blog posting are from stock photography. I purchase photography that’s not my own, so I’m not copy right infringing. [I’ve found my personal images on other sites in the past, used without permission, and it infuriates me.]

Some day I’ll return from Mexico with my own images. For now, stock has some gorgeous offerings.

Things to talk about, when you’re enjoying Tequila this weekend, and there’s sudden dead air.You can always revert back to, “What’s your sign?” – But these tidbits will make your Tequila experience a lot more interesting and enjoyable. (“Dead air” – BTW – is a broadcasting term, that refers to no one’s talking, no music playing, a commercial went haywire, or when an interviewer asks a question of a person, and that person is so stunned that s/he can’t answer.)

la tierra del Tequila

The translation of Tequila  means “stone that cuts,” (like a spearhead), and originates from a former village that’s now a city, in the state of Jalisco.

Tequila is a town — in the state of Jalisco — in the county of Mexico.

Just as a Bordeaux wine comes from the Bordeaux region in France, and Champagne comes from Champagne, Tequila comes from Tequila, Jalisco.

So, Tequila cannot come from, say… California or Denver. While a company may have its home office in a place other than Tequila, the plant itself – the blue agave – must be grown and harvested in Tequila.

Tequila has been produced in Mexico for the last 400 years.

Agave is to tequila what grapes are to wine. Specifics to the agave plant are similar to the specifics of wine: altitude, climate and soil. Just as vineyards are cared for by vineyardists, agaves are cared for by experienced Agaveros.

The life cycle of the agave is  eight years. At that time, they reach maturity and that’s the time of harvesting. (Have you ever seen an agave with it’s flower plum headed to the heavens? When the flower has run its course, the plant then dies.)

The process from field to glass:

  • From the plantation, Jimadores hand select the blue agaves.
  • They’re transported to the distillery.
  • Production begins, as the spines of the plants are cut off.
  • The remaining heart, called a piña (which means pineapple), are halved and then quartered by hand.
  • They’re stacked into enclaves, and are slowly steamed (approximately 72 hours) or baked (up to four days).
  • They’re then crushed to extract the sweet agave “Mosto” juice for fermentation.
  • A select portion of the freshly baked, sweet agave juice is pumped into small fermenters.
  • Temperatures in the fermentation tanks are carefully monitored. Fermentation is done in a way that’s cool and slow, preserving the fresh, delicate agave flavors.  This takes from three to four days.
  • Once the Mosto is fermented into a dry distilling material, the “Mosto Muerte” is ready to be distilled.
  • This can be a double or triple distilling process.
  • First distillation produces a sweet alcohol brew that’s low in alcohol. The second distillation produces a less sweet and higher alcohol product. A third distillation produces a very smooth, ultra premium Tequila of exceptional quality.
  • Master distillers are to tequila what a wine maker is to wine… The guardians of the spirits, that civilize our lives.

Pee Wee’s last request… Tequila!

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5 Responses to “Tequila, Where Does That Name Come From? And Other Fun Tequila Facts”

  1. Roger says:

    I like to call dead air uncomfortable silence. The point of time in a gathering when all parties involved have exhausted all efforts of holding a conversation. When someone does try to start the conversation back up it’s usually about something way in left field. Nice writes Jo, keep it up.

  2. Jo says:

    Roger,

    I wondered if my #1 Tequila story fan was going to weigh in on this one. Thanks! (You didn’t let me down…)

    I like your “dead air” version better than mind. Sounds like there are times when it’s a positive, like having laughed so much, you have to think about where to go next…

    Fun living…

  3. fernando says:

    HI AGAVE PLANTS CAN BE GROWN IN 5 REGIONS IN MEXICO NOT ONLY AT TEQUILA THESE REGIONS ARE MICHOACAN,TAMAULIPAS, GUANAJUATO, JALISCO AND NAYARITH AND LIFE CYCLE FOR AN AGAVE IS BETWEEN 8 TO 12 YEARS.

  4. Jo says:

    Hi, Fernando,

    Thanks for the update of information. I know that there are also several kinds of agave, but I thought for it to be called “Tequila” it has to come from that region? I’m going to go back to reread that info. There’s a government agency that I read about that has decreed how it’s supposed to specifically be from Tequila. What you may be saying is that within Tequila are these sub regions? (Like Sonoma County has sub regions of Sonoma Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley, etc.). It will make a good follow-up blog, that I’ll now be sharing.

    Good to know about the life cycle of eight to 12 years. That expands my thinking and knowledge, too.

    I appreciate your reading the blog, and taking time to help me – along with everyone else – to know more about the spirit of Mexico!

  5. alean says:

    here is some interesting facts about tequila http://www.facts-about-tequila.info/

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