What It Takes To Be Tequila: The Spirit of the Rio

As you know, we’re big fans of tequila – the spirit itself and the city in Mexico.

Every year, we take our MargMob winners to Tequila, Mexico for a few days to learn all about the spirit of the Rio. We’ve been visiting and inspired by this Mexican city for well over 30 years and are stoked to share it with our biggest Rio fans.

Where is tequila made?

Most Tequilas come from the state of Jalisco, where the actual town of Tequila, Mexico resides. For starters, in order for a spirit to be called “Tequila” it MUST come from one of five authorized states in Mexico: Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, or Tamaulipas.

If it’s produced outside one of these five states, it must be called an “Agave Spirit” or Mezcal. Kind of like how if Champagne is produced outside of Champagne, France, it must be called “sparkling wine.” And, to be called a Tequila, it must be made from AT LEAST 51% blue agave.

Tequila From Start To Finish

The tequila creation process is no easy feat. For starters, in order for a spirit to be called “Tequila” it MUST come from one of five authorized states in Mexico: Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, or Tamaulipas. Most Tequilas come from the state of Jalisco, where the actual town of Tequila, MX resides. 

To begin producing tequila the jimador, or farmer of agave, must plant the blue agave. This plant takes anywhere from 8 – 12 years before it is fully mature and usable for tequila production. Once the plants reach maturity, the jimador takes off the sharp outer leaves, revealing the piña itself. Next in the process, the piñas need to be roasted or steamed. After that the piñas are mashed down and you get ‘mosto’. The mosto is placed in a fermentation tank where yeast is added. As the yeast eats away the sugars in the mosto, you are left with ‘low wine’. The low wine is put in an alambique, or a copper pot still, and it is heated up to a certain temperature, then cooled rapidly, which gives you the end product, Tequila! 

As you can tell, we’re big fans of Tequila – the spirit itself and the city in Mexico.  Every year, we take our MargMob winners to Tequila, MX for a 2-3 day visit learning all about the spirit of the Rio. We’ve been visiting and inspired by Tequila, MX for well over 30 years and are stoked to be able to share it with our biggest fans. 

The Tequila Worm

However, if you are looking for the worm in your tequila you might be slightly disappointed when you don’t find one no matter how hard you look. This rumor came from long ago when tourists confused Oaxacan mezcal with tequila. On top of that, it is technically illegal to add anything to tequila!  Oaxaca is the region in Mexico from which the drink originated and mezcal is the type of alcohol. Oaxacan mezcal is also made from agave, the only difference is tequila is made with BLUE agave.

Mezcal vs. Tequila

Mezcal is a rich flavored alcohol with a similar creation process to tequila. Just as tequila must come from one of five authorized states to be considered tequila, mezcal can come from either San Luis Potosi, Michoacan, Jalisco, Durango, Morelos, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Tamaulipas or Zacatecas to be true mezcal. 

A mescalero, or a maker of mezcal, takes agave plants that have been maturing for anywhere from 7 to 20 years before they can be used for mezcal production. The piña’s are slow cooked for several days and are then mashed and taken to ferment. Once the fermentation process is completed, the liquid is transferred to the alambiques to undergo the distillation process. 

 

Share the news: