Go to the birthplace of Tequila to discover its origins
As the birthplace of tequila and mariachis, Jalisco is arguably Mexico's most Mexican state. As home to those two great export, as well as to Tlaquepaque and Tonala, the country's busiest handcraft centres, and the world famous beach resort of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco certainly plays a vital role in the nation's economy.
In Jalisco you can find more than 200 varieties of tequila. From the humblest family recipe of tequila to gourmet bottles with exotic ingredients, you will get something to please even the most refined palates. Tequila comes from the Agave Tequila Weber Blue variety, and the fields of Jalisco, in west-central Mexico are abundant in is cultivation. In 2006 UNESCO designated the blue-agave landscape along with the ancient facilities in Tequila as a World Heritage Site. Guests can now visit the region by train. “Tequila Express” train travels through the agave landscape from Guadalajara to the town of Amatitlan. The process of making the beverage is shown there and tourists are invited to tasting sessions.
Tequila like other famous spirits takes its name from the region where it’s produced. A visit to Tequila will put you in contact with the history and production process of Mexico’s national drink. At its most basic, tequila is an alcoholic distilled drink made from the fermentation and distillation of one species of agave, Tequila Weber Blue. Archaeologists say agaves have been cultivated for at least 9,000 years, and used as food for even longer. Tequila is technically a mescal, as are all agave spirits, but it is limited as to where it can be produced and where its source agave can be grown.
The tequila that is popular today was first mass-produced in the early 1800s. Harvesting the agave plant remains a manual effort, unchanged by modern farming technologies, and stretching back hundreds of years. The knowledge of harvesting the agave is passed on from one generation to another. The men work swiftly yet gently to pull out the agave offspring from the mother plant but timing is everything. Too soon and there are not enough sugars, too late and the plant uses its sugars to grow a 20 to 40 foot high stem. After the pinas are cut away with a special knife they are crushed and kept in vats for several days. It’s then distilled for a second and sometimes third time and drained into barrels to begin the ageing process.
This seemingly casual, clear, flaming liquid reflects centuries of wisdom and hard work. Here’s how you can enjoy it best.
*If you’re looking for really good mature tequila, on single component should dominate the taste. The spirit must display a harmony of components, it should not be excessively peppery, alcoholic and without the smell of the oak barrel where it was stored.
*Another great indicator of the quality is the aftertaste of your tequila. If it virtually disappears he moment you drink it, then it was not made from a good concentration of ingredients present in premium brands. An exceptional spirit would stay at least on your tongue for 20 to 30 seconds or sometimes even longer.
*A clean tequila would avoid obvious faults like a vinegary taste, mustiness and oxidation.
*While there are a huge number of tequilas to choose from, good brands include 1800 Silver, Don Julio Blanco, 1921 Tequila Blanco, Patron Silver and Gran Centenario Plata.
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