Tequila is a distilled spirit made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, located northwest of Guadalajara and in the highlands (Los Altos) of the central Mexican state of Jalisco.
The origins of tequila can be traced back to the Aztecs, who made a fermented drink from the agave plant known as “pulque.” The production of a distilled version of this beverage, using the agave’s sap or “honey water,” began after the Spanish conquest of Mexico in the 16th century. Spanish settlers introduced the process to the region near the city of Tequila, and the drink took on the name “tequila” after the city.
Tequila production remained limited to the surrounding area for centuries and was mainly consumed locally. However, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, tequila’s popularity grew, and it was exported to the United States for the first time.
Where Is Tequila Made?
In response to the increasing demand for tequila, several large-scale distilleries were established, leading to mass production and a decline in the drink’s quality. The Mexican government established the Denomination of Origin for Tequila to protect the beverage’s reputation in 1974. This regulatory body ensures that only spirits made from blue agave plants grown in specific regions of Mexico can be called “tequila.”
Today, tequila is widely recognized as a traditional Mexican spirit and is exported globally. The industry has continued to grow, with large multinational corporations and small artisanal producers offering a variety of styles and brands.
In conclusion, tequila has a rich history rooted in Aztec tradition and has evolved into a well-respected and internationally recognized spirit.
The most common ways to drink tequila are:
- Straight: Sipped neat or with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lime.
- Margarita: A classic cocktail made with tequila, triple sec, and lime juice and served on the rocks or blended with ice. Get a recipe for a Cadillac Margarita.
- Tequila Sunrise: A cocktail made with tequila, orange juice, and grenadine, often garnished with a slice of orange and a cherry.
- Paloma: A popular Mexican cocktail made with tequila, grapefruit juice, and soda.
- Shots: Tequila is often taken as a shot, sometimes with salt and lemon.
Note: It’s important to drink responsibly and in moderation.