Menus & Entertaining

All about tequila

Author: Canadian Living

Menus & Entertaining

All about tequila

I spent last week visiting and learning all about the making of tequila in Mexico in the state of Jalisco. Instead of my usual Canadiana fare, I will be bringing you foodie highlights from Mexico over the next week in my blog. Today’s foodie topic is tequila!

The real stuff! - Designation of origin

Tequila is made from the agave plant. In order for tequila to be called “tequila”, it must follow the regulations of the Designation of Origin, which dictates that it must be made from at least 51 per cent blue agave and produced in the state of Jalisco (or in a narrow region carved from the surrounding states of Guanajuato, Tamaulipas, Michoacan and Nayarit, where blue agave grows). The aging process takes place in this same area. There are also particular regulations for aging Reposado and Anejo styles of tequila.

Terrior - what gives tequila its taste
I visited Milagro Tequila’s sleek modern facility located in the highlands of the Sierra Madres Occidental, about an hour outside of Guadalajara. The blue agave fields rise up from the red volcanic earth in the distance as you approach the highlands. Tequila is also produced in the lowlands, Daniel Schneeweiss (the owner of Milagro) tells me, which gives an earthier profile to the tequila as opposed to the fruitiness of the tequila Milagro is producing. It’s the unique terroir of this area that gives tequila its particular taste. When I was there it was the dry season, but in a week or two the whole area will be green and lush.

The century plant, a long slow harvest
The Jimadors harvest the lethal looking plants with a sharp blade and a stealthy hand, carving the plant down to the perfectly round “pina” found at the core of the agave. Almost every aspect of tequila making is done by hand. The agave plant takes 8-12 years to mature earning it's nickname the Century Plant. It’s the Jimodors job to decide the crucial moment when the agave is ready to harvest right before it uses all of its energy to shoots up a long stalk and flower, at which point the agave plant loses its starch it is no longer useful - that’s 12 years of cultivation down the drain and the Jimadors' job I would suspect! Each plant will yield about one case of tequila.

Read more:
Learn how the agave plant is turned into Tequila, find out how to enjoy Reposado and Anjeo, and try our collection of tequila recipes >>
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All about tequila

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