Wednesday, August 8, 2018

A Man’s Primer on Tequila

While tequila tends to have a poor reputation here in the States — often serving as the cheap shot of choice for inebriation-minded college students — in Mexico, it’s a cultural tradition that harkens back to centuries of craftsmanship. While some liquors’ origins are muddy or disputed, tequila is unquestionably a Mexican spirit.

While in shot form tequila is usually served with salt and lime to mitigate the bite and burn of cheap liquor, in its native home it’s usually served neat in a tall shot glass, and meant to be sipped.

If you have an unfortunate history with tequila, it’s time you gave the spirit another chance and learned how to not only drink it the right way, but buy the right product so that you aren’t just writing off the whole category based on the swill that got you drunk in your earlier years.

Before getting into some of those guidelines though, we first need to know what tequila is.

What Is Tequila?

Though slightly more complex than this when you get into the legalities of labeling and what not, tequila is actually a specific type of mezcal. Mezcal is a distilled liquor made from the mashed, fermented core of the agave plant. Tequila is then a mezcal made specifically from the blue agave and in a specific part of Mexico.

Much like champagne — which can legally only be made in the Champagne region of France —  tequila can only be made in a certain region of Mexico. Largely, this is in the state of Jalisco (where the town of Tequila is located), as well as parts of Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. These states are in west-central Mexico, where the rich volcanic soil provides the perfect environment for growing blue agave.

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