Tequila, Jalisco – Tequila olé!

It smells like tequila, it is called Tequila, and we drink tequila. In this city everything turns about the distilled agave juice. Numerous shops sell the brew, and some of the factories offer visiting and tasting tours. We decide for the Sauza distillery that was formerly called La Perseverancia, the big old competitor of José Cuervo that’s even known in Europe. But the old Sauza was the first to call the drink tequila. He achieved that following the example set by French Champagne only agave schnapps from the area is allowed to carry this name and he was the first to export in many countries when sales was declining during the turmoil of the Mexican revolution in 1909.

We see the huge hearts of the blue agave, the only plant that can be used. They are called pineapples due to their resemblance with the fruit. They weigh 35 to 50 kg and come from around seven years old plants whose spiny leafs were stripped off. Hearts of older agave can weigh up to 100 kg and more. The pineapples are shredded, the fibre removed by means of steam, and the juice cooked. It tastes like molasses and caramel, but not too sweet. The first distillate contains too much methanol to be healthy to drink, but we can try the second one. It still contains 70% alcohol, and there are two kinds: tequila from 51% agave and 49% sugar syrup from corn, sugar can or others (ugh) and 100% agave (even in this state mild and delicious). After the second or third distillation claro, white tequila, is bottled directly, during reposado ages in small or big oak barrels – depending on the desired taste – two months to one year to yellow or light brown colour. Añejo has to age one to three years in small barrels, some sorts even longer, and gets a dark brown tan.

One could think the 70 Peso pp for 45 min guided tour (in English language) is a bit overestimated, but far wrong! In the end the barman is called and together with our guide we sip his wonderful creations from strawberries, raspberries and tamarind or lime, orange and hibiscus. With tequila, of course. Just the drinks were worth the money. Finally we can shop tequila in the factory outlet with knowledgeable advice. They don’t have to tell this to us twice.

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