Join us for a 5-course dinner in tribute to this centuries-old spirit. Savor one-of-a-kind cocktails made with five different tequilas paired with exquisite dishes. Celebrate with us under the stars in the unique urban oasis that is Citygarden on Saturday, September 30th.
Tequila is made from the blue agave plant, only in the area surrounding the city of Tequila and limited municipalities in the states of Guanajuanto, Michoacan, Nayarit and Tamaulipas. There are around 2,000 tequila brands in production today.
The red volcanic soil in the region around the city of Tequila is well suited to the growing of the blue agave and more than 300 million of the plants are harvested there each year. Blue agaves grown in the highlands Los Altos region are larger in size and sweeter in aroma and taste. Agaves harvested in the lowlands, on the other hand, have a more herbaceous fragrance and flavor.
Blue agave takes 8 to 10 years to mature. The leaves of the plant are chopped off, leaving large pinas (pic above) that generally weigh 40-70 pounds, but have been known to grow to 200 pounds. It takes around 15 pounds of agave to produce one quart of tequila.
Pinas are baked, roasted or steamed in large ovens which turns the starch into sugar. The cooked cores are shredded and placed in fermenting vats where yeast is added to convert the sugars into alcohol for 30 to 48 hours. The alcohol is then distilled twice and either processed immediately or aged:
- Blanco tequila is either bottled right after distillation or aged for up to 60 days. It's clear and has a smooth, mild flavor.
- Reposado tequila is aged in white oak barrels for anywhere from two months to a year. It has a gold color and a little more flavor and a balance of agave and barrel-aged flavors.
- Anejo tequila is aged in white oak barrels for 1 to e years which produces a darker color and bold flavor.
- Extra anejo tequila is aged from 3 or more years and achieves a depth of flavor of other fine aged spirits.
No salt, lime or chaser needed
Know that not all "tequila" is equal. Mixtos tequilas are the cheaper brands you might remember from your youth. They are made with a blend of agave and other sugars, such as grain alcohol, and are the reason why the salt/lime ritual was invented (and for the horrible hangover the next day!). Look for the 100% pure blue agave tequila. A good tequila will be delicious sipped on its own, no salt or lime needed.