July 24th is National Tequila Day. On this day you can celebrate your love of this famous Mexican spirit by enjoying a tequila with friends and posting it on social media with the hashtag #nationaltequiladay.
Produced in the area around the town of Tequila in the Jalisco area of Mexico, tequila is the national drink of Mexico and is made from the blue agave plant. Originally known as mezcal wine, there are a number of different categories of tequila including:
• Blanco tequila – a white unaged Tequila.
• Joven tequila– an unaged golden tequila flavoured with either sugar syrup or caramel.
• Reposado tequila– aged between 2 months to 1 year in oak barrels.
• Anejo tequila – aged between 1 – 3 years in oak barrels.
• Extra Anejo tequila – aged for a minimum of three years.
National Tequila Day first started in the USA and Mexico and is celebrated with a number of tequila festivals and tours of tequila distilleries along what is known as the tequila trail in Jalisco. In recent years the celebration has also been adopted in the UK due to the rising popularity of the drink. On national Tequila day in the UK, although celebrations are smaller than in the USA, you will find tequila on offer in many bars and supermarkets.
Responsible for some of our best loved cocktails, The Tequila Sunrise, The Margherita, The Long Island Iced Tea to name a few, July 24th has been set aside each year to celebrate Tequila. If you’re still recovering from a few too many Tequila slammers at the weekend to raise a glass to it this year, we’ve put together a few little facts to help pay homage to the stuff without the hangover!
Tequila is made of at least 51% Blue Agave
Although Mezcal can be made from the 100s of different Agave varieties. Tequila must contain at least 51% of Blue Agave and many believe it should be 100%. Tequila consisting of less than 100% Blue Agave are called Mixto.
Much of the work in making Tequila is done by hand
Agave is hand selected for harvest and harvested by hand. In premium Tequilas, the pulp is extracted from the fiber in large stone bowls by humans after being ground down in the tahona.
It takes 8-12 years for the Blue Agave plant to mature enough to make Tequila
Tequila is made from the heart of the Blue Agave plant, called piña. The pinamay weigh up to 200 pounds when harvested.
- CUERVO WAS THE FIRST PRODUCER OF TEQUILA IN THE WORLD.Jose Antonio de Cuervo y Valdes obtained land from the King of Spain in 1758 and began producing tequila – all before Mexico became an independent republic. In 1795, his son, Jose María Guadalupe de Cuervo, began selling the very first Vino Mezcal de Tequila de Jose Cuervo after receiving the first official charter from the King of Spain to produce tequila commercially.
REAL TEQUILA CAN ONLY BE PRODUCED IN FIVE SPECIFIC REGIONS IN MEXICO.
Tequila received a Designation of Origin (appellation de controlee) in 1974. It’s the same as an appellation for Bordeaux, Bourbon or Cognac. The Mexican federal government has established strict requirements governing tequila production.
THE PIÑA IS THE HEART OF THE BLUE AGAVE.
The piña (Spanish word for pineapple) is the fruit or, “heart,” of the agave from which sugars are extracted and tequila is made. The word piña is used because once harvested, the heart of the plant resembles a pineapple.
“REPOSADO” MEANS “RESTED.”
Tequila must be “rested” in wood barrels for a minimum of two months. This is a requirement of the Mexican government. The “resting” mellows and refines the tequila, producing a combination of superb smoothness and great taste.
You can thank Bing Crosby for your tequila:
Back in the early ‘50s, Bing Crosby became so infatuated with the Herradura brand of tequila that he teamed up fellow actor Phil Harris to import the brand into the United States. Their efforts made Herradura the first-ever 100% blue agave liquor available in the US.
Tequila has health benefits:
Studies have shown that a component in tequila helps break down dietary fat, which can lower the levels of bad cholesterol. A shot taken after dinner can aid your body’s digestion.
People will pay a lot for good tequila:
According to The Guinness Book of World Records, the most expensive bottle of tequila ever sold went to a private collector for $225,000. The bottle was made out of white gold and platinum, and contained six year-aged tequila worth $2,500.