Tequila stands as North America’s first distilled drink; its origin dates back hundreds of years to when the Aztecs took sap from maguey plants and fermented it into a drink first known as pulque – which means “The Nectar of the Gods”.
Pulque would eventually evolve into true tequila in the 1500s, giving bars and tequila lovers alike reason to celebrate today on National Tequila Day.
Here are 6 interesting facts about tequila so bar owners can drop a little knowledge on their customers today.
1. The traditional way to drink tequila is to use a tall, narrow shot glass called a caballito, which means little horse, or pony, also called a tequilito.
2. To truly experience tequila, use the four senses:
- Sight: Look at the tequila you are drinking through the glass. Note the color. The color suggests the amount of wood imparted by barreling, and hints of its complexity.
- Smell: The sense of smell is a vital part of the enjoyment of tequila. Hold the glass an inch or so form the nose. There are three distinct places in the glass to sniff: bottom, center and top.
- Taste: is a limited sense, since it can only perceive five sensations: sweet, bitter, salty, sour and umami earthiness.
- Touch: perception of touch is experienced in the mouth. When tequila is harsh, it produces a bite or a sensation of warmth; when smooth, the tongue feels a velvet softness.
3. The taste of tequila from the Jalisco lowlands is determined not only by its aging time in white oak barrels, but also its acquired taste from the volcanic soil of the region, which imparts a spicier and earthier quality.
4. Tequila does not equal hangover. If you mix tequila with sugar mixers it will increase the likelihood of a hangover, but enjoying the purity of 100% blue agave tequila will leave you clear-headed the next morning
5. Tequila comes from the blue agave plant. Not from a cactus as many believe to be true. A blue agave plant can take about 8 years to mature and weigh more than 100 pounds
6. By law, tequila must meet a certain criteria. Herradura meets all of the below and also comes from one of the last tequila-producing haciendas on the planet, Casa Herradura.
- It must be made from blue Weber agave grown and harvested only in the Mexican state of Jalisco, and designated areas of the states of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit or Tamaulipas.
- It must be produced with no less than 35% alcohol by volume
- The label must read ‘hecho en México’ (made in México)
1 1/2 oz. La Pitaya
Shake tequila, pulque, agave nectar, lime and lemon juice with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve.