My team had some work to do in Guadalajara, a more touristy city than Mexico City, so decided to fly there on a Friday and stay the weekend. After the work was done, the first place we visited was Tequila, Mexico(approx. 1.5hr drive from Guadalajara). It is the town where tequila originated!
We took a plant tour of Jose Cuervo, one of the first Tequila manufacturer, opened since 1795 and learned about how tequila is made. Tequila is made from Agave plant that is grown all around Tequila. Once agave has matured for 3-4 years, the leaves are cut and the root that looks like a large pine cone is cooked in an big oven. Then, the sweet juice from the agave pine is squeezed into a large container where it is fermented in a controlled temperature environment. It then goes through several distillations where the alcohol level is dropped from 70-80% to 20-30%, an acceptable selling range. During the tour, we got to taste tequila that was around 55% alcohol (they said it was ok since they weren’t ‘selling’ it to us. Haha) and it burned, still alive though. After the distillation, tequila is stored in charred oak barrels from 6 months to 10 years. The clear transparent tequila are the young ones and are stored only 6 months to a year. They are best mixed as cocktails(i.e. Margaritas!). The aged tequila are more yellowish brown in color and they are better to drink on their own. Lastly, the extra aged tequila are the darkest in color from being in the charred barrels the longest and are smoother when you drink. They are compared to cognac in the quality. As for the cost, it gets more expensive as the color gets more darker. Duh!
Overall, Tequila was a very nice small town. It’s worth the visit if you are in the area, even if you don’t drink. 😉