10 Fun Facts About Our Favorite Liquor - TEQUILA!
That's one of the reasons that tequila also happens to be a very popular liquor around here. That, plus the wide array of impressive types of tequila that we keep behind the bar. Today, we're taking a look at some very interesting facts about the one and only tequila. Here's what we discovered.
#1) Tequila is mezcal, but mezcal is not tequila. Say what? That may sound confusing, but it really isn't. Mezcal is a liquor that is made from the maguey plant, which is a form of agave. While mezcal can be made using a variety of agave plants, tequila can only be made with blue agave.
#2) Tequila must be made of at least 51% blue agave. Not only must tequila be made from only blue agave, but that blue agave must also make up at least 51% of the recipe. If it is made with 100% blue agave, it is a true tequila, and between 51%-99% it is technically called a mixto tequila.
#3) There are no worms in tequila. You've all heard the stories about the extra "kick" you're supposed to get by "eating the worm." You won't actually find any worms in tequila, but you will in mezcal. That worm, or gusano, is actually a larva from one of two types of moths known as maguey worms that live on the agave plant.
#4) Tequila is made from a lily... or rather, a member of the lily family. The blue agave plant, although it looks like a cactus, is actually a member of the lily family.
#5) Real tequila is made in Mexico. Just like authentic champagne must be made in Champagne, France, tequila is required to be made in specific areas of Mexico. Types of tequila made outside of those areas are actually referred to as an agave spirit.
#6) Mexicans drink tequila neat. The most popular way to drink a shot of tequila in the United States is chilled with salt and a slice of lime. In Mexico, the preferred way to drink it, outside of a margarita, is neat without being chilled or with any of those extras.
#7) Making tequila is a tough job. We're sure glad that someone wants to do it though! Much of the process is done by hand. Agave is hand-selected and harvested by hand using a machete, or Coa, to chop the leaves. The people who wield the Coa are called Jimadors. The heart, or pina, of the agave plant (which can weigh between 80 to a few hundred pounds!) is removed, stripped of its leaves, and then cooked to remove the sap which is fermented and distilled.
#8) It can take up to 8 years. In addition to being hard work to harvest, it takes a lot of patience to grow blue agave. The right desert conditions must be present and it can take about 8 years before the plant matures and is ready to harvest. Also, it's a one-time use plant. Once you pick it, a brand new one must be planted in its place if you want to make more.
#9) Use your nose. The Mexican Academy of Tequila Tasters has identified over 600 aromas of tequila. Before you taste it, give it a sniff and see if you can smell the difference.
#l0) Tequila can be turned into diamonds. Javier Morales, Luis Apatiga, and Victor Castano at the National Autonomous University of Mexico were experimenting with ways to turn various organic solutions into diamonds. They discovered that 80-proof tequila had the ideal proportion of ethanol to water needed to make diamond films. These diamonds are hard and heat resistant, giving them many commercial applications.
Now that you have so much knowledge stored in your brain about tequila, it's time to put that knowledge to good use and come on into our Lake of the Ozarks Mexican restaurant to try a few of the incredible varieties we've got behind the bar! Of course, if straight tequila isn't your drink of choice, the bartenders at Mexicali Blues are always happy to whip up one of those many margaritas we mentioned earlier. Add to that a plate of the best Mexican food at the Lake of the Ozarks and you've got the makings of a very satisfying dining experience!