Tequila ( Spanish Tequila ) is a strong alcoholic beverage obtained by distilling fermented blue agave juice ( Latin Agáve tequilána , Spanish Agave azul ) strictly in the territory of 5 states of Mexico: Jalisco , Guanajuato , Michoacan , Nayarit and Tamaulipas . Compliance with this rule is governed by the set of standards Consejo Regulador del Tequila.
"Mexico" in Aztec means "a place where agave grows." There was a legend telling how tequila appeared. And according to her, God sent lightning from heaven, which fell into the agave. The plant split, its middle was smoked and roasted, and juice began to flow out of it. After some time, residents of a nearby tribe felt the fragrance emanating from an agave affected by a lightning strike. They decided to try this fermented juice. They liked the drink so much that the Aztecs accepted it as a gift from the gods. They called this fermented juice of the agave “Oktli” and began to produce it independently without the intervention of divine forces.
The history of tequila actually begins in 1530, when the captain of the Spanish ship Christopher de Okata arrived in Mexico and founded the city of Tequila. Conquistadors consumed brandy that they had already fallen in love with, and they didn’t like such low alcohol agave fermented beverages like octly. Then they decided to use the method of distillation known to them using a copper cube, which increased the strength of the original product and liked the conquistadors. The product of the distillation of fermented agave juice is called mescal. Its name came from the Nahuatl language (Aztec language) and consisted of the words "melt" and "ixcalli", which translates as "agave" and "cooked."
Initially, mescal was intended for domestic consumption, so it was impossible to buy tequila in other countries. However, the production gradually expanded and increased its scale, while the quality characteristics of the drink also increased. For the first time such a high-quality mezcal was obtained by Don Pedro Sanchez de Tagli, who held the title of Marquis of Altamira, who in 1600 founded the first factory engaged in the industrial production of this drink. After that, the popularity of mescal began to grow rapidly. Already eight years after the opening of the factory, the authorities even imposed a special tax on the sale of this alcoholic beverage. Finally, in the 17th century, mezcal became an important Mexican export product.
In 1758, in the vicinity of the city Tequila acquires the land of the Cuervo family. In this area, they begin industrial production of alcoholic beverage from blue agave. In 1795, Cuervo built the first factory, and the drink itself was later named after the city. In the same year, Haze Maria Guadalupe de Cuervo received a permit from the government allowing him to produce a drink called Mezcal Vino de Tequila . Over time, the first part of the name was omitted, and only the laconic "tequila" remained.
Since the beginning of the XIX century for tequila comes the golden time. It is known that armed clashes constantly occurred on the border with Mexico. It was then that many American soldiers were able to try this liquor for the first time. However, this was the end: the drink was too bright and unusual taste and did not like the Americans. Only 37 years later, the first test batch of tequila set off for the USA , which, however, was met by the Americans without much enthusiasm. The time of the traditional Mexican drink came in 1836, when he was awarded a special prize at the Chicago World's Fair. The attitude of Americans to tequila remained quite restrained, but it became much easier to buy it.
In the middle of the 20th century, the popularity of agave spirits was low, and manufacturers came up with an original solution to increase sales. In the 1940s, a worm began to appear in bottles with this drink. Mescal with a caterpillar is an exotic drink for Europeans. This insect lives in the stalks of agave. Thus, collecting and decomposing these caterpillars in bottles, tekilero got rid of parasites and attracted the attention of the West. On the other hand, it served as a test of the strength of the alcoholic product: if the insect did not dissolve, this was an indicator of the high strength of the drink.
Since 1964, tekilero begin to actively promote the brand Jose Cuervo in the States. Less than ten years later, this brand gained considerable success and popularity among Americans. On the wave of success in Mexico, there are many companies engaged in mass production of tequila, with the result that its quality has deteriorated sharply. To remedy the situation, the government issued a law code in 1978, ensuring that any drink, called tequila, is made in accordance with historical traditions. In addition, the name itself became the intellectual property of Mexico.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the increasing popularity of tequila around the world aroused (mainly in the United States) corporate interest in the beverage industry. Among the most notable achievements can be included:
- The acquisition of the Cabo Wabo brand by musician Sammy Hagar .
- The acquisition of the El Tesoro brand by a large holding company Fortune Brands .
- Production of El Tesoro's Paradiso , mixed tequila, aged in French oak barrels, which were used for A. de Fussigny cognac .
The true popularity of the drink earned at the Olympic Games in Mexico City in 1968. In 1974, Mexican manufacturers received the exclusive right to use the brand "tequila" all over the world.
Phases of tequila production
- Collection Himadorus (agave collectors) cut off the leaves of the agave with a special tool, sharpened at one end, which is called "koa". The resulting cores of agaves (they are also “pines”) are cut into several parts for ease of transportation and sent to a furnace where they will undergo heat treatment.
- Baking This stage is necessary in order to start the subsequent fermentation process, in which only simple sugars take part. Agave also contains complex, temperature effects on which splits them into simple ones. (Brick oven, oven, horno - the name of the oven for baking.)
- Grinding is necessary to extract the agave juice, which will be involved in the fermentation process. There are 4 most common methods of grinding agave:
- tajona (Eguptian mill, Chilean mill, millstone),
- shredor (mechanical mill, molina),
- conveyor (hammers).
- Fermentation and fermentation. Fermentation takes place in vats. The process aims at the conversion of sugars into alcohols. The strength of the resulting drink is low (less than 18%). Are used:
- wooden vats,
- stone (brick) tanks,
- metal (steel) tanks,
- clay vats.
- Distillation increases the strength of the drink. Usually use copper distillation cube. The number of distillation cycles depends on the preference of the manufacturer. Usually - 2 distillation cycles, followed by dilution with water to the desired strength.
- copper still / clay pots,
- column still.
Types of tequila
According to the exposure time, the following types of tequila are distinguished:
- plata (silver) or blanca ("silver" or "white" - sustained no more than two months);
- joven - young tequila, not passing exposure, usually flavored or tinted color;
- gold ("gold" - "silver" tequila, highlighted to match the tequila ripening);
- reposado ("rested" - aged from 2 to 11 months);
- añejo (“seasoned” or “old” - aged from 1 to 3 years);
- extra añejo (“extra-aged” - tequila, produced 100% from blue agave, whose aging period exceeds three years).
The strength of classic tequila blanca is 50 degrees. Before bottling, tequila diluted with water to 38 degrees.
All tequila is divided into two groups, differing in the percentage content of agave juice.
- Tequila 100% agave . This group includes tequila made exclusively from blue agave juice. It can only be bottled within the region. On the label of such drinks must be indicated: "agave" or "100% puro de agave".
- Mixta This includes drinks from mixed sugars. According to Mexican law, their composition should include at least 51% of sugars derived from blue agave juice. The remaining part is replenished by other sugar-containing products, such as cane sugar or corn syrup.
Tequila protection legislation
DOT In 1974, the Mexican government published the “Declaration of the Protection of the Name" Tequila "" (Declaración General de Protección a la Denominación de origen Tequila, abbr. DOT). This means that Mexico will claim the exclusive right to use the word “tequila”, and that only alcoholic beverages made from blue agave (a type of agave azul or agave tequiliana weber blue) grown in officially established areas of Mexico, in accordance with NOM standards ( see below), may be labeled as “tequila”.
As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and other international treaties (NAFTA, European Trade Agreement, etc.), Mexico protected tequila as the exclusive product of Mexico. Tequila is owned by Mexico and only Mexico.
The Mexican government is the actual owner of the name "tequila". Anyone who wants to engage in the production of tequila, must obtain a permit or license from the Government of Mexico through the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI).
Officially assigned areas for the production of tequila, provided by the DOT, include the entire state of Jalisco (Jalisco, the administrative center of Guadalajara), three adjacent states - Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas on the east coast. Only these areas have climatic and soil conditions suitable for the ripening of blue agave.
NOM Norma Oficial Mexicana de Calidad — Mexico’s national quality standard — regulates the production, bottling and labeling of tequila. It is known as "NOM-006-SCF1-1994 Alcoholik Beverages Tequila Specification". NOM sets the official standard for Tequila, Tequila 100% agave and for all four types of tequila: Blanco, Joven (Oro), Reposado, Anejo. It sets the physical and chemical characteristics of tequila, as well as the characteristics of the agave used in production. This law also contains rules governing its bottling and labeling. On the label of each bottle of tequila should be NOM - the number assigned by the Mexican government to each manufacturer and determines who actually produced this tequila.
An interesting fact is that many tequila, even competing brands have the same NOM. This means that they were made in the same factory, regardless of the real or fictional legend of their origin. In fact, in Mexico there are about 110 licensed manufacturers who produce together about 1,000 different brands of tequila.
Sometimes companies change distillers, so the NOM on the label also changes.
CRT Consejo Regulador del Tequila (Tequila Production Supervision Board) - CRT is an organization created by the Mexican government to oversee production, bottling and labeling in accordance with the NOM. CRT was founded in 1994 on the initiative of the Tequila Chamber of Manufacturers, as a private non-profit organization for the control and certification of the tequila manufacturing process. It is integrated into the fields of tequila production, agave production, bottling and marketing. CRT structures are organized in five different industries: control, certification, agriculture, quality control, and administrative. In order to ensure the integrity of tequila and the observance of NOM, CRT has a team of well-trained professionals, who constantly monitor every step of tequila production. At the initiative of the CRT, quite a few industries were set aside, deviating from the standards - temporarily and sometimes permanently.
Tequila Based Drinks
- Tequila sunrise
- Ray Foley. Chapter 15. Tequila and Mescal // Recipes for Dummies = Bartending For Dummies. - M .: “Dialectics” , 2007. - p. 416. - ISBN 0-7645-5051-9 .