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Liquors of the World Thread - Fact and Fiction - Info & FunViews: 538
Nov 09, 2006 8:56 am all about tequila

Sunayana Suresh
When life gives you salt... ask for tequila and lemon!

Post a talk on tequila trivia last night with Praveen at Styx... here i am posting tequila trivia!!

First the history: Tequila was first distilled in the 1500-1600's in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. Guadalajara is the capital of Jalisco and the city of Tequila was established in about 1656. This is where the agave plant grows best.

The agave is not a cactus as rumored, but belongs to the lily family and has long spiny leaves (pincas). The specific plant that is used to make tequila is the Weber blue agave. It takes 8-12 years for the agave to reach maturity. During harvest, the leaves are cut off leaving the heart of the plant or pina which looks like a large pineapple when the jimadors are done. The harvested pina may weigh 200 pounds or more and is chopped into smaller pieces for cooking at the distillery.

Tequila was first imported into the United States in 1873 when the first load was transported to El Paso, Texas. In 1973 tequila sales in the US topped one million cases.

There are two basic types of tequila, 100% blue agave (cien por ciento de agave) tequila and mixto. The 100% blue agave tequilas are distilled entirely from the fermented juice of the agave. All 100% agave tequilas have to be distilled and bottled in Mexico. If the bottle does not say 100% blue agave, the tequila is mixto and may have been distilled from as little as 60% agave juice with other sugars.

Grades of tequila:
- Blanco: 100% agave tequila that is unaged and untreated with additives.
- Reposado: 100% agave, "rested" tequila that has been stored in oak between two months and one year.
- Anejo: 100% agave, aged tequila that has been stored in oak at least one year.
- Mixto blanco: mixto tequila that is unaged.
- Mixto reposado: mixto tequila that has been stored in oak between two months and one year.
- Mixto anejo: aged mixto tequila that has been stored in oak at least one year.
- Joven abocado: mixto tequila that has been treated with additives to achieve an effect similar to aging.

As the tequila is aged in wooden barrels, usually oak, it becomes smoother, with a woody taste and golden color. Aging may disguise the agave flavor and few tequilas are aged longer than three to four years.

Each distillery in Mexico is assigned a NOM number that shows which company made or bottled the tequila.

Tequila Glossary:

Agave - A large, cactus-like plant similar in look to a giant aloe; the sugary juice of the Blue Agave is the source of tequila.
Agave Azul - (Blue Agave) The specific variety of agave from which tequila is made.
Aguamiel - The unfermented juice extracted from the roasted agave.
Añejo - Tequila aged in oak barrels for twelve months or more; golden amber with a soft, smooth, complex flavor.
Autoclave - A large pressure cooker used to cook the agave piñas.
Bacanora - A distilled drink made in Sonora from maguey, but not from Blue Agave.
Barrica - Barrel.
Blanco - Also known as silver; a clear, unaged tequila with a fresh, fruity flavor.
Cabeza - The first portion of distillate (heads), highest in alcohol and aldehydes, which is usually discarded.
Coa de jima - A specialized tool used by the Jimador for harvesting agave.
Colas - The final portion of distillate containing the lowest alcohol and soapy flavors, usually recycled into another distillation.
Cooperage - The skilled craft of making barrels and casks.
Corazón - The "heart" of distillation containing the best flavors and aromas for tequila.
Fabrica - A tequila distillery.
Gran Reposado - 100% Blue Agave tequila made in small batches and rested in wood barrels for twice as long as most reposados.
Hijuelo - A "baby" agave plant, which is replanted and develops into a mature agave plant.
Horno - The traditional oven used to cook agave piñas.
Jimador - The laborer who harvests agave.
Joven abocado - An unaged tequila with sugars added for a golden, tawny color and slightly sweeter flavor.
Los Altos - One of the major growing regions for Blue Agave - a mountainous area with rich red soil.
Madre - A mature or "Mother" agave plant from which hijuelos have been harvested.
Maguey - A Spanish term encompassing all varieties of agave.
Mezcal - A distilled drink made primarily in Oaxaca from various types of agave.
Mixto - Tequila produced using a mixture of agave sugars and other plant sugars.
Mosto Muerto - The aguamiel after fermentation is completed.
NOM - Norma Oficial Mexicana. The official number assigned by the government to each tequila distillery, identifying which company made or bottled tequila.
Ordinario - The first run distillate when making tequila.
Piña - The pineapple-shaped heart of the agave plant.
Piloncillo - Unrefined sugar made from dried sugarcane juice, used in production of mixto tequila.
Pipon - Tank, usually made of wood, used for storing tequila.
Pulque - Fermented Mexican drink, made from agave sap, that resembles a milky liquid.
Reposado - Tequila "rested" in wood thanks or barrels for at least two months. Mellow in flavor, pale straw in color.
Tahona - The ancient traditional stone wheel used to crush and extract juice from cooked agave.
Tequila - Both the region and the town that gave the spirit of tequila its name.

Lemon - Salt funda

Mexicans have long known that a little sodium chloride on the tongue can help to mollify the fiery flavor that characterizes much of their food. They use salt when downing chile peppers, for example. By the same token, citrus juices of various kinds have long been used to kill the aftertaste of the more potent forms of alcohol. For example, poor black folks in the U.S. used to cut their port wine with lemon juice.

A single shot of tequila is often served with salt and a slice of lemon or lime. This is referred to as "training wheels". The drinker moistens the back of their hand below the index finger (usually by licking) and pours on the salt. Then the salt is licked off the hand, tequila is drank and the fruit slice is quickly bitten. It is common for groups of drinkers to do this simultaneously. The salt lessens the "burn" of the tequila and the sour fruit balances and enhances the flavor.

Private Reply to Sunayana Suresh (new win)





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