Tequila: History and Legend.

Tequila, history and legend

You can’t talk about Mexico without talk about Tequila, the distilled drink more representative of Mexico. Tequila is made from fermented and distilled juice extracted of blue agave.

Tequila is from Jalisco, according to serious researchers. No municipality can claim to be the “origin of tequila”. Mezcal-Wine, now known as tequila was already produced in the Province of Avalos (now Ciudad Guzman) since 1616.

Currently there is a dispute between Tequila and Amatitan, since both claim to be the origin. Amatitan, with an open sky tavern located  in the canyon of Tecuane, in the property of Caballito Cerrero factory, and Tequila for his part in the Jose Cuervo factory. But neither of the two statements is based on historical truth, because, with respect to the taverns, the oldest are located in the Sierra de Tequila and because no Tequila’s companies have claimed to be the origin of Tequila.

What is certain, is that Tequila is a product of the encounter of two worlds, it uses a technique originated in Europe to transform an ancient art of Mexican land.

Legend of the origin of Tequila

The history of Tequila, dates back several centuries ago, when indigenous people of Jalisco had to seek refuge in a cave as a result of a storm.

Suddenly, lightning struck on mezcales (agave hearts) which burned for several hours. When the storm passed, the wind carried to the neighbors a pleasant aroma. One of them took a piece of burnt agave and when tast it, was sweet. Then he offered to others, discovering the usefulness of the plant.

tequila agave pinneaple

To the heart of agave, like a giant pineapple, is called “mezcal” which in Nahuatl means “the house of the moon” to mean the essence, the center.

An indigenous forgot the juice for several days and when come back to his hut, he discovered a new scent that enveloped the atmosphere. Then observed small bubbles leaving of the juice, that formed a thick white foam.  When testing it, found a rich and distinct flavor. Then he removed liquid from the foam for consumption.

The beverage motivated in the native a personality change, hence, the liquid was considered a gift from the gods.


Mayahuel, maternal and fertility goddesses in Mexica mythology

In Mexica codices includes representation of the goddess Mayahuel, with its 400 breast fed the same number of children, the Centzon-totochtin, patrons of drunkenness. Among the Aztecs, the tequila was consumed only by hierarchs and priests in religious events and festivals.

Upon arrival of the Spanish, Moctezuma II gave a banquet to Hernán Cortés with tequila, who was believed Quetzalcoatl.

The Spanish decided to purify the drink by distillation to get a stronger product, giving way to the called mescal wine or schnapps.

Some historians claim that before the conquest, the natives had domesticated the agave plant for a specific purpose and they knew distill the juice and that after the conquest, only changed the clay pots in which they distilled it by a metal still.

In the seventeenth century, with the introduction of Spanish distillation systems, tequila and mezcal became new sources of wealth, whose production was controlled by the conquerors.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Spanish encouraged the production of agave and laid the foundation for the development of the product characteristic of the area: Tequila.

Designation of origin

The name “Tequila” can be used only by producers established in which has been established as “protected area” (all municipalities of Jalisco, and some of Nayarit, Guanajuato, Michoacan and Tamaulipas), for growing agave Tequilana Weber in blue variety.

tequila blue agave

Agave Tequilana Weber, blue variety.

To be called “Tequila”, the drink must be made ​​in Mexico and contain at least 51% of sugars from the agave, although the purest tequilas are 100% agave. In the mixed tequilas, agave syrup mixed with corn syrup or sugar cane syrup.

In Mexico, we have over 200 different types of agave, which are used to obtain other beverages which are called “mezcal” accompanied by the name of the town where they are produced.

I’d love to hear what you think about tequila and others mexican drinks in the comments below this post.

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