Poster: What are your favorite tequilas?
Mexico’s beloved drink is produced in Tequila, Jalisco a small town that lies in the shadow of a volcano.
Fields of orderly rows of agave tequilana surround the remote town, an hour north of Guadalajara. The prickly blue agave plant dominates the valleys, although you’ll see a cow or two sharing the fields or climbing the volcano.
While Indigenous people consumed various drinks made from agave plants, most notably pulque, the process did not include distillation. When the Spanish arrived they distilled the agave juice, naming the product mezcal. The mezcal produced in the town of Tequila enjoyed wide popularity, it assumed the special name of “tequila” by the end of the 19th century.
Today, the drink has to be manufactured in one of two municipalities, Tequila or Atotonilco, also known as Los Altos — both northeast of Guadalajara — to qualify as genuine tequila.
Like mezcal, there are many qualities and distinct flavors of tequila; the best is not meant to be pounded down with lime and salt, but rather sipped like a cognac.