Tequila is only made from one thing. It's made exclusively from the fermented and distilled juices of a cactus-like plant commonly known as the Agave. However, the Agave family consists of many different individual varieties. ( the Aloe Vera plant for example is also in the Agave family ) So, only one particular variety, known as Weber's Blue Agave, can be used to produce Tequila.
The Blue Agave plants used for Tequila production must also be mature enough before they can be used at all, which typically takes anywhere from 8 to 12 years. After a long wait for maturity, the Agave plants are eventually harvested by cutting them off at the base and trimming off all the external "leaves", leaving just the central core of the plant to be used in the Tequila making process.
Above: The " Jimador " ( the head Agave inspector and master pruner ) begins the harvesting process by cutting off the pointed tips, making it easier to work his way down to the core of the plant.
When the trimming process is complete, the plant core resembles a big fat pineapple, so from then on they are known as "Piñas". The Piñas are then trucked over to the distillery for the Tequila making process.
Although the spirit known as Mezcal is produced from an Agave variety also, it is not the same as Tequila and tastes very different. And contrary to popular belief, Mezcal has a worm in the bottle, Tequila does not.
AND NOW, WHAT WE ALL BEEN -REALLY- WAITING FOR, THE COCKTAILS
For a refreshing, thirst quenching tequila cocktail, the Paloma is definitely at the top of the list and it's a favorite in Mexico. It's a light, fruity drink with a fizz and one of the smoothest tequila drinks out there. Almost any blanco tequila works well in combination with the grapefruit and you may also see this cocktail with grapefruit juice and a splash of soda instead of a grapefruit soda like Squirt.
2 oz blanco or reposado tequila 6 oz fresh grapefruit soda 1/2 oz lime juice salt for rimming (optional)
Rim a collins glass with salt. Fill the glass with ice and add the tequila and lime juice. Top it off with grapefruit soda.
Tequila Shot (Straight)
This really isn't a recipe but more of a tutorial on how to take a shot of tequila, or tequila cruda, the Hollywood way. Tequila connoisseurs will tell you that you should savor the taste and aroma slowly when drinking straight tequila. However, this method is a hit at parties and with tourists in Mexico, and there is an order that should be followed for it to make sense. A decent gold or silver tequila or Mezcal is best, avoid the cheaper brands which almost certainly bring on hangovers.
1 1/2 oz tequila lemon or lime wedge 1 pinch of salt
Moisten the back of your hand below the index finger (usually by licking) and pour on the salt. Lick the salt off your hand.The salt lessens the burn of the tequila. Drink the tequila. Quickly bite the lemon or lime wedge. The sour fruit balances and enhances the flavor of the tequila.
Sources of Information
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