We all know that Tequila makes for a great drink, especially when the sun is shining. But as you clink your glasses or mix that second (or third - we won’t tell!) margarita, give a thought to where this punchy liquid actually comes from. Like all good things, Tequila derives from a plant and has quite interesting origins.
Tequila’s story begins with the blue agave plant in Mexico. A distilled liquid made primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, northwest of Guadalajara, this is unsurprisingly where the spirit gets its name from. More than 300 million blue agave plants are harvested each year from this area, and, as with wine, the terroir can influence the taste and aroma of the Tequila. Due to its historical and cultural importance, the region near Tequila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.
Contrary to its spiky appearance, the agave plant is not a cactus but is infact a succulent that grows in the desert. Native to Mexico, there are around 166 different species of agave, but the only one used to make Tequila is the blue agave. This big bluey-green plant takes between 8 and 12 years to harvest and can grow to a height of 7 feet. It really is a labour of love!
Here are a few more interesting facts about Tequila and the blue agave plant:
- Tequila has an appellation of origin - just like Champagne, Cognac, and some fine wines, it can only be produced in a few regions in Mexico
- Only the agave heart is used to make Tequila - the hearts of the plant, also known as the piñas, are cut out, cooked, ground down, and fermented to make Tequila. That means that after each harvest, a new agave plant must be planted and grown from scratch
- Tequila is good for your health - during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, patients were instructed to drink Tequila with lime and salt to ease their symptoms. It’s said that Tequila can help soothe sore throats, ease congestion and aid with sleep, so a margarita a day really could keep the doctor away
Whether you are a Tequila connoisseur or a complete novice, it’s good to know a little bit about this delicious drink and the precious plant that it comes from. And, if you’re looking to up your summertime drinks game this year, we’ve got everything you need here at Oleander, from salt scoops, to coasters, to fun cocktail napkins. Visit us here to take a look at what’s in stock. Cheers!