In Australia, Tequila has come a long way since the days of slamming down shots with salt and lemon. Today, the delectable agave spirit is a true connoisseur’s beverage, with collectors enjoying some of the finest drops to come out of Mexico!
Whether it’s pure Mexican goodness – or Australian made Tequila – the beverage has many fun facts that add to its allure, so let’s take a look at some of those facts for your agave enjoyment:
The agave plant takes a long time to grow
Producers have to be in some serious time to produce this fine beverage, with the agave plant taking anywhere from eight to 12 years to fully grow before reaching heights of around seven metres tall!
Agave is different to cactus
The agave plant may look like cactus, but in actuality it is from the agavoideae family, which is a succulent that is more related to the lily plant.
Only true Tequila is from the region
Like what you would find with champagne, Scotch and some fine wines, the agave spirit has to be from its eponymous Mexican region to carry the name. And, whilst the Australian made version is a delightful variation, it is not allowed to carry the actual name of this delightful spirit.
It has to be made from the blue agave plant
To reach the status of actual Tequila, the spirit must consist of 51% blue agave, although many labels today use 100% pure agave. Pure versions are typically more expensive than their mixed counterparts with cheaper versions better to use in cocktails.
Only the heart is used to make the spirit
When producing this fabulous beverage, only the agave hearts, or piñas, are cut out, before being cooked, ground and fermented. This means that the heart can only be used once before a new plant must grow.
It is a seriously old drink
The drink dates waaay back to 150 B.C. to when the inhabitants of ancient Teotihuacan – who are older than the Aztecs, drank what was called “pulque”.
The soil used in production impacts its taste
Just like wine, the soil that the agave is grown in has a big influence on its flavour. Los Altos (highlands) variations often taste sweeter and grassier, whilst El Valle (lowlands) variations typically possess a more mineral flavour.
There are five variations of the classic spirit
There isn’t one single variation, in fact there are five variations of the classic beverage, including blanco, Joven, or “Gold”, with both being rested for some time to equalise and smoothen the flavour. These variations – often more smooth – are also known as “suave”, which is, you guessed it, Spanish for smooth!
Jovens are typically blended, sometimes with simple sweeteners and colourants and other times with older Tequilas, making them a better option for making cocktails.
Reposado variations have the lowest amount of ageing, as the spirit can stay in the barrel for anywhere from two months to a year before being bottled. Añejo, conversely, is aged from one to three years, with extra añejo being aged for at least three years before bottling.
It was viewed as a cure for the Spanish Flu
Okay, we’re not here to promote the potential health benefits of this fine alcohol, but during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic patients were instructed to drink the beverage to ease the symptoms, but perhaps that’s just because they got a little tipsy…