Tequila is one of the most popular spirits here in the Southwest, because it is produced by our neighbors to the south in Mexico. In fact, only the stuff that’s made in the area surrounding the town of Tequila can be called by that name, otherwise it will be labeled as mezcal—similar to the distinction between Champagne and other sparkling wines. This tasty liquor comes in several varieties from silver to Añejo, and the variation comes from how long—if at all—it’s aged. Let’s get a closer look at how tequila is made so that you know a little more about where your next Margarita or Paloma came from.
Harvesting and Roasting Agave
Tequila and other mezcals are made from the agave plant, which is frequently mistaken for a type of cactus. Though it has thorny leaves, agave is not a cactus, and it grows to become quite large. At the center of the plant is the piña, which is a starchy part of the plant that can weigh up to 200 pounds. This section of the plant is roasted in special ovens, and the process converts the starch to sugar, which assists in the distillation process.
Extracting the Liquid
Once roasted, the piñas are shredded and pressed to extract the juice. Then, yeast is added to facilitate the fermentation process, which is when tequila actually becomes alcoholic.
Distilling the Tequila
Finally, distillation occurs, and this purifies the tequila into a drinkable state. All tequila is also aged for a minimum of 14 days, but darker, smoother tequila will age much longer—sometimes up to several decades.
To try out tequila in a wide range of delightful cocktails at your next get together, hire the right bartending crew to work your event. Professional Bartenders Unlimited can help you host the perfect party in Tucson, so give us a call at (520) 721-1577 to book your event.