What makes tequila? How to drink tequila?
Almost every country in the world can boast not only its own culture and traditions, but also local cuisine, as well as the production of original alcoholic beverages. Our country is famous for its strong vodka, France for its aromatic brandy, and Mexico for its pure and slightly tart tequila. The last of these drinks is truly unique, because its production is established in the territory of only one state. How and what do tequila make? We will try to find the answer to this question.
The story of the appearance of the drink
Before we talk about what tequila is made of, we’ll learn a little more about its history. The first mentions of such a drink belong to the 16th century, it was at this time that the Spanish conquerors of Mexico began to prepare strong drinks, which became its ancestors.
In the 17th century, alcohol began to be produced in large quantities, for its manufacture, the local perennial plant agave was used, which has an extremely useful and nutritious pulp. Around the same time, the drink got its name - tequila.It is believed that it is associated with the same small town, lost somewhere in the depths of Mexico. According to one of the versions, the word is translated into Russian literally as “the place of payment of taxes”.
In its present form, the drink is available from about the 19th century. At present, it is even recognized as a national treasure, which allowed Mexico to acquire a monopoly on its production. In Europe, tequila has gained the most popularity after the Olympics in 1968 in South America, at the moment the popularity of the drink continues to increase from year to year. This trend is due to the pronounced original taste, considerable strength and excellent quality guaranteed by the Mexican government.
Let's talk specifically about what tequila is made of. Its main component is agave. In appearance, this plant resembles a pineapple, equipped with hard and very prickly leaves of considerable size. In terms of its dimensions, such a representative of the world of flora can be considered a real giant; in just 10-12 years of life, it can reach a weight of about 90 kilograms.
In total, about 130 species of this plant grow in the country, but only blue agave can be used to produce tequila. Other varieties have also found their use for the manufacture of alcoholic beverages, based on them make drinks such as mezcal or pulque.
It should be noted that the best raw material is agave, grown on special plantations. In the wilderness, the plant rarely lives more than five years and can not provide the necessary raw materials for the drink. It is believed that on average, blue agave should reach the age of eight, it provides the maximum taste of future alcohol. Despite the fact that this representative of the world of flora grows on the plantation, he does not require special care. Thus, plants are not artificially watered in order to avoid a decrease in the concentration of natural sugars in it. So, we can conclude that the main component, which is part of tequila, is the juice from the core of the agave.
The process of making a drink
How is the process of making the Mexican national alcoholic beverage? In a simplified form, it implies the following mandatory steps:
- Squeeze the juice.
- Fermentation of the obtained substance in a special container (for this purpose, a certain amount of natural yeast is added to the liquid).
- Two stages of distillation and interaction with alcohol (the output is a very strong tequila. How many degrees does such a drink contain? Experts claim that the figure is about 55, to reduce the degree alcohol is diluted with water).
- Aged in oak barrels for a certain period.
The first classification of the drink
Currently, it is customary to allocate several main types of strong drink. The priority classification depends on what is included in the tequila. So, it is customary to single out:
- Alcohol made exclusively from agave.
- Alcohol produced from agave (51%) and other vegetable sugars (49%).
Each of these categories can also be divided into four additional subtypes. These include tequila:
- Uncontained, or silver. Bottled in up to one month after production. It has significant transparency and the most pronounced aroma of agave.
- Golden It differs from other caramel flavor, unusual flavor and a little golden, even brownish color.A similar effect is achieved or due to natural dyes, or after aging of alcohol in special barrels.
- Sustained. Undergoing the process of languishing in oak barrels for more than 2 months, but less than one year.
- Over-sustained. It has a significant period of preparation - from 12 months. It rarely comes to the market in large quantities, has a delicate and noble taste, as well as aroma.
It is recommended to familiarize yourself with such a classification before deciding which fortress you need tequila. How many degrees in the drink, directly depends on its exposure, this figure can be equal to 40 and 55 percent.
Truth and myths
One of the most common myths is that tequila is made from cactus. In fact, this has nothing to do with the truth. The prickly desert dweller is not used even for the production of mescal, the basis of this drink is also agave juice, but not blue, but symbiosis of other species. In addition, mescal is subjected to only a single distillation, while tequila passes through a similar procedure twice.
What other legends associated with the popular Mexican vodka? We will try to debunk the main ones:
- Regardless of the brand, any tequila has the same taste, and it makes no sense to overpay for it. In fact, the quality of raw materials, manufacturing technology, the presence of certain sugars in the composition, the material of the fermentation tank are of great importance. All this affects the smell and taste of the drink.
- There is no hangover from tequila. This statement is very conditional and, most likely, due to the fact that a very strong drink cannot be consumed in large quantities.
- Because of the strength of alcohol has a very sharp smell. It is considered that when you buy quality products, alcohol vapors disappear within a few minutes, and you can enjoy the pure aroma of agave.
How should drink tequila?
How can you drink this strong drink? Most of us will say that tequila with salt and lime is a classic recipe, but this is far from the case. This technique is good only for bars and clubs, but real connoisseurs prefer to savor the liquid, enjoying only its pure aroma and taste.
When using Mexican vodka without additives, it is recommended to serve it without pre-cooling, the liquid should be at room temperature and poured into special narrow glasses.Connoisseurs of aroma can also use a container for brandy.
Quite often, an agave-based drink is part of all sorts of cocktails. The most popular of them are:
- "Tequila boom". For its preparation, a tall glass is filled with about 2/3 of Mexican vodka, which is mixed with a transparent sparkling drink such as Schweppes. Capacity covered with his hand and strongly shaken. The resulting composition is recommended to drink before settling foam.
- "Margarita". The cocktail got its name in honor of a beautiful girl who once visited a bar where the drink was first created just for her. It includes tequila, lime juice and orange liqueur, as well as ice chips on the edges of the rim.
- In combination with the juice of lemon and tomatoes, as well as hot pepper, they like to drink tequila in its historic homeland.
- In combination with tea or coffee, and even cocoa, such alcohol is consumed in Europe and several other regions.
Let's talk a little more about what is the most famous recipe for tequila. For him you need to prepare in advance tequila, lemon or lime, as well as salt. Moisten a small amount of freshly squeezed citrus juice to the skin area near the base of the thumb, and sprinkle it on top with salt. Then quickly lick poured and gulp, drink a glass.Your snack will be a slice of lime or lemon.
Instead of completion
Now you know what tequila is made of. In addition to the blue agave juice, the drink may contain water, natural yeast, alcohol, as well as a number of natural dyes (caramel and others). Pay close attention to the composition indicated on the bottle, the inscription 100% agave is evidence of the absence of impurities and additives.