From the Ancient World to Tequila Tuesdays, a History of the Drink
It all begins with the ancient civilizations that thrived in what is present day Mexico. The precursor to the very lively drink of tequila began with pulque, produced by the ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations. Pulque was made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant, i.e. the agave plant. The drink evolved throughout the centuries to become the beloved drink—that is known to bring out people’s spirit animals—tequila.
Its Humble Beginnings in the Ancient World
Pulque is known to be an authentic beverage from the ancient lands of Mexico and known to be the oldest fermented drink on the continent. It was not just any beverage, however, as it was said to possess divine qualities that enabled the separation of the body and spirit. During the reign of the Aztec, pulque was said to be a gift of the goddess Mayahuel connected to the moon, fertility, and nutrition. It was said that the more one drank, the more one separated from one’s physical constraints and freed the spirit. It was thus seen to have medicinal and healing powers and became known for its ability to help those that needed some spiritual healing. Even today, indigenous peoples of Mexico continue to use the drink for spiritual ceremonies and special occasions.
In the Mesoamerican era, the drink was to be had only by certain people, as it was considered a type of holy drink, blessed with the power of the gods. When the Spanish arrived in the continent, they took a liking to the beverage. In the 17th and 19th centuries the world’s first tequila distillery was born thanks to a man called Don Pedro Sanchez de Tagle, a Marquis of Altamira. Slowly, it started to make its way around the region and the world. Don Jose Antonio Cuervo—the founder of Jose Cuervo brand tequila— was given a land grant in Tequila, Jalisco. It was here he would grow and harvest the blue agave plant.
It was a small inconspicuous little town northwest of Guadalajara called Tequila that gave the spirit its name. According to legend, tequila was born in fire, as its birthplace was on top of the Volcan de Tequila, where a blue agave allegedly exploded after being struck by lightning. It was then that the Goddess Mayahuel became the spirit soon to be known as the intoxicator of the world.
The liquor was backed by wealthy Spanish-descended families, which helped its export market. In 1893, tequila traveled to the World Fair in Chicago, where it was introduced in a mainstream way to the northern region of the United States. During Prohibition, of course, tequila made its way across the border and into the hands of many thirsty patrons.
The Love of Tequila Here and Around the World
Today there are over 100 distilleries producing over 900 recognized brands and ever brand has its own discernible tastes and unique characteristics. Tequila begins in the farms of Mexico and today a lot of producers are small family operations that use the agave produced on their land. There is what is called the Mixto, or mix. This form of tequila is more common and is usually composed of 51% agave and the other 49% is fructose and glucose sugars. The second category is 100% agave and has a stronger and much bolder flavor. The label should specify that it is 100% agave. From here tequila is divided into 5 common varieties called blanco, joven, reposado, anejo, and extra anejo.
According to Statista the United States is Mexico’s biggest importer of tequila followed by Germany, Spain, and France. The summer season is a great time to explore the many variations of tequila, the different drinks to be mixed with it, or the many varieties.
Enjoy Life With a Little Tequila and an Outside Patio
Here at Crown and Eagle, we know the magic powers of tequila all too well. Come by on Tuesdays to get a special on the one and only Jose Cuervo. What better way than to enjoy a cool summer evening in the Sun City and our great outside patio, than with a little spiritual aid and great food specials. Give us a call for the best drink specials in town!