Brief History of Tequila

Many are familiar with the distinctive taste and smell of Tequila, whether in its straight shot form or mixed into a fruity cocktail, but few realize that the maguey plant from which it is made is actually a type of agave or cactus. Since Tequila is not made from distilled grapes or grains, but instead is the fermented juice or sap of the mescal plant, it does not contain any congeners. These are the toxins that are created during the alcohol fermentation process and are known to contribute to the strength of your hangover. Good quality Tequila can be enjoyed without worrying about a painful hangover the following morning.


While Tequila can be produced between 70-110 proof, in Mexico it is traditionally made at 80-86 proof and served “Blanco”, meaning that it is aged less than 2 months. However, 50-gallon white oak casks are also used to produce aged Tequila. Anejo is the term given to Tequila aged for 1 year and Muy Anejo for Tequila aged 2-4 years. Tequila Oro is so named because of its strong golden hue and is created by aging it in used Whiskey barrels.


The blue agave plant from which Tequila is made has grown in the wild desert regions of Mexico and the south western U.S. for thousands of years. There is recorded evidence of the Aztecs producing a fermented juice of the maguey plant and calling it “Pulque”. This can still be found in smaller Mexican villages and is often served to tourists. There is even a cream version of the popular Tequila drink that is made in various areas of Mexico; however, true Tequila can only be called as such if it comes from the area around the city of Tequila, in the state of Jalisco. It must also contain a minimum of 51% of the sugars of the blue agave plant. More expensive Tequilas are made with 100% of the blue agave plant.

Tequila Around the World

Tequila is drunk around the world and served in a variety of different ways. Since being introduced to the U.S. in 1873, Tequila has become a popular drink at a multitude of celebrations, commonly being drunk as a shot called a “Tequila Slammer”. Salt is commonly licked off the back of a hand then the tequila is drunk and a slice of lime quickly bitten. In Mexico Tequila is also traditionally served with salt and lime but often accompanied by a spicy tomato drink called Sangrita as well. In Germany and other European countries, golden Tequila is usually served with cinnamon and a slice of orange. Around the world, higher-quality Tequilas are normally served neat in narrow shot glasses or snifters, while cheaper Tequilas are used to make the popular cocktail – margarita. The specially shaped margarita glass is rimmed with salt and the cocktail of Tequila, triple sec and lime or lemon juice.

Bartending Tequila

Tequila like other alcohols is known mainly through a single popular brand due to pop culture. We all hear songs and TV shows talk about serving Patron and relating it to being ealthy and having a great time. But Tequila is a delicacy to the customers who truly enjoy its flavours and aromas. Don’t be surprised when customers prefer other brands over Patron. Some ways you can expect to serve to Tequila will be as a shot with salt and a wedge of lime, in margaritas, in a Tequila Sunrise, or in drinks like a Long Island Iced Tea.

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