Slideshow Story: Taking On Tequila

Published on Jul 6, 2010
The Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Taking On Tequila - BY MIKE DESIMONE AND JEFF JENSSENLong ago, in a place far, far away from Spring Break, beachfront resorts and frozen blender drinks, there lived a goddess named Mayahuel, who loved a half-man, half-god named Quetzlcoatl. Their love was forbidden by Mayahuel’s grandmother, the goddess of darkness, who plucked the stars from the night sky and gave them the task of hunting down the lovers, killing Quetzalcoatl, and bringing her granddaughter home. In the heat of battle, Mayahuel was accidentally killed, and it is said that from the drops of her blood mingled with her lover’s tears the first agave plant sprouted.

And from agave springs Tequila. Rich in myth and in history, Tequila is also as contemporary as any other major player in cocktail culture, in this sense: depending on the style, Tequilas can be sipped like a fine Cognac, or lend their assertive peppery-vegetal heat to cocktails.

And there is magic in Tequila, both the drink and the region. Wine lovers know the thrill, the enchantment, of enjoying wine within sight of where the grapes grow. But you can enjoy Burgundy in Burgundy and Chianti in Chianti, while for the Tequila geek there is only one pilgrimage to make: Jalisco, the state in central-western Mexico where 95% of agave is grown and the spirit Tequila is produced. Visiting there recently, our Tequila dreams came to life, seeing the sea of blue-green fronds—low palm tree-like succulents hugging the mineral-rich red earth.

The history and tradition of Tequila figures strongly throughout this fertile region, and whether you traverse it by car, train or even hot-air balloon, you cannot help but return home with a newfound respect for the legendary spirit and your passion for it renewed.

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