History of Tequila & How It’s Made
July 21, 2022
Tequila is a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant. The drink has been around for centuries, and its production process is still largely unchanged today. Let’s take a closer look at the history and manufacturing of this iconic Mexican spirit.
The History of Tequila
The Aztecs first used the agave plant to make a drink called pulque. This drink was made by fermenting the sap of the agave plant, and it was used for religious and ceremonial purposes. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico, they began to make their own version of pulque, which they called mezcal. Mezcal was made with the same agave sap, but it was distilled, and it quickly became popular among the Spanish settlers.
Tequila was first produced in the 16th century in the town of Tequila, which is located in the state of Jalisco. The first tequila distillery was built by the Marquis of Altamira. Tequila was originally made with a type of agave known as Blue Weber Agave (agave azul). This variety of agave is still used to make tequila today.
The Agave Used for the Well-Known Mexican Spirit
The Blue Weber Agave is used to make tequila. This agave grows in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. The climate and soil in this region are ideal for growing the blue agave.
The blue agave takes around 8 – 10 years to mature and is then harvested by hand. Once harvested, the agave is then taken to the distillery where it is cooked and fermented.
How is Tequila Crafted
Tequila is a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant. The drink is typically composed of 40% – 60% alcohol by volume (80 – 120 proof) and is made in Mexico. Tequila is made from the heart of the agave plant, which is called the piña. The piña is roasted above-ground in an oven and then shredded or grounded into a pulp. Then, the pulp is mixed with water and yeast and fermented in large vats for two to three weeks. After fermentation, the mixture is distilled two or three times to produce the final product.
The Fermentation Process
The fermentation process for tequila is a little different than other liquors. First, the hearts of the blue agave are cooked in an autoclave, which is a steam-pressure cooker. This breaks down the complex carbohydrates into simple sugars. Next, the cooked agave hearts are crushed and mixed with water to create a mash. This mash is then placed in fermentation tanks where yeast is added and the mixture is left to ferment for several days.
Once the fermentation process is complete, the resulting liquid, called “mosto,” is distilled twice. The first distillation produces a raw spirit called “ordinario” with an alcohol content of around 20%. This liquid is then distilled again to produce tequila with an alcohol content of around 40%.
Different Types of Tequila
There are different types of tequila, each with their own flavor and character. The most common types of tequila are blanco, reposado and añejo.
Blanco or Silver Tequila
Blanco or silver tequila is a type of tequila that is made from unaged agave. It is clear in color and has a slightly sweet flavor. Silver tequila is typically used in cocktails, such as margaritas.
Reposado tequila is a type of tequila that has been aged for at least two months in oak barrels. It has a mellower flavor than blanco tequila and is often used in mixed drinks.
Añejo tequila is a type of tequila that has been aged for at least one year in oak barrels. It has a rich, smooth flavor and is often enjoyed neat or on the rocks.
Extra Añejo Tequila
Extra añejo tequila is a type of tequila that has been aged for at least three years in oak barrels. It has a very smooth flavor and is often enjoyed neat or on the rocks.
The Margarita is Born Thanks to Tequila
The margarita is a popular cocktail drink that was invented in Mexico. It is made with tequila, lime juice and orange liqueur, and typically served with a salt-rimmed glass. The margarita is believed to have been invented in the 1930s during a time when tequila was becoming popular in the United States.
Over the years, the margarita has become one of the most popular cocktails in the world and there are now many different variations of the drink.
Get a Taste of Our Favorite Tequila’s at Uncle Julio’s
Our bar houses nearly 40 different tequilas, so you can find the perfect one for your margarita, or any other drink! We’ve got something for everyone, whether you like it sweet, smoky, or with a bite.
- 1800 (Reposado, Silver)
- Bosscal Mezcal
- Cabo Wabo (Blanco, Reposado)
- Camerana Silver
- Casa Noble Crystal
- Casamigos (Añejo, Blanco, Reposado)
- Cuervo Especial Gold
- Don Julio (Añejo, Reposado, Silver)
- Dulce Vida Blanco
- El Jimador Blanco
- El Mayor Blanco
- Espolòn (Blanco, Reposado)
- Exotico Reposado
- Herradura (Añejo, Reposado, Silver)
- Hornitos (Blanco, Reposado)
- Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado
- Lunazul (Blanco, Reposado)
- Milagro Silver
- Patrón (Añejo, Reposado, Silver)
- Sauza Conmemorativo Añejo
- Tanteo Jalapeño
- Tres Agaves (Añejo, Blanco, Reposado)
Come Celebrate National Tequila Day with Us
At Uncle Julio’s, we take our margaritas seriously. We use only the freshest seasonal ingredients in every drink — from top-shelf tequilas to fresh fruit juices and zesty limes. Our bartenders are passionate about making perfect margaritas for each and every guest, so come on July 24th during National Tequila Day and enjoy a taste of Mexico!
Common Questions Asked About Tequila
What is the difference between Tequila and Mezcal?
Tequila and mezcal are both types of Mexican spirits, but they are made from different types of agave plants. Mezcal is made from the maguey agave, while tequila is made from the blue agave. Tequila is also typically made in a more industrialized process, while mezcal is still made in a traditional, artisanal way.
Which states are Tequila makers?
It is most commonly produced in the Mexico states of Jalisco, Tamaulipas, Guanajuato, Nayarit, but there are also some smaller producers in Texas and California.