History of tequilaTequila History Tequila - Junior Representativea very ancient kind of Mexican drinks. How, according to the apocryphal legend, "before Eve was Lilith," so before tequila was mezcal. And before mescal - native octoli, or pulque. This intoxicating ingot of the Aztec Indians drank more than one century and drank as much if in 1520 the Spaniards did not appear in the New World. The conquistadors found the state of local alcohol production depressing. The Indians did not know the grapes, they extracted sweet juice from a strange plant, piercing a wild fruit with a reed, and then allowed to ferment it. This foaming beverage was fortified by beer and old and young people during religious activities. The plant itself was considered the gift of heaven and the tree of miracles, the embodiment of the early incarnation of the goddess Mayauel, who had 400 breasts to feed all her four hundred children. Strong degree was needed by the Spaniards not so much because of the rigidity of their natures, but because of the habit of not trusting the water. If necessary, drink water, for example, in the absence of wine, it was disinfected, adding strong alcohol, kegs with which stood on ships as lysolum, and not as fuel of pirate feasts. Here in a foreign land the Europeans had no choice, and a few years after landing on the Aztec shore, low-alcoholic local pulque was distilled to increase the fortress. The resulting drink was given the name of a local plant, which the Spaniards redecorated in their own way and began to be called "wine from mescal", or simply "mezcal". So the fusion of the two cultures created a new drink - from the local plant and the European experience. And if you do not forget that the Arabs taught the method of sublimation of the Spaniards, then all three civilizations. Tequila beverageTequila drink Before tequila - refined,refined mescal, there was only one step, but it was possible to make it only after three centuries. In the second half of the 19th century, a product from the area around the town of Tequila in the state of Jalisco - "Tequila mezcal" began to be called simplistically "tequila", just as the brandy from the famous region of France became just cognac. The very first written mention of tequila belongs to the French traveler Ernest de Vigneaux. However, several decades passed before the common noun phrase became widespread. A peak in the heart There are 136 types of agave growing in Mexico, only one of them - blue - is used to make tequila. To keep its reserves from running out, succulent plantations are constantly being renewed. Agave is a succulent, not a cactus, as many believe! The main difference is that the plant accumulates moisture in the leaves, and not in the stems, like a cactus. Before the rainy season, small sprouts obtained from adult plants are planted in rows in cultivated gardens - potreros - 3-4 thousand per hectare. But before the core of the agave - a pineapple-shaped peak, ripens and pours into juice, it must take from 8 to 12 years. To make it more massive, flower shoots are chopped off during the flowering period - so nutrients are not spent on the formation and maturation of seeds. According to manufacturers, this "" is economically profitable, but, from the point of view of biologists, it has a double harm: the population of long-nosed bats, which pollinate agave flowers, is decreasing, which, in turn, reduces the number of wild plants required for technical needs. The appearance of reddish spots on the leaves of the agave is a sign that the fruit has accumulated a sufficient amount of sweet juice, and the Himadors, the pickers, can begin to work. They chop off the leaves and then chop the fruit with long "koa" - sharpened shovels. By the way, not everyone can work as a himador: only physically strong men, because one peak weighs up to 100 kilograms, and in a day you have to process and drag up to a ton of fruits to the tractor. Himadors never sit around. Harvested all year round. Then the fruits are taken to the factory, where they are waitedfurnace. Split or quartered peaks are placed in the oven or autoclaves, where they languish at a temperature of 60-80 ° C from 12 to 72 hours. This process is necessary to split inulin into fructose and glucose, which are easier to ferment, dissolve in water and, therefore, are easier to remove from the fibers. However, it is dangerous to accelerate it - a high temperature can lead to the beginning of caramelization of agave sugar. After that, agave leaves are allowed to cool (in industrial production for very little), they are crushed at special mills, the pulp is squeezed, and then the juice containing about 12% of sugar is placed in steel fermentation tanks (handicraft factories sometimes leave the pulp unrequited). 7-10 days of fermentation at a temperature of 30-40 ° C transform the sweet mass into a kind of pulque with an alcohol content of 4-7 degrees. From this brew, as in the times of the conquistadors, "mescal wine" is sublimated. Tequila, in contrast to mescal, passes the obligatory double distillation, and from the second distillation only the middle part of the sublimated product - the so-called "El Corso", the heart - goes into production. Sometimes triple distillation is carried out, however many experts oppose "over-cleaning", believing that it leads to a thinning of the agave aroma. Under a statue of a chimaadorbecame a town with the once-nothing name of Tequila. Now here from Guadalajara there is a tourist "Tequila Express". At the entrance to the city you are greeted by a statue - not a girl with a paddle, but a chimaadora with a shovel-koa in her hand. Here, the beverage manufacturers hospitably opened the doors of their museums, part-time playing the role of tasting rooms. The variety of the same drink in Tequila has no end. On the last day of November, the National Tequila Fair opens in the city, representing an endless celebration for the public with cockfighting, with Mexican rodeo - charreadas, with fiery shows and serenades of wandering troupes. But the main "center of gravity" of the town with a population of 35 thousand people is located beyond its borders. Here, on the slopes of the extinct volcano Tequila, more than half of the Mexican agave grows - Tequilana weber azul loves height. Maximum size and ripeness, it reaches at a height of one and a half kilometers above sea level. The subject of national pride Tequila dedicated poems and poems not only local performers in broad hats, but also rock bands, for example The Eagle. Surrounded by such attention, she was simply doomed to become a Mexican legend, which gave rise to increased demand. If, on the other hand, to multiply a hectare of land given under the agave plantation by the average density of plantations, it turns out that every citizen of the country has at least 2-3 blue agaves growing in anticipation of an hour when they become a national drink. And if you remember that one bottle receives a few bottles of tequila (the calculation is 7 kilograms of flesh pulp give a liter of tequila), it becomes clear that the production has long acquired a scale that goes beyond the country. This is especially noticeable in Guadalajara, the capital of the state of Jalisco. Almost every one of his residents is associated with the production of a local drink. In total, in Mexico, one way or another, 300,000 people work for tequila. Even at the local university, an office is opened that produces technologists for distilling tequila. This faculty is like a reciprocal sign of gratitude, because 200 years ago it was the tax that the local government imposed on the mescal factories that allowed this university to open. The popularity of tequila, which went beyond the borders of the country, led to the need to protect both the name and methods of production of the drink. This was done by the Mexican government in the 1970s. Moreover, the agave was grown and tequila made from it only in 5 states: Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit and Tamaulipas. Today in the territory of these states a little more than fifty tequilokurens are open. On the label of each bottle, they put the CRT badge and the NOM (National Quality Standard of Mexico) abbreviation with the number assigned to the chamber by the Chamber of Commerce, which is a guarantee of product quality. In addition, a bottle under the trademark must be indicated tequila (and not the spirit of agava) and its type should be indicated: blanco (plata), joven (gold), reposado or anejo. In tequila made exclusively of blue agave, 100% agave will be present on the label. If there is no such inscription, before you - tequila mixto. And the final touches: Hecho en Mexico means that the product is produced and bottled in its historical homeland, in Mexico. On the mixto variety this requirement does not apply. The inscription Hecho a mano - "manual", artisanal, production - speaks of a traditional, unabated production cycle. The taste of tequila from a bottle with such a label is likely to be rich, and this will certainly affect its price. Varieties of the drink Blanco, or plata (silver) - unalloyed tequila, bottled immediately after distillation or aged in drums for up to 30 days. The basis of all other varieties of the drink. Mostly conveys the aroma of agave, especially if 100% agave. Joven abocado ("spilled young"), it is also oro (gold) - a hit of sales all over the world, including Russia, - flavored, with the addition of caramel for giving color, tequila mixto. The highly successful move of marketers - and a good start acquaintance with the drink. Reposado - tequila, which after distillation for several months is placed in wooden barrels (usually oak) to give an additional flavor and color. Many manufacturers use barrels from whiskey or brandy. The taste of tequila reposado is more acute, "with peppercorn." Some lovers believe that in the tequila the aroma of the agave creeps away. The most popular tequila in Mexico. Anejo ("aniejo", that is sustained), stored in oak barrels of tequila usually from one to ten years. Since long-term storage of tequila in barrels involves the danger that the tree will break the initial taste of the agave, after a few years, tequila is poured into stainless steel containers. The taste of tequila anejo saturated, woody, "with a haze". When choosing a variety of tequila, perhaps the main thing is not the age and type of production, but the percentage of raw agave stuff. Tequila, made of agave without any other sugar, as more authentic, should be called the best choice. However, to such tequila, as to 99-percent chocolate, you need to approach gradually. Grades mixto, in which the taste of agave is muffled by other sugar, mostly reed, is more accessible to unprepared taste. It is the mixto mixto that tequila is due to its rise in popularity in the US in the 1980s. In many respects, he is obliged to the flexibility of the Mexican Bureau of Standards (Normas Oficial Mexicana), whose experts, in meeting the wishes of the market, in 1978 lowered the bar of minimum content of agave juice from 70 percent (1964 standard) to 51. North American experts recommend storing the contents of a once-uncorked bottle tequila no more than 1-2 months, otherwise it will begin to lose its taste properties. Since it is difficult to suspect a Russian citizen of such inhuman self-control, we advise not to drink a bottle of tequila at a time and alone. First, even tequila, made exclusively of agave and past double distillation, hangover syndrome does not differ from whiskey or gin, and secondly, this drink, as the poet Alvaro Mutis wrote, is created for a friendly dialogue that does not tolerate haste.Tequila and mescal: what is the difference?Despite the fact that tequila is a more refined alcoholic beverage, mescal still does not give up its positions today. Among Mexicans, it is still popular. Its adherents say that it best conveys the fragrance of the plant. There are known local variations of mescal, made from different types of agave: Sotol, Baconora and others, and in rural areas you can also try pulque today. Since the middle of the XX century, companies specializing in mescal, to attract the attention of buyers began to pour the drink into the ovadrachennye bottles with bright labels. Many sell them complete with a bag containing a mixture of salt and powder from the dried caterpillars Bombix agavis and Hypopta agavis, living in the shoots of the agave. This mixture is used before using mescal. Or even steeper - a carcass of a caterpillar is put in a bottle. It during life is painted in bright red color, in the alcoholized form it quickly decolorates. According to the etiquette of drinking the mescal, the caterpillar is divided equally among all the participants in the drinking of the bottle. The basic principles of distinguishing peasant mescal from noble tequila are as follows: 1. Mescal is made from different types of agave, ripening faster, and tequila is made from blue. 2. Fruits are heat treated in furnaces of various shapes and technologies, mezcal in narrow underground, tequila in round furnaces located on the ground. 3. Tequila - a product of double, sometimes even triple distillation, mescal - the same. 4. Mescal is usually somewhat stronger than tequila - up to 40 degrees. Burning cocktails To taste tequila, go to Mexico is not necessary. In any bar in the world since the 1980s - the time of raising interest in this drink - you will always pour a gold mixto tequila. Especially popular cocktails on its basis: the very fact of having a hot Mexican drink in them gives a "drive". The most famous cocktail is Las Margaritas, the immortal and permanent "Margarita". The classic recipe looks like this: tequila (usually tequila mixto) with lemon juice and orange liqueur. Although it can be changed in several bars of the world. On the American continent to strongMexican drink is often served "Sangritu" - a non-alcoholic cocktail from a mixture of tomato juice and orange. They drink tequila and in pure form, however, with some "trick", concluded in the formula: "salt - tequila - lime". About where it came from, there is a tradition. In 1930, when an influenza was raging in Northern Mexico, the local doctor prescribed tequila with salt and lemon as a remedy for the deadly flu epidemic. Most likely, the doctor himself often tried this pleasant combination on himself and wished to support them with a taste for life in patients. It should not be forgotten that in the old days, when tequila was still mescal, its taste was more coarse, and the fortress was higher than it is today. Therefore, salt and lime were designed to distract the perception of the taste taste of alcohol by the taste receptors. The recipe took root. A lot of such connoisseurs of tequila are convinced that salt and lime, like ice, grapefruit juice or a cigar, only distract from the true taste of the drink, which should not be drunk at a glance, not shaded with ingredients, but savored like cognac and old wine. "100 percent of the agave. All the rest will be superfluous ", - this is the slogan of people who devoted decades of life to comprehend the taste of the legendary tequila.