How much do you really know about tequila?

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What is tequila made from?

Blue agave plant

Where can tequila be produced?

Jalisco and limited municipalities in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas

What is the difference between tequila and mezcal?

Tequila is made only from blue agave and the beverages are prepared in different ways

When was the term 'tequila' declared as Mexico's intellectual property?


What is the traditional way to drink tequila in Mexico?

Neat, without lime and salt, or with a side of sangrita

What is the difference between mixtos and 100% agave tequilas?

Mixtos contain at least 51% agave, while 100% agave tequilas are made entirely from agave

What is the process by which alpha-keto acids are decarboxylated and transformed to aldehydes and to higher alcohols called?

Ehrlich pathway

What is the name of the official tequila glass approved by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila?

Ouverture Tequila glass

What is the age of the agave plant's effect on the alcohol production?

Older plants produce higher concentrations of amyl alcohol

Study Notes

Tequila: a distilled alcoholic beverage from Mexico

  • Tequila is a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila in Jalisco.

  • The region near Tequila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006, the Agave Landscape and Ancient Industrial Facilities of Tequila.

  • Tequila can be produced only in the state of Jalisco and limited municipalities in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas.

  • Tequila is differentiated from mezcal in that it is made only from blue agave and the beverages are prepared in different ways.

  • The first tequila distillery in the United States was opened in 1936 in Nogales, Arizona by Harry J. Karns.

  • Most well-known tequila brands are owned by large multinational corporations, but over 100 distilleries make over 900 brands of tequila in Mexico.

  • The Mexican government declared the term "tequila" to be its intellectual property in 1974.

  • In 2018, the Mexican government approved a proposal to celebrate the third Saturday of March as National Tequila Day.

  • Planting, tending, and harvesting the agave plant remains a manual effort, relying on centuries-old know-how.

  • The differences in taste between tequila made from valley and highland agave plants can be noticeable.

  • The specific yeasts and the environments in which they act determine the resultant organoleptic combinations in fermentation.

  • The type of yeast strain used and the carbon:nitrogen factors have the biggest influence on the production of higher alcohols such as isobutyl alcohol and isoamyl alcohol in tequila.The Science of Tequila

  • Tequila is made by fermenting and distilling the juice of the blue agave plant.

  • The Ehrlich pathway is the process by which alpha-keto acids are decarboxylated and transformed to aldehydes and to higher alcohols.

  • Temperature greatly affects the alcohol content of the resulting product, with a higher temperature being more optimal for yeast fermentation.

  • The age of the agave plant affects the alcohol production, with older plants producing higher concentrations of amyl alcohol.

  • Tequila comes in an array of colors ranging from clear to a dark amber brown, depending on the aging process and type of wood used for storage.

  • There are more than 300 known compounds in tequila, which contribute to its distinctive flavor and aroma.

  • Organoleptic compounds are responsible for the flavor and aroma profiles of tequila, and increase in concentration with a slower fermentation process.

  • Higher-order alcohols have a strong aroma, and their quantity in each tequila depends on the carbon:nitrogen ratio and temperature during the cooking and fermentation processes.

  • Methanol is thought to be mainly generated through hydrolysis of methylated pectin which is naturally present in the agave plant.

  • The maturation process causes four main chemical transformations to the tequila compounds, including a decrease in fusel oil concentration and an increase in acids, esters, and aldehydes.

  • The two basic categories of tequila are mixtos and 100% agave.

  • The traditional way to drink tequila in Mexico is neat, without lime and salt, or with a side of sangrita.

  • Outside of Mexico, tequila is often served with salt and a slice of lime or lemon.Tequila: Production, Glasses, Cocktails and IP Protection

  • The Tequila Regulatory Council states that only tequilas distilled with 100% agave can be designated as "100% agave".

  • High-quality 100% agave tequilas are usually sipped from a snifter glass and savoured instead of quickly gulped to detect subtler fragrances and flavours.

  • The Consejo Regulador del Tequila approved an "official tequila glass" in 2002 called the Ouverture Tequila glass, made by Riedel.

  • Tequila is most often served in a narrow shot glass called a caballito, but can also be found in anything from a snifter to a tumbler.

  • The margarita glass, frequently rimmed with salt or sugar, is a staple for the entire genre of tequila-based mixed drinks, including the margarita.

  • A variety of cocktails are made with tequila, including the traditional margarita, the Paloma, and the Tequila Sunrise.

  • Tequila became Mexico's first appellation of origin (AO) in 1974 and was internationally registered for protection under the Lisbon Agreement in 1978.

  • The AO defines the area in which tequila can be produced, and only selected municipalities within five Mexican states can grow the agave and produce tequila.

  • The Mexican government enforces the tequila intellectual property through the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) and may prohibit any unauthorized use of the name that may create confusion for the consumers.

  • Canada and the United States recognize tequila and mezcal as products originating from Mexico and, consequently, do not permit the sale of any product as tequila and/or mezcal unless they have been lawfully prepared in Mexico.

  • Similar to the law of Canada, the U.S. law says that tequila must be "manufactured in Mexico in compliance with the laws of Mexico regulating the manufacture of Tequila for consumption in that country."

  • The Mexican authorities took the opportunity of the bilateral negotiations with China to ensure that the latter accepted tequila as a geographically indicated product.

Think you know everything there is to know about tequila? Test your knowledge with our Tequila Quiz! From its production process to its unique flavor profile, this quiz covers everything you need to know about this beloved Mexican spirit. Learn about the differences between tequila and mezcal, the science behind the fermentation and distillation processes, the types of glasses used to serve tequila, and the intellectual property protection surrounding this iconic drink. So grab a shot (or a margarita) and take our

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