Monday, December 13, 2004

Special Edition: Jalisco, Mexico

Don Abraham's finest!
My visit to Jalisco included a visit to the Don Abraham Tequila factory. During the tour which included a great tasting session, I learned about tequila production and a little about the rich history of this traditional Mexican drink.
Tequila's origins lie with the indigenous Aztec peoples of Mexico, the Chichimecans, Otomies, Toltecans and Nahuatls who made a beverage from the agave plant long before the Spaniards arrived. Jalisco is where the vast majority of the agave used for tequila is harvested and distilled. The agave plant is actually related to the lily and amaryllis (it has its own genus, Agave). It is known as a succulent and, although it shares a common habitat with many cacti, it is not one itself. The thick, spiny blue-green leaves which extend six-eight feet from the plants center are removed and further processed to make a number of other products including clothing and hats. The Agave is poisonous when raw; however when the plants bulbous heart called a pina (pineapple in English) is baked for 50-72 hours it transforms into a starchy, sugary substance that has a mild flavor. It tastes like a sweet potato to me. The juice from the pina (mosto) is fermented (stainless steal fermentation vessels pictured), and double distilled to produced tequila. The best tequila is aged in oak barrels before bottling.

Don Abraham had two varieties of Tequila place in this year’s World Spirits Competition in San Francisco, Ca.

More on Tequila

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