Tequila is, without doubt, the Mexican spirit
which is best known outside the country. Tequila
is made from the blue agave plant, which is not a
cactus, as is commonly believed, but is related to
the amaryllis. (other myth: worm)
A specific type of mescal, it is becoming steadily
more popular.

If mescal is brandy, then tequila is Cognac and is
subject to similar controls to those that are
imposed by the French government on their
famous spirit - there are also parallels with the
production of champagne, in that tequila
production is tightly regulated and may only take
place in specially designated areas.

Tequila takes it name from the town where it was
first named Jalisco where it was first made (the
name means "volcano" in the local Indian dialect).
Jalisco is also the home of mariachi music, which
possibly explains how tequila gained its image as a
fun, party drink.

Types of Tequila

Joven or blanco tequila has been bottled
immediately after distillation. It is usually clear,
but can sometimes be golden in colour. This
classification also includes tequilas that have been
aged for less than 60 days.

Reposada tequila is golden in colour and has been
aged in oak for 2-6 months. It has a more
rounded flavour than joven tequila.

Anejo tequila has been aged in oak for a year or
more and has a rich golden colour.

Curados is the name given to blanco or joven
tequila that has been naturally flavoured.
Cinnamon sticks, chillies, almonds and vanilla pods
are among the whole flavourings used, but
essences and syrups can also be used.

Developing a Taste for Tequila

The best way to become a discriminating tequila
drinker is to try as many different brands and
types as possible! Compare and contrast them in
terms of their appearance, bouquet, viscosity and
flavour. Few tequilas taste of only one thing;
most are a complex blend of flavours. They may
taste sweet, earthy, woody, smooth or even
smoky. It is a good idea to taste a new tequila
against a familiar brand to give a standard for

Tequila Drinking

Drinking a shot of tequila in the classic manner,
with a lick of salt beforehand and a wedge of lime
after, is one of the best ways for Europeans to
sample this drink.
The method was originally adopted because the
spirit was so crude that salt and lime were
deemed necessary to make it palatable.

A natural progession from the tequila shot was
the margarita, in Mexico tequila is often sipped
alternately with a glass of sangrita, a tomato
juice flavoured with chillies and other seasonings.
When the tequila and tomato are combined, the
drink becomes a Bloody Maria.


This is the generic name for agave spirit. Tequila
is just one type of mescal.
Unfortunately, in western Europe, the name
mescal is synonymous with one particular brand of
the spirit, which has a maguey worm in the
bottle. This has led to some monumental drinking
sessions as individuals competed to see who would
be landed with the worm (Craig!) and the
reputation of the mescal suffered in the process.

For the record, the worm was originally placed in
the bottle to demonstrate the alcoholic proof of
the mescal, the argument being that the
preservation of the worm (actually a moth larva)
proved the potency of the alcohol.

Oaxaca is largely credited by aficionados as being
one of the best areas for mescal production.
from the best foods are cooked in cazuelas.
A cazuela is a clay cooking bowl with a small
handle on each side. Everywhere you hear the
name of this cooking utensil, you prepared
food.  But for Felipe's Mexican drink is