Tequila History: Part Two

Blue Weber Agave before being harvested and turned into 100% de Agave Tequila

And here continues the history of Tequila. In June, we explained the roots of Tequila in the Aztec civilization and how the Spaniards distilled agave spirits to create a brandy-substitute. Now let’s see how Tequila came to be known as ‘Tequila” and the Mexican government’s promotion of the spirit.

The 1700s to 1800s AD: 
In 1758, the King of Spain granted Senior José Antonio Cuervo the rights to cultivate land in Mexico, laying the foundation of the Jose Cuervo brand, the largest producer and exporter of Tequila today.  In 1858, Don Cenobio Sauza fell in love with agave farming, founding Sauza Tequila and beginning the great rivalry between Sauza and Cuervo. During the mid-1800s, the Blue Weber agave was identified as the ideal plant for Tequila and insisting the spirit can only be made from this strain of agave.  Previously, various types of agave species were used; today, many of those agave species are distilled into mezcal. In 1873, Tequila was first exported to and made its debut in the United States, thanks to the work of the original Tequila families.  After Mexico gained independence in 1823, Tequila became a symbol of national pride, as European spirits were cast aside. The popularity of the spirit grew outside of Mexico as Prohibition in the US pushed American imbibers to smuggle the agave spirit into the US, and again during World War II when the decreased supply of European spirits.  As a result of this growing demand, the Mexican government created new regulations and two government bodies to oversee production and exportation.

The 1900s AD:
Mexico, aware of Tequila’s international renown, declared the term “Tequila” as its intellectual property through various treaties and international agreements, giving the country the unique right as the only country with legal rights to produce “Tequila”.  With Mexico now the sole exporter of Tequila, the industry boomed. To protect the fast-growing industry becoming symbolic of the country, the Mexican government instituted regulations ensuring a high level of quality in Tequila production. One of the most important rules is the guidance that, to be called Tequila, the spirit must contain at least 51% Blue Weber Agave. Agave-distilled spirits with only 51% Blue Weber Agave are called mixto – the remaining 49% of the spirit is made from low-quality sugars.

A true, high-quality Tequila should be made with 100% Blue Weber Agave. Tres Agaves is proud to use single-source, 100% de Agave Tequila. Now you’ve read the history of Tequila, how it grew from its prehispanic, ritualistic roots, to become the symbol of Mexican national pride it is today. It’s time to sip some yourself! Find our 100% de Agave Tequila near you.

History of Tequila: Part One

Man harvesting agave

In the United States, Tequila is a beloved and revered spirit. Oftentimes, Tequila is imbibed during festivities and fiestas, either alone, with a pinch of salt and squeeze of lime juice, or in a refreshing margarita. But where did Tequila come from and who created it? Let’s dive into the history of Tequila, beginning with the spirit’s origin story.

1000 BC to 200 AD:

The story of Tequila begins with the Aztecs, a civilization native to Mesoamerica, whose advancements in social, political, and financial areas were among the greatest on the American continent.

The Aztecs were using the fibrous leaves of the maguey, a partiocular species of agave, ’to make clothing, rope, and mats. The sharp tips of the plant were used as needles.

Eventually, the Aztecs learned to ferment agave sap into pulque. Pulque became so important that it became quasi religious. In fact, two gods were created because of it, Mayahuel and Patecatl.  Mayahuel is the goddess of the maguey (one specie of agave) and Patecatl is the god of pulque. The Aztecs had many gods, but few for agricultural products – like maize and pulque – telling just how important agave and pulque were to this ancient civilization. Unsurprisingly, pulque came to hold prominence in religious ceremonies and rituals, with only priests being allowed to drink it.

1400s and 1500s AD:

When the invading Spaniards ran out of their precious brandy, they turned to the local fermented spirit, pulque. The European continent had been practicing distillation for centuries, and the arriving Spaniards turned to pulque in their search for a native alcoholic drink. As a result of distillation using semi-primitive mud stills, agave wine became the first indigenous distilled spirit.

 Agave wine evolved into Tequila, named after the town in the state of Jalisco.  Tequila was the site of the first large-scale distillery, built in the early 1600s by the Marquis of Altamira.  Many archaeologists have identified prehispanic stills in Amatitán, a town outside of Tequila, suggesting Amatitán is the true historic birthplace of Tequila.

Check back in soon to learn more about the history of Tequila, as it grew from its humble beginning in Amatitán to become the savored spirit known worldwide.

History of the Martini

Tequila Martini made with organic 100% de agave cocktail

Like that of many cocktails, there are a number of origin stories for the martini.  While it may impossible to confirm the veracity of the following stories, they are entertaining nonetheless, and we can’t thank whoever invented the cocktail enough. Without the martini, we wouldn’t have the Tequila Martini!

One story traces the martini’s origins to Martini di Arma di Taggia, a bartender at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City prior to World War I.  His cocktail blended London dry gin, Noilly Prat Vermouth and orange bitters – similar to the modern-day Martini.  Another story places the origin in 1863, with Martini & Rossi, an Italian sweet vermouth, that customers would have ordered alongside gin.  A “gin and martini” may have evolved into the martini, a likely theory given the simplicity of cocktail names during the 19th century. 

The city of Martinez, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, claims the predecessor of the Martini was created by a local bartender named Julio Richelieu when a miner, who’d recently struck it rich during the California Gold Rush, asked for a glass of champagne.  Without any in town, Julio Richelieu whipped up a “Martinez Special”, a drink the miner recalled the next day having exceeded his expectations.  When he tried to order it in San Francisco, the bartender – obviously never having prepared a “Martinez Special” before – created one with one-part dry wine and three parts gin.   Yet another claims the drink was named after the strong recoil of the Martini & Henry rifle, in use by the British Army between 1870 and 1890.  Wherever and whenever the martini was truly first created, it took years before the ratio of dry vermouth to gin reached a more modern level.  A traditional martini is made with gin and dry vermouth at a 1:1 ratio and served cold with a green olive or lemon garnish.  The level of gin has increased with regularity over the years, with personal taste and subjectivity requesting ratios of 3 or 5:1, gin to vermouth.

While there isn’t a clear story on how Tequila came to replace gin as the standout spirit of the traditional martini, there’s no doubt that it is a variation on the classic cocktail worth a taste.   The Tequila Martini substitutes gin with Blanco Tequila, keeps the dry vermouth, and adds a lime garnish.  You’ll find the natural citrus and herbal flavors of our never-aged organic Blanco Tequila are well-balanced by the dry vermouth.  For a hot summer day, this cool cocktail will keep you feeling refreshed (and ready for a fiesta).  

Tequila Martini

Tequila Martini

Recipe:

Instructions:

  • Pour organic Blanco Tequila and dry vermouth into a mixing glass filled with ice.
  • Stir and strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  • Garnish with a lime twist and enjoy!

National Tequila Day

Three tequila bottles

From everyone at Tres Agaves, happy National Tequila Day!  There are many, many important holidays but today is an extraordinarily special one.  Did you know that Tequila is one of the fastest growing Spirits in the United States?  Well, now you do!  More and more, people are appreciating the history- and flavor-rich spirit made from the Blue Weber Agave.  If you’d like to visit the region whose spirit we celebrate, check out this article on visiting Tequila Valley by Meredith Heil.

We are proud to produce excellent, 100% de Agave Tequila for your enjoyment.  Whether it’s our unaged Blanco to our 18-month, Kentucky Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey barrel-aged Añejo, we hope you enjoy our Tequila every day of the year.  But especially on National Tequila Day!

Mexico on to the Round of 16

Even falling 3-0 to Sweden was not enough to hold back the Mexico National Team from advancing to the 2018 World Cup Round of 16.  Thanks to South Korea’s 2-0 win over defending 2014 World Cup Champions, Germany, Mexico will move from the Group Stage into the Round of 16, facing Brazil the morning of Monday, July 2nd.   Mexico will have to deliver strong defensive play in order to best Neymar and the rest of the Brazil National Team.

Lucky for us, we don’t have to worry about playing soccer next week.  The only hard part is deciding which cocktail to drink while watching the game.  We’ve taken care of that for you; grab some Tres Agaves Blanco Tequila and cocktail-ready Tres Agaves Agave Nectar and make your own Cowboy Coffee to get you in the zone for Mexico vs. Brazil.

The Perfect Summer Margarita

Avocado Margarita

Taco Tuesday calls for something new. Tonight, while chowing down on some succulent al pastor or some spicy carnitas, refresh yourself with a surprisingly delicious Tres Agaves Avocado Margarita. This recipe, brought to you from the Tequila Ninja himself,  is one of the most unique ways to consume Tequila, but also one of the tastiest.

Summer is the perfect time for avocados and fresh herbs, so why not toss them in your mixing tin or blender for a wonderfully creamy cocktail. Now the only question is do you have guacamole with your margarita??

Reintroducing Tequila Made in Tequila

In November of 2016 we launched the multi-platform “Tequila Made in Tequila” campaign, aimed to introduce American consumers to the magical place that is Tequila, Mexico. The campaign, created by our friends at Butler Shine, Stern & Partners (BSSP), highlights the color and vivacity of the region and its people.

You can check out our website (which you are already on), videos on Vimeo, YouTube, Tres TV, and our social feeds (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook). If you like what you see, make sure to subscribe and stay tuned—there is more coming down the pike.

The Tequila Valley is a place where the spirit manifests itself well beyond the product in our bottles. We hope that you will experience it for yourself online and in person. ¡Salud!

Decisions Decisions

If you’re in one of the eight states that are holding elections today, we know you may have had to make some tough decisions. At Tres Agaves, we’re used to that. We frequently find ourselves wondering, should we make a Manhattan Mexicano with Tres Agaves Añejo Tequila, or a Paloma with Tres Agaves Reposado Tequila?

We know, we know, after all the thinking that goes in to voting in state and local elections, who has time to make another difficult choice? Luckily you have us here at Tres Agaves to help you out. The obvious choice is… well, we don’t know either. We just know that you can’t go wrong with either one.

So make yourself a cocktail and celebrate the fact that you don’t have to worry about voting for another four months. FOUR MONTHS?? How is that even possible? Maybe we’ll treat ourselves to two drinks tonight.