Do you have what it takes to graduate from Tequila University?
Read on and
become a true scholar of the history, creation, and little known
facts of this wonderful and exotic drink. Then, when you have studied
well, take the VoodooTiki Final exam. You are awarded 10 points
for each correct answer, and 15 points for each of the Bonus Questions.
When you are done, enter your personal information in the spaces
provided below and press the Get Score' button. Students who score
at least 70 points on the VoodooTiki Final Exam will graduate and
be emailed a personalized electronic Diploma', in PDF form, that
they can print out and proudly display.
is the fermented and distilled sap of the agave. The agave is
a plant indigenous to both Africa and Mexico. Some archaeologists
claim the agave was first cultivated in Mexico nearly 9,000 years
ago in the form of "Tequila wine". Others claim native Africans
created a tequila drink even earlier. Mexican history states that
the drink was first made by the Conquistadors, who distilled a
native drink called pulque into a stronger spirit. The first tequila
factory was not established until 1600 when Don Pedro Sanchez
started to cultivate mescal and distill tequila.
gets it's name from the Nahuatl word for "volcano." The town of
Tequila, Mexico, which shares this origin became a Municipality
in 1824, and eventually a city in 1974. Today, tequila is made
exclusively in the Mexican regions of Jalisco and Tequila. Much
like champagne coming from the Champagne region of France, all
tequila must come from this region.
Contrary to popular belief, the agave is from the family succulent.
It is not a cactus, Although cacti play a popular role in the landscape
of Mexico, and are also used in many delicious Mexican delicacies,
there is no "Cactus Juice" in Tequila.
is a related drink and is the older form of the name for tequila
as well. The name for mescal products made in Jalisco state was
adopted in the late 19th century. Technically, all tequilas are
mescals, which were also known as mescal wines and mescal brandies
before the name tequila became common. However, not all mescals
are tequilas. To qualify as a tequila the mescal must have been
born and brewed in Jalisco and Tequila.
no worm in Mexican-bottled tequila. However, a few brands of mescal
put gusano worms in their bottle as a marketing gimmick. The best
known being "Mescal".
The gusano, properly a butterfly caterpillar (Hipopta Agavis) is
included in the bottle as a marketing gimmick because Mescal sounds
remarkably like a shortened version of a very well known recreational
drug called mescaline. Mescaline is a drug known for hallucinigenic
effects. So the rumor goes that eating the worm is like taking a
hit of mescaline.
the gusano worm actually has no interest in the blue agave
(used to make tequila). The gusano feast on other
Tequila is not made from Cactus. Tequila is made from distilled
sap from hearts (pias) of the agave plant. This plant is known
as a succulent and, although it shares a common habitat and overall
appearance with the cactus, it is not. A mature agave has leaves
5-10 feet tall, and is 6-12 feet in diameter. It has a life span
of 6-15 years, depending on species, growing conditions and
climate. Although there are 136 species of agave in Mexico, only
the blue agave - agave tequilana weber azul - is allowed for use
in tequila production.
No Mexican alcoholic drink is made from cactus. However, cactus is used in some fruit drinks, salads, garnishes and other food items.
Tequila and Mescal Are Not the Same Thing.
Technically, tequila is a type of mescal, but mescals are not tequilas. They both derive from varieties of the agave plant. Although they have many similarities, tequila and mescal are as different today as scotch and rye. Tequila is double distilled. Mescal is often only distilled once (although premium blends may be distilled twice). Mescal is made by 'palenqueros,' tequila by 'tequileros'. Maguey growers in general are known as 'magueros.'
Mescal pias - the sugar-rich heart of the agave - are baked in a conical, rock-lined pit oven (palenque) over charcoal, and covered with layers of palm-fiber mats and earth, giving mescal a strong, smoky flavor. Tequila pias are baked or steamed in above-ground ovens or autoclaves.
Most mescal is produced around the city of Oaxaca (and can officially
be produced in the states of Guerrero, Durango, San Luis Potosi
and Zacatecas). Tequila comes from the northwestern state of Jalisco
(and a few nearby areas). The differences between the two can be
likened to the differences between scotch and rye whiskeys. or between
cognac and brandy. Tequila and mescal are similar, however in the
amount of alcohol in the bottle (around 38-40%), although mescals
tend to be a little stronger.
is a highly regulated industry. Tequila manufacturing is tightly
controlled by the Mexican government and the Tequila Regulatory
Council (CRT). Statements made on the bottle about age, style and
content have legal requirements. The CRT has stopped the illegal
growing, marketing and selling of tequila in both Mexico and abroad
and continues to heavily police the industry. Most recently they
have targeted illegal growing regions and tequila products such
as tequila creams and liqueurs.
most manufacturers take considerable pride in their production,
some are shut down or even arrested for adulteration of the
sacred Tequila name. Tequila has a "Proof" of 76-80,
which is very similar to traditional vodkas, rums and whiskeys.
The "Proof" represents twice the alcohol content. Thus, traditional
tequilas will be 38-40% Alcohol by volume. However, the CRT
allows tequila to be sold at 55% alcohol by volume for mix,
Tequila prices vary widely. There's a large market
of excellent tequilas available in Mexico at $20-$40 US, and a
very good choice in the range from $40-$100 US. Under $30, most
of the tequilas are mass produced and usually are a mix too (not
100% agave usually 51%).
Collector bottles and recently introduced individually numbered
bottles may add to the cost but often can add to the mystique
and overall enjoyment of the product. People that consider tequila
more of a lifestyle than a beverage will usually enjoy this class
of product. Additionally, often the better tequilas are chosen
for inclusion in the better packaging. It is unlikely that a manufacturer
would spend thousands on bottle designs and molds only to deliver
a lousy tequila.
|Aging and "Double Barreling" (A process where
the tequila is moved into fresh brandy barrels twice for aging) can
add significantly to the cost. Aging is an art, and as you may know
art is an expensive hobby. The idea to capture the perfect moment
between tequila's herbal raw flavor and that of the sweet brandy
wood. Although many argue that tequila may only be aged 2-4 years,
some are aged as much as six. During these years volumes are lost,
storage is paid and maintenance is costly. All these taste features
add to the price. So although some hidden gems remain, my motto is
"when in doubt pay out".
Of course your personal taste remains the deciding factor. Some
people prefer the rougher edge of the young "Raw" Blanco tequilas
with their more distinct natural agave flavor. Others like the sharper,
almost fuller flavor of a Reposado. And some may prefer the smooth,
relaxed aroma of an Aejo. The choice is yours.
All Tequilas Are Not Created Equal.
Production techniques affect the taste of tequila . Generally traditional methods produce herbal more natural agave flavor than modern, mass production methods that are so prevalent these days. Some manufacturers add wood essence or caramel color to darken the tequila so it looks more aged and is perceived as more valuable.
1. Gold Tequila This is generally a value priced product used for mixing drinks. It gets its golden color from mixing with caramel color. This is what is referred to as a Mix to Tequila because it is only 51% Blue Agave. The remaining 49% comes from other less valuable and tasty plants.
2. Blanco Tequila - A 51% blue agave mixed with the fermented and distilled juices of other agave plants. Clear in color. Also used for mixing drinks.
3. Silver Tequila A 100% Blue Agave clear tequila. This is the tequila that emerges from the steel drums after fermentation and distillation. This is "Raw Tequila" in its most basic and flavorful form. Mixing it will take it to a Mix to as in class 1 or 2. Aging will lead to a Reposado or an Aejo.
4. Reposado 100% Blue Agave White Tequila is aged in oak barrels for 2-6 months. During that resting period the tequila's bite relaxes and flavors breathe. WE ALS0 BELIEVE THERE MAY BE M0RE. READ ON.
5. Aejo A very fine, Cognac type tequila. Aejo means "Aged". Voodoo Tiki Aejo is aged a minimum of one year (According to legend, in honor of Don Pedro). The tequila is aged in barrels made from powerful Tiki idols.
Anjou ("aged" from ao, or "year") tequilas are the apex of the product category. This, the fifth classification, is finest "sipping" liquor. Aejo tequila lives in oak barrels for at least a year, but sometimes as many as six years, maturing into a balance of the sweetness you naturally find in agave sugar with the stronger, tannic qualities of oak. The natural amber of aejo tequila comes from the old whiskey or brandy barrels. Premium aejo tequila can cost you $50-$3000 per bottle. A basic Premium brand can run about $100 per bottle. Expect to pay $500 or more for tequilas aged three or more years. Voodoo TiKi Witch Doctor (limited to 10,000 signed and numbered bottles) is aged three years in fine whiskey barrels and is offered at $299 for a very limited time. Contact your local retailer. In January of 2004 the price will go to the more commensurate $1,100.
people form uneducated opinions of the tequila category after
tasting cheap ugly gold tequilas and waking up nauseous and
hungover. The best tequila is 100% agave. From there it is
a matter of taste. Gold tequila's are famous for their value
price and for mixing drinks. Because of attempts to "Hide"
the taste of poor tequilas through mixing, a vocal minority
has sprouted claiming that to utilize a reposado, Aejo or
100% silver tequila in a mixed drink is some form of sacrereligious
act. We assure you it is not. Use the finest tequilas proudly
with your finest cocktails, martinis or simply on the rocks.
Drink them as you like them.Tequila consumed is not wasted,in
Tequila is a mythical, magical drink, believed by many to contain
incredible mystical properties.
In fact, no other drink in the world has been surrounded by such
mystery. Thousands of people tell stories of their own personal
strange experiences with the elixir, and thousands more experience
the profound and unusuall affects of tequila each day.
I know it's hard to believe, but tequila was invented nearly 1000
years earlier in Africa. This will be a point hotly debated by
archeologists and scholars alike. However history has shown us
that we have been horribly mistaken before. Examples include:
The Sphinx not built by the Egyptians. To the contrary, it was
built nearly 8,000 years prior to the Egyptians. Don't believe
so? Look at the "weathering". It wasn't wind that created those
grooves. It was water! When was there water in the Sahara? 8,000
years prior to the great pyramid. However they may have re-invented
it. The face is much smaller than the body. It is believed the
Egyptians re-carved the face. Thus making it in the image of their
Not Italian! The chinese had noodles hundreds of years prior to
the Italians. Pizza was actually invented by the Israelis who
poured oil and placed cheese on matzo bread hundreds of years
before Christ. However the Italians may have re-invented them.
Chinese noodles are fairly basic, while Italian spaghetti and
macaroni have different tastes, textures and names. When you order
a pizza you don't mean a matzo.
Not the orientals. Not the Buddhist Monks or Shaolin Temples like
Saturday Afternoon Theater. Martial arts actually started in East
Indian cultures and was spread by Atilla The Hun who trained his
men in a weaponless fighting art because they could not afford
weapons for every man. The orientals then called it Karate which
means "Empty Hand". However they may have re-invented it, as the
orientals broke Atilla's simple and basic system into thousands
of splinter styles. Many of such now have thousands of skilled
practitioners. No one can ever dismiss the oriental influence
in martial arts.
Tequila was in fact invented by Voodoo Practitioners deep in the
heart of Africa. 0ur research shows that native African tribes
distilled and fermented the agave in the cradle of civilization
nearly 10,000 years ago. However the Mexicans certainly re-invented
it. The rich and beautiful Mexican culture gave tequila its famous
name and popularity, so there is no question who is credited with
the true discovery of this mythical drink.