Course Syllabus
101 Tequila History
201 Gusano Worm
301 Classifications of Tequila
401 Drink What You Like, The Way You Like
501 Tequila was not invented in Mexico

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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.

Tequila 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.  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.


Mescal 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.

There is 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.

In fact, the gusano worm actually has no interest in the blue agave (used to make tequila). The gusano feast on other agaves.

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.
Tequila 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.
Although 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, to blending.

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. 


Many 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 any glass.

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 leader.

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.