Maybe you’ve noticed: Tequila is having a bit of a moment.
From the health-conscious to the country-loving, the liquor has thoroughly endeared itself to audiences around the world and back. While the margarita still has top billing in many drinkers’ hearts and minds, many others are learning to enjoy the rich, nuanced and approachable flavor profiles of a well-crafted tequila straight or on the rocks.
Interestingly, the thirst for straight tequila is something of a return to nature. Tequila’s closest predecessor arrived in the mid-1550s, when Spanish conquistadors ported their brandy making techniques to harvest and distill agaves from the modern day city of Tequila (go figure). The result was a sappier mezcal, enjoyed individually throughout the Jalisco region for years and eventually popularized nationwide.
The blue agaves around Jalisco were particularly well suited for fermentation, thanks to the volcanic soil that encouraged a sweet, sugary base.
From there, tequila took on a life of its own. Tall tales, trade routes, family feuds, margaritas, frozen margaritas — new origin stories began to flow as fast as the tequila poured. And while not every single one of them can offer a simple fact check, all of them have helped build and mythologize the spirit into something worth celebrating.
Recent history holds true to many of the same customs that its original distillers developed: Blue agave still reigns supreme. And Jalisco is still home base for many of the world’s most popular, specialty and highly-regarded tequilas. The biggest differences for the modern makers rests in the proliferation of technology, efficiencies and distribution processes that have helped to bring tequila culture to places that wouldn’t otherwise know it.
Tequila bars checker the streets around the world. The margarita now comes in hundreds of regional and contemporary varieties (though of course, we’re partial to the spicy ones). Mixologists are constantly finding new ways to innovate on a centuries-old tradition.
And to that, we’ll hold up a glass. We’re proud to write our own story here at Tanteo — one that holds handcrafted artisanal tequila in the highest regard. But we’re just as proud to have the privilege of contributing a chapter to tequila’s story at large.
Para La Buena Vida