Just as champagne can only hail from the Champagne region of France, tequila isn’t tequila unless it hails from one of five different Mexican states, thanks to an official decree. Here, a native plant known as the Tequiliana Weber Blue agave flourishes.
It’s hardly surprising that the blue agave is often mistaken for a cactus, given that it is extremely pointy. The blue agave is just one of many types of agave plants, but only the blue agave can provide the flavor of the spirit that eventually becomes tequila.
For countless centuries, the heart of the blue agave plant was fermented by Indians to make a sweet alcoholic brew known as pulque. After the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, they adapted the Indian trick and began brewing their own alcoholic version out of the agave, which makes a form of tequila the oldest surviving spirit of the New World.
The first licensed distillery began around 1600, and the drink continued to evolve over the centuries, until it was commercially exported to the United States in the 1880s.
The plants are carefully harvested over the years by highly trained jimadores. After harvesting, the precious liquid is extracted by crushing the “heart,” or pina of the plant. The liquid is allowed to ferment over several days. Following this, the result is distilled once or twice. The precious liquid then “rests” in smoked whiskey and scotch oak barrels imported from the United States and Europe. The length of time the tequila ages determines its nomenclature. Blanco is almost immediately bottled. The other extreme is Extra Anejo, which must remain at rest for a minimum of three years.
At Iron Cactus, we warmly embrace the lively world of tequila. We alone serve over 100 varieties of this original New World brew at our nationally-ranked Margarita Bar. Come sample from this extensive collection during our Tequila Tour at our North Austin location at 10001 Stonelake Boulevard on Thursday, September 20 beginning at 6pm. Live music and hors d’oeuvres will be enjoyed. You can purchase tickets in advance online and save here. Join us, as we celebrate this ancient brew in our uniquely authentic way.