Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tequila



Margaritas, Sunrises, shooters - you name it; you can't make it without tequila. It's another one of those wonderful gifts Mexico gave to the world.

What is tequila? Well, it's an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sugars (agua miel) derived from the piña of the Blue Weber agave cactus-like plant. It's cactus-like because it looks like it would be a cactus, not because it is. Actually, the agave is related to the Lily. Its leaves grow to an average of 10 feet tall. At the plants' maturity, which is approximately 8 to 12 years, a center stalk (the flower) grows up from the center to a height of about 15 feet. These plants are said to be pollinated by bats!

At maturity, the leaves are cut off to expose the piña. The piña is what is used to make the agua miel that after being roasted and repeatedly crushed, produces 98% of the agave sugars needed for fermentation.

Tequila is named after the city in the state of Jalisco in Mexico where is it produced. The city of Tequila's origin can be traced back to the Aztecs. The Tiquila Indians established the settlement 35 miles NW of Guadalajara. It is a small hillside town located at the foot of a dormant volcano. This town has over 30 tequila producing factories.

Tequila evolved from the drink pulque, which was prepared by the Zapotec Indians. They used the pulque in religious ceremonies and for medicinal purposes. After the pulque, came Mezcal. The Spanish, needing a stronger "spirited" drink, took the pulque and fermented it for several days and then finally distilled it. The sugars used for fermentation came from the sap taken from the roots, stalks and leaves of the wild agave plant. Tequila is made from the piña (core) of the Blue Weber agave. There are at least 100 different types of agave plants.

The first major distiller of tequila was Jose Cuervo. His distillery was established in Mexico in 1795.


The different levels of tequila are:
Blanco (Plata) - un-aged tequila
Gold - un-aged tequila with additives to give is its amber color
Reposado - aged in oak barrels from 60 days to 1 year
Anejo - aged in government* sealed barrels for a minimum of 1 year.
Back Medallion - is anejo tequila aged in charred oak barrels
*Tequila production is government-regulated in Mexico much the same way cognac production is regulated in France.

A few of the more popular tequila brands are: Aguila Blue Agave; Chinaco; El Conquistador; Herradura; Jose Cuervo; Montezuma; Sauza; Constitucion. A new comer on the tequila block is Tequila Nacional, owner, El Paso's own, Park Kerr, author and businessman.

So, if you have a special occasion coming up or would just like to have a special little something to sip on after a long hard day, try tequila. The flavor reflects the very nature of the Hispanic community; warmth, strength, courage, and soul.

Here’s a stimulating way to start your day. Tequila muffins and coffee!

Tequila Muffins
These are like scone muffins. The batter is nice and thick. They are not very sweet like cupcakes, but will certainly fill you up along with your coffee.

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter
½ cup Gold Tequila
¼ cup milk
½ teaspoon grated orange peel
½ cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 400º F.Mix all the ingredients together except pecans. The batter will be lumpy. Then stir in the pecans and fill lightly greased muffin tins ½ full. Bake at 400º F. for 20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

El Vaquero Coffee

4 cups hot, freshly brewed coffee
2½ cups Kahlua
3 ounces Tequila
1 cup whipping cream, whipped

Mix coffee, Kahlua, and Tequila. Divide evenly among 6 mugs. Top each with whipped cream and serve. Serves 6.


(c)2008


8 comments:

Manuela said...

Very original muffins :)

Nikki Miller-Ka said...

Hi Teresa! Thank you for visiting my blog. You've got it all wrong, my friend, YOU are too good to be true! You have a book!? Wow! I have so many questions. I am enamored and muy celosa! I am putting you in my reader. I cannot wait to see every recipe you post! Yay!

Hi there! I'm Leslie... said...

Hi Teresa,

I posted a response to your comment on my blog. I made a referral to your site as well. Let me know if you get some good traffic from it!!

LOVE YOUR RECIPES!!!!!!

Leslie
aka Menu Maker Mom
http://menumakermom.blogspot.com

The Farmer's Wife said...

Thanks for stopping by the Farmer's Wife, I frequent El Paso alot! I really like your blog, that you share traditions from Mexico...there are so many wonderful ones! I will certainly stop by again!

Dharm said...

Thanks for visiting! The writeup on Tequila is great but unfortunately, Tequila is one liquour that I am not really fond of. I"ll drink it, especially in Margaritas, but just not too fond of Tequila. But its always good information to know!!

Tina said...

Right back to ya neighbor. I have never been to El Paso. I have just visited San Antonio and Houston. I live just outsitde Dallas, thanks for visiting my site. I love yours!!!! The love of Tex Mex only my favorite other than southern food. The tequila muffins sound delish I would of never guessed to that to make muffins. I want to try the rolled taco's. I am going to add your site to my blogger buddies on my page. Have a great day.

Tina

Dibs said...

Hi Teresa. Thanks for visiting my blog. You blog is very good. I love Tequila. I am told the best way to have Tequila is to lick salt, have a shot and then suck lime. Is this true? We didnt have lime at home, and had sliced kiwis instead after a shot ...that was yummy too! cant wait to try the coffee!

Jenn said...

I recognize those dishes! :)