When my daughter graduated from college, I took her on a trip to Cabo San Lucas. We did all the touristy things, including riding camels on the beach, buying cheap silver jewelry, and learning about tequila from the local experts. Did you know tequila has the lowest residual sugar of any distilled spirit, and is naturally gluten-free? If you did, you’re way ahead of where I was. Here’s some other things I learned about tequila on that trip:
1. Tequila comes only from certain regions in Mexico, where it undergoes a rigorous distilling process. It is made only from Agave Azul, or blue agave.
2. “Tequila” from other areas is actually called Mezcal. It can be made from any of 250 species of agave, and its production is not well regulated.
3. If you find a worm in your tequila, that’s a sure sign it’s Mezcal.
4. Tequila and Mezcal come only from Mexico. They are not produced in any other country.
5. Blanco refers to tequila that is newly distilled. Resposado means that it has “rested” for 2 months. Anejo tequila has been aged for 1 year.
6. The latest fad is to take anejo and age it some more, up to 4 years, in a barrel that used to contain something else, like bourbon.
But here’s what I’ve known for a few years now: tequila is great in a Bloody Mary! I didn’t make this up, either. When you use it instead of vodka, it’s called a Bloody Maria. So the next time you run out of vodka, give it a try! Just use 1 part tequila to 3 parts Portland Bloody Mary Mix; shake or stir, and pour over ice. Muy caliente!