Don’t just sip your margarita … really experience it. While it’s not hard to find a tequila-tasting tour in Mexico, my husband and I had the distinct pleasure in Puerto Vallarta of not only tasting local tequilas, but learning all about the ancestral process of making this beloved libation.
We started our celebration of tequila at the Viva Tequila show, a mesmerizing performance with acrobatics and Cirque de Soleil-type moves. From there, we headed into the store, where we tasted flights from light to dark, including white, reposado and añejo varieties. And this was more than a mere tasting - the staff put on an entire presentation to complement your sips. Such a fun, sensory, interactive experience that represents tequila’s roots and pre-Hispanic origins.
From the legend of the agave, to the process of making and aging tequila, to the various categories and classes of the drink that exist, we came away with a bank of knowledge that will certainly have us appreciating our next margaritas that much more.
Test Your Tequila IQ
We learned quite a bit about tequila during our time with Viva Tequila. Store these facts away for your next trivia night.
Tequila is made from agave, the blue agave plant to be specific. Much of this agave is cultivated in the state of Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta is located. Look for a label on your tequila bottle that says “100% blue agave tequila” and you’ll know it’s the real thing.
The three categories of tequila are blanco (unaged, with stronger notes of agave), reposado (matured for 2 to 11 months in a cask and with a slight vanilla or caramel flavor) and añejo (which matures even longer and has woodier tannic flavors like black tea and chocolate).
The word “tequila” comes from the Aztec language, Nahuatl Tequillian. That’s the name of the region where the drink originated. Blue agave is still harvested there today.
Tequila with lime and salt was the prescribed remedy for those suffering during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic.
You might consider sipping your tequila, like they do in most of Mexico. However, if you’re in the state of Jalisco, as we were, you may be served your tequila with sangrita, as a chaser, which is a blend of tomato juice, orange juice and chili powder.
Specially trained “jimadors” wield machetes to chop down agave trees. Ripe agave takes between 8 and 12 years to mature. The heart of the blue agave plant, or the piña, can weigh up to 200 pounds!
Ready to know all there is to know about tequila and taste the various categories for yourself, in a gorgeous, seaside Puerto Vallarta location? We know just the place.