Made from the blue agave plant, tequila has a deep and storied history. Named after the small town of Tequila in a valley west of Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico, the spirit was known as mezcal wine about the time the conquistadors came to the continent.
Many names we recognize on the labels today were the very first commercial producers of tequila. In fact, Jose’Antonio Cuervo held the first license for manufacturing the favored beverage, courtesy of the King of Spain. He kept well-known company. Don Cenobio Sauza and Félix López, also producers of tequila, whose businesses continue in some form today.
Agave grows in a variety of ways. Blue agave, grown in the highlands region, is larger in size and sweeter in aroma and taste. Agave grown in the lowland regions have a more herbaceous fragrance and flavor. Like similar legislation for bourbon and cognac, Mexican law states tequila is only tequila if it is produced within Jalisco and limited regions in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. If the same ingredients are distilled anywhere else, it’s not tequila.