Tequila is distilled from the juice of the blue agave plant. A geographically protected spirit, tequila can only come from the state of Jalisco or other specially designated areas in Mexico. Like cognac or brandy, tequila is aged and is available in a range of types. Tequilas can be paired with citrus juices and also serve as the basis for essential cocktails, such as the Margarita and the Paloma. Premium tequilas are best consumed neat.
These terms commonly appear on tequila labels. For more information, please ask the staff at your Virginia ABC store.
The flowers of the blue agave plant are pollinated by the Mexican long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris nivalis). Agave sap is derived from the heart (piña) of the plant; fermented, it becomes a milky drink, known as "pulque," and was enjoyed by the Aztec indians.
The traditional way to enjoy straight tequila is to partner the shot with a shot of sangrita, a nonalcoholic drink that clears the palate between sips and complements the agave flavors. There are two basic sangrita variations: The first uses 3 parts tomato juice, 1–3 parts orange juice, 1 part lime juice. The second uses 1 part grenadine, 2 parts orange juice, and 1–2 parts lime juice. For either recipe, chill the sangrita and add a few splashes of hot sauce or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper to taste.
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