The town of Tequila, in the state of Jalisco, gives us the name for the famous beverage used in the infamous cocktail, the Margarita. This town was founded by the indigenous Ticuila tribe in 1530 who produced pulque from the local agave plant. Pulque is one of the alcoholic beverages made by early indigenous peoples of the Americas, and like its more refined descendants, mezcal and tequila, it is made by distilling the fermented juice of the agave plant. However, unlike pulque, and mezcal, Mexican law dictates that tequila can only be made from the blue agave.
A few hundred years after the town was founded, Mexico decided that the town of Tequila was the best source of blue agave, and little by little the beverage from that area became to be known as tequila. The first recorded export of tequila to the US was in 1873, and during Prohibition in the US, between 1919 and 1933, tequila was smuggled into the US in enormous quantities. In 1976, the rights to the name tequila were deemed to be the intellectual property of the Mexican government and laws surrounding the production of tequila are very strict.
The Aztecs confined the drinking of pulque to religious ceremonies; social drinking was prohibited and drunkenness was punishable by death. Today, if you drink a few Margaritas in an evening, and you didn’t buy a smooth, 100% agave, reputable brand of tequila, the next morning you will only think you are dying.
In search of the Perfect Margarita, both Warren Hardy and Julia Childs came up with the winning recipes. Find out next week how to prepare a winning Margarita in Comida Mexicana.