Several songs have been written about this alcoholic beverage, both savory and sweet dishes include it, and now it has a national day. Tequila is becoming more popular in the United States, with sales climbing 5.6 percent each year. If you like tequila, you can find many places to celebrate National Tequila Day, but first, you should learn more about the spirit.
Spotlight: When and How to
Celebrate National Tequila Day
Facts About Tequila
Several interesting facts about tequila tell about where it is made, what is made from, and the types of tequila that exist.
Where is Tequila Made?
Tequila is a product of Mexico, but it is only produced in specific areas. Its main production takes place in the state of Jalisco, which borders on the Pacific Ocean. Guadalajara is the capital of this state. Tequila is also made in the states of Michoacán and Nayarit, both of which border Jalisco.
Tequila is also made in the state of Tamaulipas, which borders the Gulf of Mexico across the country from Jalisco, and the city of Guanajuato in the center of the country. Outside of those areas, the spirit is known as mezcal, not tequila.
What is Tequila Made From?
Tequila is made from the fruit of the agave plant, which is a succulent. However, there are many varieties of agave, but blue agave is the one which produces the strong drink. Eighty percent of the blue agave grown in Mexico is found in Jalisco, which is why it is the tequila capital of the country.
The bottom of the plant, the pina, is the fruit that makes tequila. A pina can weigh anywhere from 80 to 200 pounds. They have a high concentration of sugar in the center of the fruit, which also produces mezcal.
How Tequila is Made
After the fruit is harvested, they are put into steam rooms to soften, which makes it easier to mash and extract the juice from the fruit. The steaming process also converts the complex carbohydrates in the pina to simple sugars that are fermentable.
Once the extraction process is done, the juices are left to ferment for several days at a time. The product is then distilled twice, which increases the alcohol content and turns the juices into tequila. It is then put into bottles and cases, ready to be sent to bars, stores, and other places that sell tequila.
Types of Tequila
Tequila has two classifications, 100 percent Blue Agave and Tequila Mixto.
Tequila Mixto consists of at least 51 percent Blue Agave and the rest of it, 49 percent or less, are other sugars, like cane sugar. Some of the other ingredients allowed in Mixtos include caramel color, a flavoring of oak extract, glycerin, and syrups with a sugar base. As of January 6, 2006, Mixto Tequila can be made outside of Mexico in other countries.
There are five categories of Blue Agave Tequilas:
They are clear, and most of them are usually not aged. They can be bottled and sold right after the distilling process, or they undergo aging by sometimes putting them stainless steel storage tanks for four weeks. Some of these tequilas may be aged for two months to smooth out the taste or give it “Suave” spirit. Suave means smooth in Spanish.
Mixto Tequilas include:
These tequilas are usually put into mixed drinks like margaritas or to drink as shots with your friends. However, some Gold or Joven Tequilas is a blend of aged tequila and Silver tequila, which makes it 100 percent Agave.
If you see Reposado, Añejo or Extra Añejo on a label, these are aged tequilas. Reposado is aged for 2 to 11 months, Añejo is aged for at least a year, and Extra Añejoundergoes aging for a minimum of three years.
According to Guinness World Records, the most expensive tequila ever sold was a Platinum and White Gold bottle by Tequila Ley .925. A private collector bought it for $225,000 in 2006. It was 100 percent Blue Agave that had been aged for six years.
History of National Tequila Day
No one knows the history of National Tequila Day, but some national days are designated upon the request of an individual or a company to promote their product. With how much tequila sales have risen in the last 15 years; the promotion of tequila has been very successful.
Since 2002, tequila sales in the US have risen 121 percent overall. The sale of super premium brands went up 706 percent in the same time frame and high-end brands, like Patron, 292 percent. Modern tequila has been around since the 16th century, and it is believed to have been made by the Aztecs before the Spanish landed in Mexico.
When is National Tequila Day?
The unofficial tequila holiday is on July 24th, and it is celebrated by some bars, restaurants, and aficionados every year. If you enjoy tequila, whether, in a mixed drink or straight up, there are many ways to celebrate the day.
In Chicago, many bars and restaurants are celebrating July 24th by offering special prices on tequila-based drinks and shots. For instance, at the Pink Taco on Wells St., which is a Mexican restaurant, Patron Tequila is hosting an event and offering margaritas made with their Silver, Repo, Añejo and Platinum tequilas.
The drinks range in price from $9 to $15, shots are $7 to $13, and they also offer food items containing tequila. A salmon carpaccio marinated in tequila and served with a tequila reduction is $13.
Lottie’s Pub in the near north side of Chicago is offering a Tequila Fest con Tacos y Elotes. Elotes is Mexican corn on the cob that has a variety of toppings, like butter, Cojita cheese, mayo, crema, chile powder, lime or lemon juice.
The tickets to the festival are $25, and customers have the opportunity to try half ounce tequila samples and serve themselves food from a Mexican buffet. Lottie’s Pub is on W. Courtland Street in Chicago.
Milwaukee Margarita Festival
Since July 24th is on a Tuesday, many people cannot make local celebrations due to work and family responsibilities. While some cities like Cincinnati had festivals on Saturday, July 21st, other cities will have them on later dates so that people can attend.
Milwaukee is celebrating tequila via margaritas with two days of festivities. The first day was on July 13th, but the second day is coming up on August 24th at the Milwaukee Athletic Club. It costs $45 for VIP tickets and $28 for general admission tickets.
Tickets will get you into the event, where you can sample up to 16 different margaritas and vote for your favorite one. The VIP tickets allow guests an extra hour of sampling and a muffin tin in which to hold their margaritas. Along with food and full-size drinks, guests will be entertained by the band Paper Holland.
Charleston Margarita Festival
If you are worried that you missed out on the third annual Margarita Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, you are lucky. They postponed it until August 3rd. The festival features sampling 20 margaritas from local bars and restaurants, food and live entertainment.
Early admission tickets are $55, which allows holders to get into the event at 6 p.m., and general admission tickets are $45 and provide people with 15 margarita samples. The event is downtown at Brittlebank Park, which sits on the banks of the Ashley River.
The Texas Taco, Tequila & Margarita Festival
Even though it isn’t going to be held on National Tequila Day, this event is coming up on September 8th in Conroe, Texas. It features over 30 taco vendors, frozen and handcrafted margaritas, and a variety of tequilas for sampling.
A VIP area is set up with private tents with tables and chairs, a private bar, private restrooms, and it comes with two alcoholic beverages and a $10 food voucher to use at any of the vendors. VIP ticket holders also get a festival shot glass, a koozie, unlimited soft drinks, and swag bag. The VIP tickets are $70.
Otherwise, attendees can buy early bird general tickets for $5, or you can get buy one/get one for $2.50. Ticket holders can buy drinks and food from any of the vendors, and there is a children's play area for families who bring their kids.
Home Tequila Celebrations
Another way to celebrate on July 24th is to hold a party with family and friends. Invite people over for a potluck Mexican food and suggest tacos, enchiladas, tortas, or burritos for dinner. Also, ask people to bring a bottle of their favorite margarita mix or tequila for sharing with everyone.
If you want a family only celebration due to the day being in the middle of the week, try a recipe with tequila in it, such as tequila shrimp tostadas or tequila lime cheesecake bars. Most alcohol in recipes cooks off, so you can feed the kids without worry that they will get drunk. However, to be cautious, maybe save the tequila recipes for adults.
Good tequila, such as the 100 percent Blue Agave tequilas are not meant for mixing drinks or doing as shots. They are to be sipped and savored, which would be a good way to celebrate National Tequila Day.