As I’ve mentioned before, there are a lot of nice places to visit around Guadalajara city. One of those places is a town called Tequila. It is the place where almost all of the world’s Tequila production is made and where the drink got its name.
There are two ways to get to Tequila. The first and most recommended one is by train. It’s a touristic train that includes mariachi music and lots of tequila sampling along the way. I think they also include a tour into the major tequila producer’s factories. The other one, the one I took, was by driving there. Next time I’ll take the train and let you know how that went.
Tequila is a very small town but there’s plenty to visit. Downtown is very traditional with its cathedral and its rocky streets. There is a Tequila museum where you can learn about the town’s history as well as the drink’s origins and production process.
But the best way to learn about tequila production is to take a tour into any of the many tequila factories around the town.
First the agave plant is cut and the heart of the plant is collected. They gather them and put them in large ovens.
Once it’s ‘cooked’ it’s smashed and all the juice and sugars are extracted, similar to the sugar cane process. At this point our guide let us try a piece of a cooked agave heart and it tasted very sweet, delicious.
The extracted juices are let to ferment in large containers and are then distilled several times until we have the commercial tequila ready for bottling.
I say several times because the first two times, the tequila has about 55% alcohol and it is forbidden for commercial use. But you get to try a large shot of it right there at the factory floor! Yes, you are expected to drink tequila like crazy during the whole tour.
Later we found out that guitar player Carlos Santana has a brand of tequila made right there at that factory called Casa Noble. I’ve never seen it before and got to try the three types of it.
At the end of the night we finished it enjoying some fresh tequila based drinks.
We walked around town and of course, we couldn’t miss stopping for some local tacos in the street.
And finished the night at a local bar enjoying some live music.
It was a very fun trip, with lots of new information to learn, a lot of drinking and good times.
As always you can checkout more photos of this trip at my Flickr photo set.