Although the origin of National Tequila Day (July 24, 2011) is unclear, I am betting the idea came from a major tequila company. What do you think?
However the day was founded, the idea of honoring the blue agave plant is a happy one; and John and I plan to mark the occasion.
According to Wikipedia, tequila is a spirit made from the blue agave plant primarily grown surrounding the town of Tequila, 65 kilometers northwest of Guadalajara, in the western Mexican state of Jalisco. The blue agave grown in this highlands region in red volcanic soil is larger and sweeter than that grown in the lowlands.
Although the Aztecs were fermenting a drink from the agave long before the Spaniards arrived, it was Don Cenobia Sauza, Municipal President of the Village of Tequila, who first exported tequila to the United States in 1873. There has always been much myth and mystique surrounding tequila, and this story is beautifully written and photographed in Karl Petzke's gorgeous book, Tequila.
My tequila education came first hand when we lived in Guadalajara around the corner from the Tequila Sauza factory. That's right. Around the corner. Every weekend when we passed the factory music and laughter abounded from the large rented party space at Sauza. There was something to this tequila thing.
Of course, like most students (John was the student here) our introduction to tequila came with partying and a lot of lime and salt. Can you say "puckered lips?" As we grew as people so did our appreciation for good tequila. We learned about the different types of tequila and the taste of each. We learned that in Mexico tequila is sipped without lime and salt to blunt the taste, and that it is often taken with a sangrita chaser.
As tequila became more popular and appreciated in the United States, we began to experience some very good tequilas here. Alas, my two favorites, Don Julio 1942 Anejo and Jose Cuervo de la familia Anejo have become so expensive that we consider them a very special treat once in a while.
We have had the pleasure of sharing many tequilas with John's family in Mexico City, and they never arrive in the States without a bottle of something that is not available here.
So whether you are sipping a premium anejo or mixing a good plata into a frosty drink this weekend, Salud!