Primitive tequila still (Lumholtz, 1897)

Did You Know? Tequila dates from the sixteenth century

In 1897, Carl Lumholtz, the famous Norwegian ethnologist, who spent several years living with remote Indian tribes in Mexico, found that the Huichol Indians in eastern Nayarit distilled agave juice using simple pot stills, the pots being quite unlike any other Spanish or pre-Columbian vessels. By 1944, Henry Bruman, a University of California geographer, had […]

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Mexican Hot . . Or Not! – A Drinking (Wo)Man’s Guide To Tequila

Ah! Nectar of the Gods! Bacchus never had it so good! When I think of tequila, the following things come to mind: a really quaint, clean little Mexican town about 90 minutes from my home; clear liquid in little shot glasses beside red liquid in shot glasses along with a plate of lemon and salt; […]

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Scorpion Mezcal barrels


Timothy J. Knab Mescal, mescaline, mescal bean, mescal button; what are they? They are all intoxicants, which was what the word mescal meant in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Today mescal generally refers to a type of aguardiente – water with a bite, firewater, a liquor distilled from the agave, a relative of the century plant or maguey commonly used to […]

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Agave field near La Estancia

July 24 is National Tequila Day: A tequila resource page

The US celebrates National Tequila Day on July 24. Present in the popular margarita, tequila can stand alone as a fine liquor. The popular traditional drink boasts an appellation or denomination of origin. Distilled from the nectar of the Weber blue agave, tequila dates from the 16th century. It may have originated in the Mexican […]

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Tamarind Margaritas: Margaritas de Tamarindo

This is the quintessential summer drink, perfect before a Mexican-style parillada, or grilled meal. For a delicious change of pace try using Tajin Fruit Seasoning instead of salt to rim the glass. This mixture of powdered chile, salt and dehydrated lime is available online at 4 ounces white tequila (blanco) 3 ounces tamarind concentrate 1 ounce simple […]

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A hot collector's item, the ceramic mezcal monkey is designed to hold mescal, the spirit distilled from the baked, then fermented agave plant. © Alvin Starkman, 2010

Mexico’s Mezcal Monkey: collectible ceramic folk art from Oaxaca

Designed to hold mescal, the Chango Mezcalero has become a very collectible folk art item whose history has been recounted infrequently, if at all. While by all accounts it originated in the State of Oaxaca, home of mezcal — the spirit distilled from the baked, then fermented agave plant — it’s now highly sought after by collectors […]

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