Margaritas, body shots, Pee-Wee Herman’s signature bar-top dance—tequila is responsible for all of these things. It’s also the national spirit of Mexico, which happens to be the only country allowed to produce it. In Mexico, tequila has always enjoyed a prominent place in history and at the table. The U.S., on the other hand, has had a more tumultuous relationship with the spirit. Over the years, tequila has gone from hangover-inducing shooter to craft cocktail ingredient to smooth sipper. Year after year, tequila sales in the U.S. have risen and the selection of high-end brands continues to grow. Tequila’s future is so bright, we have to wear sombreros.
The History of Tequila
Tequila, or rather the practice of making alcohol from the agave plant, dates back to 1000 years B.C., when the Aztecs used the sap of the agave plant (specifically the maguey) to ferment a drink known as pulque. So revered was this milky liquid in Aztec culture that they worshipped not one but two pulque-centric gods: Mayahuel, the goddess of the maguey, and her husband Patecatl, the god of pulque itself.