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Moonshine Recipes - How to Make Tequila

Readers may recall that elsewhere on this site that I commented that to learn how to make Scotch one must first move to Scotland. This holds true for other spirits with a regional identity as well and I must open this section on how to make tequila by observing that best results will be obtained by moving to Mexico.

True tequila is produced only in specific regions of Mexico, namely the area surrounding the city of Tequila and also the highlands in the Mexican state of Jalisco. Tequila is produced from the heart (or pina) of the Blue Agave plant (Agave Tequilana) and the soil and climate of these regions contribute significantly to the flavour of the plants. Blue Agave grown in the highlands tend to be larger in size and have a sweeter taste than the Agave grown in the lowlands so there is even a variation in flavour in tequila produced from plants in the two adjacent regions. Blue Agave is often found as an ornamental in other countries so if you are patient you might even consider growing your own and seeing how you fare. Seeds may be found on Ebay or through local stockists.

Planting, tending and harvesting the Blue Agave plant is a skill passed down from generation to generation of Jimadores, the men who cultivate it. The Jimadores prevent the plant from flowering and dying early by trimming the quiotes which are stalks that are several metres long that grow from the centre of the plant. The plant is forced in this fashion to fully ripen and the pina is regularly tested on each individual plant to determine if it is ready for harvest. Agaves will attempt to produce a flower at 5 years of age but the Jimadores with their experienced pruning will extend the life of the plant to 12 years old at which time it is tested and harvested when ready. Harvested pinas will usually weigh between 30kg-110kg and will be high in fructose.

Growing your own Blue Agaves requires a level of skill and experience that will take time to acquire, particularly when you consider that the plant is harvested at 12 years of age. It may take a number of years to work out if you have a made a mistake. I must admit that I often consider growing a few plants just for the novelty but would not seriously undertake full time cultivation of Agaves as my sole source of tequila. A good tequila flavoured spirit essence is going to give a far quicker result after all. Those who live geographically closer to the Blue Agave producing regions of Mexico might consider acquiring pinas for making their own tequila and of course if you just happen to have an agave growing in your garden elsewhere in the world you might also consider giving making tequila a try.

So this information is really going to useful to the lucky few close enough to acquire pinas or for those patient enough to grow their own. Lets look at how to make tequila.