Tequila has been rooted in Mexican culture for centuries. Its origins date back to the 1600s when mass production of the distilled spirit began. Tequila production and its reputation have evolved a lot over the past 400-plus years. As with much pre-internet history, misinformation is often perpetuated. While truth-seekers piece together tequila history, we want to delineate between fact and fiction when it comes to our favorite distilled spirit by debunking 7 of the biggest tequila myths.
Tequila Myth #1 – Tequila makes you crazy.
One of the most common tequila myths we need to debunk is the unfounded idea that tequila makes you misbehave. The hard-cold truth is that it’s not the tequila making you crazy. The setting, your mood, and sugar have more influence on how wild your night gets than the actual tequila. By choosing a premium, organic tequila and using fresh, seasonal ingredients you can avoid one of these triggers.
Tequila Myth #2 – Tequila is made from cactus.
Agave may look like a cactus, with its spiny leaves and all, but, despite the rumors, it’s not. Succulent, yes. Cactus, no. Not to mention, they are actually part of the asparagus family. With over 130 species of agave native to Mexico, Weber Blue Agave was selected as the source of distilled spirits for its high natural sugar content and short maturity time. As a bonus, it’s also breathtakingly beautiful, relatively hearty, and drought-tolerant.
Tequila Myth #3 – All Tequila is created equal.
The label may say “tequila,” but that doesn’t mean it’s premium or distilled from Weber Blue agave. Unless the label reads “100% Blue Agave”, we recommend putting that bottle back on the shelf. Anything less than 100 percent blue agave is a “mixto,” which can add up to 49% of fermented cane sugar, the ingredient that adds to the likelihood of a hangover.
Mixto is a cheaper, less flavorful version of tequila and contains food dye to give it its golden hue. This mix of artificial coloring and higher sugar content is a certified headache-maker. Also, please pass on the bottle with the worm. The creepy crawler is butterfly larvae and serves no purpose other than a marketing ploy. Tequila brands started adding the worm in the 1950s to lure consumers to pick one tequila over another. Authentic tequila has been produced for over 400 years with no worm.
Tequila Myth #4 – Tequila is the only drink of Mexico.
Tequila may be the most popular of the agave drinks, but it’s not the one and only. The rising popularity of Mezcal, tequila’s smokier cousin, is vying for coveted space in the alcohol market. This is for a good reason. Mezcal can make a delicious cocktail, particularly when mixed with authentic tequila.
Agave drinks expand even beyond tequila and Mezcal. There are several alcohols made from the bountiful agave in the vast lands of Mexico. Pulque is undeniably the original agave drink of Mexico as it dates all the way back to the Pre-Hispanic period. This “agave wine” also known as Pulque is the fermented juice of the plant and was reserved only for a particular class of people. Pulque, Sotol, and Raicilla may not have the contemporary reach of tequila or mezcal, but they all have an integral role in the history of Mexican agave drinks.
Tequila Myth #5 – Margaritas are the original and only tequila cocktail.
We don’t have to go too far to dispel #5 in our tequila myths countdown. While people are always searching for the best authentic margarita recipe, they’ll also come across tequila mules, Añejo old fashioneds and original craft tequila cocktails like the Spanish Daisy. As far as the margarita being “the OG” tequila cocktail, the not-so-straightforward history of the margarita will tell you that it actually evolved from “The Daisy.” But despite your newfound knowledge, we bet you don’t love the margarita any less. It’s refreshing, delicious and when you have a simple margarita recipe to start from, it can be endlessly inventive. Add your own local, seasonal ingredients to enjoy one any time.
Tequila Myth #6 – You can only serve tequila with salt and lime.
Lime isn’t the only pulpy fruit to squeeze into your tequila. We love lemons to enhance the flavor of our tequila, too. Or take it another step further and try a Sangrita. Not to be confused with Sangria, Sangrita is served alongside premium tequilas. Try one of our favorite Sangrita recipes made with seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. Better yet, try them all to make sure to dispel this myth.
Tequila Myth #7 – If it’s gold, it’s got to be good.
Gold jewelry and gold medals are “the best” as it pertains to gold. However, gold tequila is not. Big tequila companies often add food coloring to get that “signature” yellow color, tricking you into believing it is top shelf tequila. More often than not though, it’s a mixto tequila and therefore not worth adding to your bar.
The distinct amber color of an authentic premium tequila like Azuñia comes from the aging process. Blanco tequila is not aged, and therefore clear. We age our Reposado and Añejo up to eight months and eighteen months, respectively, in American Oak barrels, to give them varied amber colors that darken depending on time spent in the barrels. An extra-aged Añejo like our Black is rested 2 years in American Oak resulting in a deep amber color, the embodiment of its richness and sophistication.
Just Call Us the Tequila Myth Busters
Have another tequila myth to bust? Let us know. Our primary job is to create honestly authentic tequila. And we hope that in doing so, we can also impart a little tequila knowledge.
Pick Up a Bottle
You can find Azuñia tequilas at fine restaurants, bars, and retailers across the country.white