6 Myths About Tequila Debunked

by The Drink Nation on Jul 22, 2014 in Liquor
6 Myths About Tequila Debunked

Though tequila has gained a lot of respect in recent years, thanks in part to the tireless work of passionate producers returning to more traditional and artisanal practices, there’s still plenty of misconceptions about it. Ahead of National Tequila Day, which is coming up on July 24, we’re debunking some of the most common misunderstandings about Mexico’s prized distilled agave spirit.

There's a worm at the bottom of the bottle

Not true. No tequila, ever, should have a worm (or any other critters) taking up space inside the bottle. Some dirt-cheap, rotgut mezcals do indeed have a maguey larva in them, but it’s a cheap marketing ploy developed in the 1950s.

Eating the worm will make you hallucinate

Again, not true. Should you ever encounter a bottle of tequila with a worm in it, you should pass on drinking it, and certainly do not eat the worm.

Tequila (and mescal) are made from a cactus closely related to peyote, which is why it makes you crazy and/or hallucinate

There is no correlation between peyote and distilled agave spirits like tequila and mezcal. In fact, the agave isn’t even a cactus. It’s a large, fleshy succulent that’s more closely related to the lily than the sacred psychoactive cactus used in tribal religious ceremonies.

Spanish Conquistadors brought distillation knowhow to Mexico in the 1500s, and created the first distilled agave spirit

According to most accounts, Spanish Conquistadors first distilled tequila from a crude fermented agave beverage known as pulque enjoyed by the native peoples they encountered upon arrival in Mexico. But more recent studies and expeditions throughout the country have found that distillation was being used to create the proto-tequila spirit Raicilla for many generations before the Conquistadors showed up.

There only two types of tequila: Those produced in the lowlands, and those produced in the highlands

While the tequila conversation has focused primarily on the lowlands vs. highlands argument over the past decade, there are many other factors beyond elevation to consider. Like wine and most regions around the world that produce it, terroir plays a huge role in agave cultivation and tequila production. Mexico’s prime, high elevation tequila producing regions present a diversity of environments and conditions that have a profound impact on how the tequilas produced in each subregion taste. Agave harvested from the red soils on the Arandas high plateau produce tequilas with fruity, floral herbaceous notes, while tequilas from mountainous slopes of Atotonilco tend to have sweeter and more citrusy qualities.

The only way to consume tequila is in a shot glass accompanied by salt and lime

Sadly, this is how most drinkers experience tequila for the first time, but by no means is the only way to enjoy it. Tequila has come a long way from its rowdy frat-party and skull-crushing hangover reputation. It’s now widely regarded as a noble spirit that’s on par with some of the world’s most revered whiskeys and brandies. Needless to say, it’s a splendid base spirit for just about any type of cocktail, and also goes great when sipped neat.  

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Tags: Education, Spirits, Tequila
Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Behind the Bar: Tory Pratt of Pratt Standard

Behind the Bar: Tory Pratt of Pratt Standard

In this edition of Behind the Bar, we chatted with Tory Pratt, the founder of Pratt Standard....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Mar 7, 2019
Neighborhood Pub Crawl: Historic Larimer Square

Neighborhood Pub Crawl: Historic Larimer Square

Larimer Square has its share of saloons and dance halls, just like back in the day. ...read more ›

by Carrie Dow Mar 5, 2019
Acclaimed Director Ridley Scott Has Made Seven Short Films for Hennessy X.O.

Acclaimed Director Ridley Scott Has Made Seven Short Films for Hennessy X.O.

Ridley Scott has directed a four-minute short film for Hennessy X.O. visualizing the seven flavors of the high...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Mar 4, 2019
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Store Rectangle
Behind the Bar: Chris Morris, Master Distiller of Woodford Reserve

Behind the Bar: Chris Morris, Master Distiller of Woodford Reserve

On this edition of Behind the Bar, we had the honor to sit down with Chris Morris, the master distiller at Woo...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Feb 28, 2019
Haagen-Dazs is Making Booze-Infused Ice Cream

Haagen-Dazs is Making Booze-Infused Ice Cream

Step aside, after dinner drinks - Haagen-Dazs is releasing a line of spiked ice cream....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Feb 19, 2019
Take a Tequila Tour Through Mexico on Jose Cuervo's New 'Tequila Train'

Take a Tequila Tour Through Mexico on Jose Cuervo's New 'Tequila Train'

If you love tequila and traveling in style, you're in luck - Jose Cuervo has a new all-you-can-drink tequila t...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Feb 19, 2019
Happy Leaf Kombucha Offers Denver an Alternative to Beer

Happy Leaf Kombucha Offers Denver an Alternative to Beer

Kombucha is fermented sweet tea and Denver is catching on to its health benefits....read more ›

by Carrie Dow Feb 19, 2019
You Can Now Drink Wine Out of a 'Pringles Can' Tumbler

You Can Now Drink Wine Out of a 'Pringles Can' Tumbler

After a news story about a woman in Texas who was asked to leave Walmart for drinking wine out of an empty Pringles can went viral, one enterprising E...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Feb 5, 2019
Heat Things Up with these Denver Winter Warmers

Heat Things Up with these Denver Winter Warmers

Those beverages taste even better when warm spirits are added....read more ›

by Carrie Dow Feb 5, 2019
Neighborhood Bar Crawl: Denver Museum & Golden Triangle

Neighborhood Bar Crawl: Denver Museum & Golden Triangle

Here in Denver we appreciate fine art just like appreciate a fine cocktail....read more ›

by Carrie Dow Jan 22, 2019
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close