Saturday, September 18, 2010

Visit to José Cuervo distillery in Tequila

Today was our 40th anniversary, and we hadn´t planned anything special. We took a drive up to Tequila, a town where they´ve been making the José Cuervo beverage of that name for more than 250 years. The brand is older than the country. Older than the U.S. too, for that matter.

We´ve driven past the town of Tequila half a dozen times on our way elsewhere. It´s a Unesco World Heritage site and one of Mexico´s officially designated Magical Towns (Pueblos Mágicos).

It´s only about 35 miles from our apartment in Guadalajara so we thought it was time we stopped and visited. It lies in the heart of the blue agave region, which is used to produce tequila.

Blue agave fields are visible all around the state of Jalisco.

So we ended up going to the tequila museum and touring the José Cuervo distillery, where we had a couple of shots and some margaritas as part of the tour ($8 per person), and then had a nice dinner.

The piñas remain after the spiky leaves are removed from the blue agave plant.

They make tequila from the heart of the blue agave plant, which is a mass of starch that weighs about 75 pounds. This starchy bulb, called a piña, is cooked for a day and a half, which converts the starch to sugar. It is then crushed and pressed. The liquid is the base used for fermenting and then distilling into the liquor.

Mostly these kinds of tours don´t grab me, but I was struck by the figure tossed out by the guide: that particular distillery turns out 72,000 liters of tequila a day.

Two happy couples in the Museum of Tequila.

Of course, the tour bus for the town of Tequila has a distinctive styling. The shirt is for the Black Lions fútbol team of the University of Guadalajara.

All the towns in the state of Jalisco can use the name "tequila" on their distilled products of blue agave, as long as they meet certain standards. The designation of tequila is a "denominación de origen controlada" restricted to certain parts of Mexico, much like champagne and burgundy can only be used on products from those regions.


  1. Anonymous6:46 AM

    Those are really nice pictures of you and Cindy. And I love your shirt. If you are inclined to bring me one gift from Mexico, if and when you ever return to America, that would be nice.

    I am happy to say that being the best man at your wedding 40 years ago was one of the proudest days of my life. And now, look at the two of you........

  2. Anonymous8:53 AM

    Jimmy and Cindy, Congratulations! In the first picture you look like you have already had all your tequilas and margaritas. Feeling no pain.


  3. Mike, For you, I´ll get a shirt.
    Tim, tequila lets you communicate with the gods, as the native people said.

  4. Anonymous11:28 PM

    My first thought on seeing the photo of the two of you on your 40th is how much younger you look than I remember my folks looking on their 40th!

    Congratulations and many more!

    Love, Aunt Sue