Tequilas

Using a rudimentary technique, practiced in Europe during Middle Ages, brought from Spain into “The New Spain” (Mexico), the visionaries and beginners of the young national Tequila industry, developed a craftsmanship to manufacture the “Mezcal wine” at Santiago de Tequila, which belonged to “Viceroyalty of Nueva Galicia” in XVII century.

By that time, the owners of big haciendas, which had lands in a large extension, and helped by Indian laborers, refolded the heads or pineapples of agave plants on the same field where they grew. These heads were carried on the heads of men or by beasts of burden towards the taverns installed inside the haciendas.

Once the lot of agave pineapples arrived, they were cut in halves and put in ovens dug beneath the soil, cone shaped, and then were covered with hot stones. The contact of pineapples with the hot stones produced enough steam for their cooking.

When the heads were well cooked, they were put in the tahona. It was comprised of a circle where a huge round boulder rolled, and it was moved by beasts, (donkeys, mules or horses). The mezcal was crushed to squeeze its juice out. Afterwards, the juice was passed into  wooden buckets and taken to the fermentation tubs, which were made of wood as well.

Within the fermentation tubs, a worker called “batidor” (stirrer) receives the substance and mixes it with water. He would then wreck it with his hands. The big pieces that hadn’t been well crushed, while being produced this way, provided the most dense juice from which the spirituous liquor comes.

As the agave has natural yeasts itself, its fermentation process starts, depending on the season of the year and on the climatic changes. If temperature rises, fermentation is quicker, however if it is the winter season, it will take 8 to 15 days for the juice to begin to ferment.