21 THINGS ABOUT TEQUILA
21 Things Every Tequila Aficionado Should Know:
We here at Pura Vida Spirits Company enjoy sharing facts, trivia, and details concerning our most favorite spirit in the universe, Pura Vida Tequila. We thought you who share our passion for all aspects of Tequila and the “Pura Vida” would like to learn a thing or two!
Tequila is older than rum or whiskey. It was first made in the 1500’s and was the first spirit made in the Americas. Tequila is truly an American Original.
What does “Tequila” mean? The word probably comes from the Nahuatl (Aztec) language and roughly translates to "the place where plants are harvested" or "the place where a lot of work is done." And that home-made spirit sums up the affection for Tequila - the plant and drink, the place, and the people who make it.
The majestic agave plant is not a cactus. The agave plant actually belongs to the Agavoideae family, which is closely related to the lily plant. In Latin, “agave” means “illustrious”, “admirable”, and “noble." Well, we definitely love our illustrious lilies!
Agave plants are pollinated by bats. Agave plants are chiropterophilous, meaning that they’re pollinated by bats as opposed to insects or birds. Though the agave used to produce tequila is often harvested before it has a chance to flower, meaning that most tequila producers don’t rely on bats to pollenate their agave farms.
There are 136 types of agave. But only nine or ten species are used to make tequila. In 1902, the law regulating tequila production was changed so that only blue agave species are used in the production of official Tequila.
The agave harvest is a labor of love. Agave tequilanaazul, or blue agave plants, take between 8 and 12 years to properly mature for harvesting.
Only the agave heart is used to make Tequila. Tequila is produced by removing the heart, or piña, of the agave plant, which can weigh anywhere from 80 to 200 pounds when harvested. This heart is stripped of its leaves and then cooked to remove the sap, which is fermented and distilled.
A German Botanist discovered the best agave for Tequila. The work of German botanist, Dr. Weber, who classified all of the Agave species, helped to determine that blue agave was the best for making a spirit. Some strains of blue agave bear his name, agave tequila an azul weber.
Tequila is technically a mezcal; but not all mezcals are Tequila. That's because any spirit distilled from agave plants are considered mezcal, but legally Tequila can come only from the blue agave variations.
Tequila has an appellation of origin; it has to meet certain requirements by law. Like champagne, cognac, and some fine wines, official tequila can only be produced in five regions in Mexico. By law, tequila must meet certain criteria.
- It must be made from blue agave plants grown and harvested only in the Mexican state of Jalisco and designated areas of the states of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit, or Tamaulipas. Check! Pura Vida’s Distillery is in highlands of Jalisco, Mexico.
- It must be produced with no less than 35% alcohol by volume. Check! Pura Vida’s tequilas are all 40% alcohol by volume.
- The label must read ‘Hechoen México’ (Made in México). Check!
There are different kinds of Tequila. The main types of tequila are split into two categories - 100% Blue Agave and Tequila Mixto (Mixed). These, in turn, are then divided into four types of Tequila: Tequila Silver - also known as Blanco, Plata, White, or Platinum; Tequila Resposado “rested” - also known as Gold, Joven, or Oro; Tequila Añejo (extra aged); and Tequila Extra Añejo (extra, extra aged). Reposado and Añejotequilas are excellent substitutes for rum, bourbon or scotch, and cognac or Armagnac. Try any of our Tequilas in your next mixed drinks!
As with wine, terroir (the earth the plants grow in) can influence the taste of tequila. Pura Vida’s blue agaves are harvested in the rich agricultural highlands of Jalisco, where the mineral-rich and purely organic soil produces the sweetest blue agaves.
Tequila has tasting notes, like wine. In the case of Pura Vida, we wholeheartedly agree our Tequilas possess as complex flavor profiles as the best wines. We even highlight those tasting notes on our website:
- Pura Vida Silver -Smooth taste of agave with a touch of thyme and jasmine with a slightly spicy smooth finish.
- Pura Vida Reposado- Smooth taste of agave, a touch of mint, jasmine and light laurel flavor that intertwines with the woody, chocolate, and vanilla hints from the barrel for a slightly peppered yet slightly sweet taste.
- Pura Vida Añejo-Rich, elegant taste, with hints of red raisins, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, a hint of pepper and a floral aromatic.
- Pura Vida Extra Añejo-Dry, yet fruity, medium to full body with undertones of guava, lychee, spicy oak and subtle grassy herbs.
Color is NOT a guarantee of Tequila quality. Tequila turns color from aging in barrels or by the addition of color additives. (Additives are a definite no-no at Pura Vida!) A premium white tequila will taste much better than an artificially colored young tequila.
Before you taste tequila, use your nose. Again, Pura Vida has identified aromatic profiles for each of our Tequilas:
- Pura Vida Silver – Fresh, pure Blue Agave, mint, jasmine, and laurel.
- Pura Vida Reposado– An ample array of aromas from jasmine, mint, and agave to cocoa and vanilla.
- Pura Vida Añejo– Sweet and light, with hints of pear with further scents of vanilla, coffee, chocolate, and oak.
- Pura Vida Extra Añejo – Rich, with deep hints of cola nut, vanilla, pineapple, ginger, and pepper.
A bottle of Tequila can last unopened for years. However, once you open a bottle, you have about one to two months before oxidization and evaporation lower the quality of the Tequila and destroys the agave profile. So, you want to drink up your Pura Vida spirits within 3 to 6 months, at which point it becomes more like a bourbon. Best to enjoy your Pura Vida while it’s in its prime!
You Can Turn Tequila into Diamonds. Physicists at the National Autonomous University of Mexico figured out a way to make artificial diamonds out of Tequila. Sadly, the synthetic diamonds are too small to be turned into jewelry, but they can be used for an array of electronic and industrial purposes, which we think is pretty darned cool, too.
Ironically, Prohibition Era in the U.S. made Tequila more popular. Thanks to Prohibition in the 1920’s, Tequila's popularity in the United States grew since liquor from Mexico was easier to smuggle into the country. Later, during World War II, Tequila experienced another boom in popularity when overseas liquor shipments of other spirits decreased.
Real Tequila doesn’t have a worm in it. Perhaps even more renown in Pop Culture than actual Tequila, is the iconic worm crawling around the bottom of the bottle. But the worm, or gusano, actually originated as a marketing ploy for Tequila’s “lower-quality” cousin, mezcal. The gusano is the larvae of a type of moth that lives on the agave plant.
Tequila has health benefits. Studies have shown that a component in Tequila helps break down dietary fat, which can lower the levels of bad cholesterol. A shot taken after dinner can aid your body’s digestion. We at Pura Vida happily endorse and abide this tip!
Good Tequila does not cause hangovers. If you are hungover the next morning, something else caused it. Tequila does not equal a hangover. If you mix Tequila with sugary mixers it can increase the likelihood of a hangover, but enjoying the purity of 100% blue agave Tequila will leave you clear-headed the next morning. Sip away, amigos!
Ultra AÑEJO Releases
Coming Attraction: Luxury and Elegance at its Best
We are delighted to announce our newest addition to the Pura Vida Spirits Company line-up: Ultra Añejo. Aged for a minimum of five years in second-generation cognac barrels, every aspect of this lot is elegant. Every taste, every aroma, its bottle and label design, and its finish are as appealing as your favorite leather-bound club chair or velvet chaise lounge. Only the finest materials were used in the making of this luxurious and elegant masterpiece.
Pura Vida Spirits’, Ultra Añejo, is offering the best in sophisticated fine spirits at an affordable price. So, remember your favorite tequila drinker and yourself with a gift with which they may treat themselves (and you) to the premium of Pura Vida.¡Saludos!
Pricing: (around) $149/bottle
Production: Aged for five years in our finest, second-generation oak cognac barrels
Color: Combination of Golden Amber and Chestnut
Aroma: Deep and smoothly sweet notes of caramel, honey, and butter
Taste: Toasted oak with rich tones of vanilla and caramel
Finish: Smooth and long-lasting
Mexican Independence Day
Dies y Seis de Septiembre...It’s as authentic as Pura Vida Tequila!
This September 16, on Mexico’s true Independence Day (NOT to be confused with Cinco de Mayo), celebrate with Pura Vida Tequila, recently awarded another round of Gold Medals for Blanco and Reposado by Fifty Best, the digital guide to wine and spirits.
Mexican Independence Day, known to Mexicans as El Grito, commemorates the start of the Mexican War of Independence from Spain. El Grito translates to the “The Cry”, as in the “Cry of Independence.”
Still, to this day, the Mexican President rings the bell of the National Palace in Mexico City on El Grito. This is the same bell Miguel Hidalgo, the Mexican Roman Catholic priest who helped lead the revolution, rang in 1810. After each ringing of the bell on El Grito, the current president repeats a patriotic shout including the names of important Mexican War of Independence heroes. The crowd responds to the President with the most enthusiastic, “!Viva Mexico!”
This is the most significant national holiday for Mexicans, with its embodiment of pride for their home country, the home of Tequila! Take a little time this September 16th to raise a glass of Pura Vida Tequilaand say “Saludos” to acknowledge Mexico’s vibrant history and culture. Although we at Pura Vida celebrate Mexican heritage throughout the year, this holiday allows us to connect with the spirit of true Mexican culture, encompassed by its traditional food, celebratory music, and, of course, tequila.
Discover our tasty cocktails inspired by the spirit of Mexico’s Independence Day and join us in giving a shout out, pun intended, via a grito!
how about them apples
Whether you just went apple picking or stocked up at the local farmers’ market, there is likely a surplus of apples on the kitchen counter. And while nothing beats the simple joy of biting into the tart crispness of a perfectly ripe Honeycrisp, you might be inclined to tackle some apple recipes that are a bit more involved. Apple pie is the standard, but this year, why not try out some other creative uses for fall’s bounty? To highlight the versatility of apples, we are offering mouthwatering food and beverage recipes, Apple Walnut Crisp and Spiced Apple Margaritas, both can be made with Pura Vida Reposado or Pura Vida Añejo tequila. These creative recipes will definitely change the way you’ve thought about your favorite afternoon snack!
Apple-Walnut Crisp With Tequila
(Total time: 30 minutes – Servings: 6)
- 8 medium Gala, Fuji, Braeburn or other firm–fleshed apples – peeled, cored, and cut in 1/2″ slices
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tbsps finely grated orange zest (use a microplane grater)
- 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
For the toppings:
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
- 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- pinch sea salt
- 4 oz (115 g) (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter – cold, cut in 1″ chunks
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces
- vanilla ice cream
- 6 tablespoons Pura Vida Reposado or Pura Vida Añejo Tequila
Lightly butter 6 one-cup capacity ramequins and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Place the apple slices in a large bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice, cinnamon, orange zest, and sugar. Toss well and set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Process at high speed for approximately 15 seconds until well-blended. Add the chunks of butter and process until the mix is crumbly. Add the walnuts and pulse a few more times until large, moist crumbs form. Do not over-process or the crumbs will form a dough.
Top each ramequin with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. Then, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of your choice of Pura Vida Resposado or Añejo Tequila and serve immediately.
This dish can be baked up to 12 hours ahead. To reheat, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and bake for 6 to 8 minutes until warm, and serve as above.
To make one large crisp, bake in a medium baking dish instead of individual ramequins. Follow the same directions. (This might require an extra 5 minutes of baking time.)
Spiced Apple Margaritas
Ingredients for Serving 4:
- 2 ounces Pura Vida Reposado Tequila
- 1 ½ to 2 ounces apple juice or cider, preferably organic
- ¾ ounce fresh lime juice (about 1 medium lime, juiced)
- 1 tbsp honey simple syrup (recipe below) or ¾ tbsp Pura Vida Agave Nectar
- Dash ground cinnamon
Honey simple syrup
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup water
Cinnamon/sugar/salt rim blend and garnish
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp kosher or sea salt
- ½ tbsp ground cinnamon
- Apple slices, orange slice, cinnamon sticks to preference
First, prepare the honey simple syrup. Combine the water and honey in a small saucepan. Warm the saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the honey is dissolved in the water. Remove the pan from heat and set it aside.
On a small plate, use a fork to blend the sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Run a wedge of lime around the top of each drinking glass.Then, turn each glass down at a 45-degree angle and roll the lime-moistened rim of the glass through the blend of cinnamon, sugar, and salt. Fill each glass with ice and set them aside.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in the tequila, apple juice or cider, lime juice, honey simple syrup, and cinnamon. Fasten the lid and shake the cocktail shaker for about 20 seconds. Strain the cocktail into the prepared glasses. Cheers!
Honey Simple Syrup Storage: This simple syrup will keep well in an air-tight container in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
Cocktail of the Month
Ingredients for Serving 4:
- Spiced sugar(see “Note” below)
- 1 ounce Pura Vida Añejo Tequila
- 1⁄2 ounce mezcal
- 1 1⁄2 ounces apple cider, preferably organic
- 3⁄4 ounce lemon juice
- Ginger beer
- 1 diced red apple – for garnish
Coat the rim of a Collins glass with Spiced sugar, then fill with ice and set aside.
Add the tequila, mezcal, cider, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice.
Shake the cocktail shaker for 20 seconds and strain the combination into the prepared glass.
Top up the glass with ginger beer and garnish with diced red apple.
Spiced sugar is a mix of: 4 parts sugar; 2 parts ground cinnamon; 2 parts ground nutmeg; and, 1 part ancho chile powder. Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir until well-blended.
Recipe of the Month
Green Salad with Summer Fruits
Ingredients for Serving 4:
- 2 cups spinach, arugula, or a mix, chopped
- ⅓ cup fresh blueberries
- 6-8 strawberries, sliced
- 1 mango, peeled and diced
- 2-3 tbsp sliced almonds
- 1 tbsp neutral tasting oil (like grapeseed)
- juice and zest of one lime
Pura Vida Tequila Dressing
- 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 tbsp lime zest
- 2 tbsp agave syrup or honey
- 2 tbsp Pura Vida tequila
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, washed and ends trimmed
- freshly ground sea salt and pepper, to taste
Combine lime juice and zest, agave syrup and Pura Vida tequila in a food processor.
Pulse to combine. Add cilantro and process until smooth
With machine running, slowly add the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
BARTENDER OF THE MONTH
Name: Julian Enrione
Restaurant/Bar: Viva Villa
Hometown: San Antonio
Favorite Vacation Spot: Miami Florida
What are you streaming on TV right now: NFL
Three things you can’t live without: Water, Grapes, Bourbon
How long have you been bartending: 10 years
What are some of your hobbies: Fishing and playing basketball
What's the most important skill a bartender should have: Drink Knowledge
How do you approach making cocktails: Apporach by knowing what you are making. Incoporporate by details of drink
What's your cocktail-making style in in three words: Accurate, Fast, and Detailed
What do you drink on your night off: Single barrel bourbon
What trends have you spotted in cocktails: Craft cocktails and old-fashioned
What's a cocktail you've added to the menu that you think people should drink now: Rye Old Fashioned