When in the real Mexico and not just the Mexico that resorts want to show people, there is only one drink of choice - tequila. Mexico has had a long history with this nectar brewed from the blue agave plant and not all of it tastes the same. For those on the trail for Mexico's best tequila, it will be an eventful hunt tracking it through its home brewing regions. However, the result will be an unparalleled knowledge of this zesty brew from south of the border.
Town of Tequila and the National Museum of Tequila
For any wanderer of Mexico on the trail of quality tequila, their search for it should start in the town named after it. Tequila sits in the state of Jalisco where fields of the greenish blue agave stretch over the hilly terrain surrounding the town. This area including the states of Guanajuato, Nayarit, Michoacan and Tamaulipas that produce the entire world supply of tequila, some 60 million gallons each year. Tequila made outside these regions is forbidden, by law, to be labeled tequila.
Inside of the town of Tequila, visitors can tour the quaint 18th century city and its landmarks, but most visitors come here for one thing - to learn about its namesake drink. Visitors can tour the Jose Cuervo and La Rojena distillery to learn about these two very distinct variations of the drink and the process the blue agave plant goes through to make them. Of course, tours of the distillery also come with free samples just so visitors can taste the difference.
Nearby the distilleries is another tequila learning opportunity. The town of Tequila is also the home to the National Museum of Tequila. Within, visitors can tour the museum and witness the story of this beloved national drink. While the museum hosts artifacts from both the history of the town and the drink, sadly it doesn't offer any free samples.
Ride the Tequila Express
For visitors who have explored the town of Tequila thoroughly and still have a taste for tequila, there is still one more option left in town to explore the tequila-making region of Jalisco as a whole. The Tequila Express is a tourist train that runs through Jalisco and through Guadalajara. The train ride through this beautiful countryside also includes a tour of the Herradura tequila distillery, lunch at a Mexican hacienda, live mariachi bands and dancing onboard and of course, lots of tequila in the bar car.
Throughout the tour, the Tequila Express details how tequila production has changed from small artisanal production to the mass-produced internationally consumed beverage that it is today. For those who don't have all the time in the world for tequila tourism, the Tequila Express is the fastest way to get the best taste of the Mexican tequila regions without a lot of hassle.
Experience Tequila Guadalajara Tequila Tours
The Experience Tequila tour organization offers what they call "guided vacations" through one of Mexico's most famous tequila regions, Guadalajara. This unique and award-winning tour organization bills themselves as the group tour for those who don't like group tours. There's no awkward small talk and a tour that provides a hands-on experience into the world of tequila. For the tequila curious, the tour will have them experiencing all dimensions of the tequila-brewing production process up close and personal. The tour takes visitors out into the blue agave fields where they can try their hands at harvesting the plant using the same process and tools that have been used from the beginning. After learning about the harvesting and cultivation of the ingredients, it is on to a distillery where groups will be able to get down on the factory floor to learn about the brewing and bottling. Finally, at the end of the tour, guests get a big sample of their fruits of their labours. Tours are available in public groups, but custom and VIP tours can also be arranged at any length or time of the year.
Mr. Sancho's Tequila Tasting
For those who have seen how blue agave is harvested and watched how it is made into tequila at the distilleries, now it is time to taste how all that comes together in its many different ways. Tequila tastings are popular throughout Mexico, but Cozumel is a town where the tequila flows liberally. Mr. Sancho's Bar and Grill hosts one of the most varied tequila tastings in Mexico. Visitors can come and try their 8 different tequila varieties from the various tequila-making regions in Mexico and learn the unique differences. Aside from their white, golden and dark tequilas that all have various aging, visitors can also try their unique tequila liquor and cream of tequila, all this while surrounded by the savoury aroma of authentic homemade Mexican dishes. Visitors are sure to leave the tasting a tequila connoisseur and likely a bit tipsier than when they entered.