Puerto Vallarta Weather Report
Welcome to Puerto Vallarta's liveliest website!
Contact UsSearch
Why Vallarta?Vallarta WeddingsRestaurantsWeatherPhoto GalleriesToday's EventsMaps
Sign up NOW!

Free Newsletter!

Puerto Vallarta News NetworkTravel & Outdoors 

Drinking Mexico's Liquid Gold: Tequila Trail in Jalisco

go to original
July 24, 2015

July 24th is National Tequila Day. There's no better place to celebrate National Tequila Day than on Mexico's La Ruta del Tequila - a scenic region in the state of Jalisco that connects tequila-producing towns.

Jalisco, Mexico - An actual holiday all about Mexico's national liquor? Yep, indeed. July 24th is National Tequila Day. And there's no better place to celebrate the holiday than on La Ruta del Tequila (the tequila trail) in Mexico.

La Ruta del Tequila - a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2006 - is a scenic region in the state of Jalisco that connects tequila-producing towns. Depending on how much time and interest you have, there are several ways to experience it, be it DIY distillery touring, a train excursion through the agave fields, or with a guided tour group.

In honor of National Tequila day, July 24th, here are three ways to taste your way tequila-making country:

When in Tequila Town

Yep, there's actually a town in Mexico named Tequila!

Legally, only five of the thirty-one states in Mexico can produce tequila but the majority is produced in the Valley of Tequila in Jalisco. Hence, if a DIY tequila trail adventure is your style, best to focus here. Flanked by mountains on both sides and the dormant Tequila Volcano in the center, most of the distilleries are in or near the valley towns of El Arenal, Tequila and Amatitán. The town of Tequila is the most popular stop on the trail. Here are the best spots in Tequila:

Casa Sauza

As the first to export tequila to the U.S., a visit to Sauza to pay tribute to the U.S. tequila godfather is in order. There are three tour options, the most elaborate is the three-hour La Constancia, which includes assisting a jimador (agave farmer) in the harvest process, a distillery tour with an overview of the five step process of making tequila and finally, barrel tastings and cocktails. Hornitos and Tres Generations are also made here. Tours operate from Monday-Saturday. $8-15 USD

Tres Agaves Tequila, El Llano Distillery

El Llano, owned by the Orendain family, is a fifth generation distillery in operation since 1900. Best to contact Tres Agaves ahead of time for a tour and tasting. If you're lucky, master-distiller Eduardo Orendain will be on hand to offer insights into his family's craft of longtime artisan tequila making. Orendian specializes in 100% agave tequila via small batches of the estate bottled Arette and Tres Agaves tequilas at El Llano.

La Cofradia

La Cofradia, in the tequila business for more than 50 years, including the prestigious brand Casa Noble, offers a unique 'sip and stay' experience. A quaint four-room boutique hotel (each individually themed) lies adjacent to the distillery and agave fields. Take the "Tour of the Senses" night tour, which includes dinner, peruse the museum or just simply relax in the outdoor pool or on site spa. Hot tip: the only way to book a room is by calling or sending a request through the contact form on their website.

Museo Nacional de Tequila

Want more maguey (agave) mojo? For a collection of photos, drawings and memorabilia hailing the almighty agave, head to the National Museum of Tequila. Open Tuesday-Sunday; 10 am-5 pm.

Tequila Vacations

Launched in 2009, La Ruta del Tequila is still in its infancy and getting access to small-production, boutique distilleries can be challenging. Founders of Spirit of Jalisco, a Unites States-based tour company specializing in tequila vacations, have been bringing tequila lovers and bartenders to Jalisco for 'real deal' tequila immersions for over two decades.

Led by Clayton Szczech, the only non-Mexican to earn the prestigious double-T certification from the Tequila Regulatory Council for excellence in tequila tourism and education, the four-day excursions focus on 100% agave makers.

Their most popular tour, Valley of Tequila, offers insider experiences include: a visit to the closed-to-the-public Fortaleza distillery and cave; a tasting at La Cofradia with Casa Noble's master blender; and exclusive access to Herradura's room filled with French cognac barrels aging collector-worthy tequila.

"It's all about immersing our guests in a real, authentic Mexican village that is the heart of the rich culture of tequila making," says Szczech.

Tequila Trains

One of the most streamlined ways to get a taste of the route is aboard the Tequila Express or the José Cuervo Express. Both trains are an all-day excursion, beginning in Guadalajara and ending at a different tequila distillery.

The Tequila Express de-boards in the town of Amatitán - home of the Herradura distillery. Lunch is served at Casa Herradura - including a tour and tequila tasting. Views of the blue weber agave dotted countryside (the only varietal, of roughly 200 agave species, from which tequila can be made) are spectacular. Weekends only, 8 1/2 to 9 hours, $90 USD per person.

If you'd like to visit the town of Tequila - one of Mexico's designated historical towns, or Pueblos Magicos, - hop on the José Cuervo Express. Similar to the Tequila Express, although a bit more upscale, this all-day excursion includes margaritas or tequila shots and nibbles such as tacos and empanadas throughout the journey with a visit to Cuervo's distillery – La Rojeña. The Cuervo experience includes time to explore the town of Tequila, a tasting, a traditional Mexican dance show and distillery tour. 9 hours, $100-$130 per person. In addition to weekend day trips, José Cuervo Express operates on Friday nights.

As tequila enthusiasts like to say, you're not just drinking liquor, you're drinking history.

Happy National Tequila Day. Salud!

Original article