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!
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
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, 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.
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.
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.
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