On the eve of Cinco de Mayo we thought it would be appropriate to discuss the iconic brand of tequila which is associated with Mexico.  Mexico has the international rights to the word “tequila”, and they have made it clear that they will take legal action against anyone or any country that uses the word to describe blue agave spirits.  Mexico law also states that tequila can be produced in the state of Jalisco (Tequila is a city in Jalisco), and specific regions in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacán, and Tamaulipas.

Furthermore, the Tequila regulatory Council has stated that authentic tequila must be made from 100% agave. Only then can it be designated as “100%” agave.  Everything else is“mixto” tequila.

Artisanal tequila is a thriving industry.  Recently we dined at the bar of Cielito, a wonderful restaurant in Santa Barbara, and learned that they carry over 70 brands of artisanal tequila.  Like wine, the producers of tequila create variations in taste based on the extent of aging and also on the type of wood used in the barrels where the tequila is aged. Other varietals can be created using agave that is grown at high altitudes giving it a sweeter taste, as opposed to lower altitudes which can give tequila an herbaceous taste.

While we were dining, we noticed that there were three bottles of tequila on the shelf shaped like human skulls.  Our friendly bartender told us that these bottles of tequila were made of hand-blown glass. The black skull bottle with hand glued rhinestones is the most expensive ($70 a shot) because it had been aged the longest.