Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 11-12-2009

On our route back to Mazatlan last season, we saw “Santiago de Tequila” from afar and vowed to include a stop this time around. Admittedly,  we were lured to this town because of our great fondness for the namesake of the town. Santiago de Tequila is a town located in the state of Jalisco about 60 km from the city of Guadalajara.   Tequila is best known for being the birthplace of the drink that bears its name, “tequila,” which is made from the blue agave plant, native to this area. The heart of the plant contains sugars and had been used by native peoples here to make a fermented drink they called mezcal. After the Spanish arrived, they took this fermented beverage and distilled it, producing the tequila known today.  The popularity of the drink and the history behind it has made this town and the area surrounding it a World Heritage Site.  It was also named a “Pueblo Mágico” (Magical Town) in 2003 by the Mexican federal government.

We missed the road to a small farming campground mentioned in our Mexican guide book so we decided to wing it and find a spot to park in the town of Tequila.  Prior visions of the town included a small population of people walking calming around an historical center.  What we found was a vibrant town full of people and thus little space to park.  Ken negotiated with a manager of a beer distributor to park in his parking lot behind a fence.  Ken offered him money but he declined, further evidence of the generosity of the Mexican people.  We asked him for a good place to have dinner and he sent us to “Cholula”.  This hot sauce just happens to be Poohnut’s favorite hot sauce in the whole world so it was the perfect place to eat.  The restaurant was located in the heart of the town square where we found a huge festival underway, complete with food vendors, rides for kids and  a Catholic Mass.  We enjoyed our dinner and then further fulled up on a yummy desert of fresh strawberries with cream and fried bananas.  Ken and I had the obligatory shot of tequila (offered at every street corner) then made our way back  home to our beer distributing neighborhood.  Our parking spot was just a few yards from the “free road”, used by those who don’t want to pay the fee on the toll road, so the night was quite noisy.

The  next morning, we went back to the main square and by contrast, it was calm and lovely.  The girls and I had breakfast at a small cafe and enjoyed cappuccino and French bread.  The boys walked to  the grittier side of town and ate a more authentic Mexican style breakfast.   Ken looked up the tour schedule for the Jose Cuervo factory and we arrived just in time to take a tour in. . . Spanish!   Oh well, you don’t need to know Spanish to know you like tequila!

We were so impressed by the grounds of the Jose Cuervo factory.  They were really beautiful and I couldn’t stop taking pictures. After watching a promotional style video (with English subtitles) we followed our tour guide from place to place, learning first how Agave (the plant used in tequila) is selected then we learned about the process used to distill the alcohol and finally how it’s refined to the finished product we know and love. The guide also explained the differences between the various types of tequila and their uses. The buildings each had varying degrees of the odors of alcohol – the vapors strong enough to have the guide request no electronic devices to be used in the buildings at all. The hour long tour was made complete by a  free margarita, the kids enjoying the virgin variety.   We learned a lot about tequila and its’ production and we also tasted a good bit of tequila along the way including a smooth 120-proof pure tequila – not  something we usually drink at 11AM!  The tour was time well spent and we have a deeper appreciation for one of our favorite libations!

Now off to our favorite spot in Mexico (so far!) . .   Melaque!

Comments (1)

Sympa, vous avez aimé notre pueblo magico ?! :p

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