There are many misconceptions about tequila. You've probably heard most, if not all of them.
Tequila has been a fairly misunderstood liquor in the U.S. Fortunately, this is starting to change as more and more good tequilas are brought into the country.
There are also a growing number of enthusiasts who help spread the word. Tequila bars are growing, and many offer tastings, classes, and special dinners with
- Tequila is more potent than other alcohols: No, it's the same content of alcohol as other liquors. 40% or 80 proof in the U.S., 36-38% or 72-76 proof in Mexico.
Having said that, there are some "cask strength" tequilas available that have a higher alcohol content. But they're rare, and other liquors also have higher-strength versions.
- Tequila will give a terrible hangover: Only the mixtos with cane sugar alcohol and other additives and impurities will give a bad hangover; the good quality
tequilas won't. Having said that, know that consuming a large quantity of ANY alcohol will dehydrate a person. Dehydration can cause headaches.
- Tequila is made from cactus: Not true. It's made from Agave tequilana, the Weber blue agave plant. Specifically, the core or "piña" of the plant.
The blue agave looks like a century plant- It has long spiny leaves, a few inches wide by 5-8 feet long. The leaves aren't used in the production.
The piña can be large- They can weigh up to 250-300 lbs (113kg-136kg).
- Tequila has a worm in the bottle: It's Mezcal, not Tequila, that sometimes has a worm in the bottle as a novelty. Even then, only a few mezcals
have the worm. In fact, it's not really a worm at all- It's the larvae of the
moth which lives on the plant.
- Tequila and Mezcal are the same thing: Not entirely true. All tequilas are mezcals, but not all mezcals are tequila. The
roasting and distillation processes are different, mezcal can use a wider variety of agave plants, and it can be produced in a wider area than Tequila.
- Tequila is a kind of "outlaw" brew: Not at all. While there are a number of homebrewed tequilas in Mexico (and some are quite good,
I hear), anything that's made for export to other countries is very carefully regulated by the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT), part of the Mexican government.