How The Philippines Helped Make Tequila into A Thing
We all love Jose Cuervo. Who doesn’t?! He makes you dance, he makes you extremely confident, and he helps you make the best IG-stories out there. He’s the fun-funder in any party. But did you know that the Philippines played a huge part in crafting the well-loved liquor???
Blue Agave, the aestheic prickly plant, is where the good stuff comes from. Each bottle has to have 51% to 100% Blue Agave to be legally called tequila. And before you glug down that bottle, it takes 7 years for a Blue Agave plant to be harvested. So don’t take it for granted!
Believe it or not, tequila has been around for a long time. Aztec and Olmecs have been known to brew it for ceremonial purposes and called it “Pulque”. They even had gods who were specifically for that booze, count us in for that religion please!
The Spanish soon came to take over the Aztecs. Upon arriving, the Spaniards ran out of brandy and improvised with the Aztec’s brew, The Spanairds were quick on their feet and knew that they had something good in their hands. The Blue Agave brew was distinctly sweet, a flavor most drinkers would love. The Spanish limited the production of agave to legit brewers because big money was coming in.
This was fermented tequila, not yet distilled tequila. Manila (Yes! Our Manila) was actually crucial to making distilled tequila into a global phenomenon. We were a major trade route stop to get tequila from Mexico to Spain but it does beyond being a co-trader. When the Filipino sailors (who settled in Mexico) introduced our coconut wine (commonly known as Tuba) and how it was produced, the Mexicans took notes. Our portable stills (locally called kawa) were the key to distilling the agave to give it an even smoother taste and texture. Historians even cite that “Filipinos taught Mexicans the distillation process which enabled the production of tequila.”
Soon after, manufacturers started making distilled tequila. And the Cuervo family dominantly took over the market because of their knack for choosing and growing the best agave. Jose Quervo’s son was the pioneer in serving up the drink in a bottle instead of a barrel. Yes, those bottles we love every Friday night was a major game changer. Imagine chugging from a barrel?!
Come the 1970s’ legal action is taken and tequila is an intellectual property of Mexico. Thus, for your tequila to be legit, it had to come from certain parts of Mexico and has to be made with specific ingredients and in specific ways. Thus, other countries are banned from producing and selling their own “tequila” because it’s not “tequila”.
Luckily, you don’t have to travel far or go through all the hassle of the Galleon Trade to get your tequila fix this 2019. Get your fix straight from the source! Hola Chica! In The Island serves up the meanest tequila drinks with Jose Cuervo. Margaritas, anyone?!
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