Tequila is a distilled spirit, made from the blue agave cactus, grown in the area surrounding the city of Tequila in the Mexican state of Jalisco. According to the Mexican laws, it can be only produced in the state of Jalisco and few other specified areas in several other states. Tequila was first produced in 16 century, although Aztecs were known to produce a fermented beverage from the blue agave plant. After harvesting, the leaves are cut from the agave plant, exposing the core of the cactus, or piña, which is then slowly baked in large brick ovens to break down starch into sugar. After that, the baked piñas are mashed using a large stone wheel, called tahona. The resulting agave juice is then fermented in the stainless steel or wooden vats for several days, and then distilled to produce tequila. There are two main categories of this spirit: 100% agave and mixed, which is made with at least 51% agave. 100% agave tequila can be classified into Blanco (also known as plata): un-aged tequila, bottled right after distillation; Reposado: aged for at least two months in oak barrels; Añejo: aged for at least 3 years in oak barrels. Tequila can be enjoyed straight, neat, or in many mixed drinks.


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