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Today is July 24th, so what?  It’s a day a little less ordinary, if you choose it to be….today is National Tequila Day.  I had no clue there was such a day on the calendar, but interestingly this idea appeals to this blogger. It’s a time when American’s (It’s the American Registry of National Days) celebrate the libation, from slammin’ shots of gasoline that get the party going, to the luxurious elixirs of magical blends intended to be enjoyed slowly, like a good glass of wine.

Tequila is thought to be the first native-born distilled spirit and its popularity is growing in the market every day. Considered to be the fastest growing distilled spirit in the United States, the market explosion is mind-boggling, and the presentation of one brand after another is ever more impressive.

This blogger was in Dallas, Texas a couple of weeks ago, where she ventured into a little hot-spot called “TRECE”. It was there that the tequila world was opened to me. I walked into a romantic den of a lounge/restaurant, that was designed to set the mood to cool and dark and mysterious and heighten the senses. With over 120 products in stock, the back bar was lined with one beautiful bottle of tequila after another, in all shapes and sizes and the bar at which I sat down, boasted a cooling ice tray for the shot glasses to chill at just the right temperature for the tap pulled tequila on hand. Yes, that’s right, tap-pulls.  Tequila is even getting into the “on-tap” market.

Tequila has been a Mexico export to the United States since the late 1800’s, but only in these most recent few years has tequila made her name in the spirits world, for anything other than someone’s worst hangover! Tequila from aged barrels, similar to processing as that of a whiskey or malted scotch, has become THE thing to consume and know about. Once only a drink for bandidos and rancheros, Tequila plays into the “most interesting person in the world” mentality of the need to be among the elite, the trendsetter and the leaders of the consumer markets today. Premium and Super Premium Tequila products market to the those who are “in the know”. They are the next generation. They are the sophisticated, the discriminating, the accomplished, and the achieved. They are the people others follow, and the ones that everyone wants to be. They are the niche consumer of elegance and extraordinary taste in a world of big box capitalism where everything is always just the same.

No other liquid bares stories, myths, legends and lore as tequila and its sister beverage mescal. As North America’s first distilled drink, and its first commercially produced alcohol, the history of tequila is long and rich. Its roots reach back into pre-Hispanic times when the natives fermented sap from the local maguey plants into a drink called pulque. The history of tequila’s development from the traditional beverage to the modern spirit parallels the often turbulent, chaotic growth of Mexico herself, and is equally obscure to outsiders.(-Ryan Thomas) 

 To be officially known as tequila a spirit has to be made with blue agave in the Mexican state of Jalisco or in small designated areas of the states of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit and Tamaulipas. Higher end tequila are made with 100 percent pure blue agave while cheaper brands, called “mixtos”, use less, rounding out the distillation with other varieties and sweeteners like sugar. It is the sweeteners and sugars, by the way that leave you with that insane headache the following morning!

Also interestingly is that the tequila has to be made with a minimum 51% BLUE AGAVE to be identified as tequila and must as well have been bottled in Mexico.

This bloggers favorite is RIAZUL PREMIUM. Riazul carries Anejo, Reposado, and Blanco, and has excellent ratings. Aged in French white oak barrels formerly holding cognac or brandy, the Añejo is aged for two years, longer than any other tequila in its class. The Blanco reflects the highest quality fructose achieved by the long maturing agave and reveals the unique aromas and flavors indigenous to the Jalisco highlands. Riazul also recently introduced a third premium sipping tequila, a Reposado, which is aged for nine months in American oak barrels.  The Beverage Testing  Institute awarded Riazul some of the highest points possible in the beverage market, and the officionado in the trade, Tequila.net gave the product incomparable accolades.

The BTI tasting panel of experts rated the Añejo 93 points out of 100 and said of it: “Rich golden amber color. Vibrant aromas of banana cake and frosting, maraschino cherry, and spicy pineapple compote follow through on a soft, silky entry to a fruity medium body with great depth and a melange of sweet and peppery spices on the long, lingering fruit gum and coconut cream accented fade. Impressive and explosively flavorful.”

So today, on Tequila Day…..NATIONAL TEQUILA DAY, go out and find yourself a trendy hot spot and try it. Taste it. Reflect on it.  And just like Riazul says, let it “FLOW FREELY”.