Tequila: A Natural and Cultural History
The array of bottles is impressive, their contents finely tuned to varied tastes. But they all share the same roots in Mesoamerica's natural bounty and human culture. The drink is tequilaÑmore properly, mescal de tequila, the first mescal to be codified and recognized by its geographic origin and the only one known internationally by that name. In ÁTequila! A Natural and Cultural History, Ana G. Valenzuela-Zapata, the leading agronomist in Mexico's tequila industry, and Gary Paul Nabhan, one of America's most respected ethnobotanists, plumb the myth of tequila as they introduce the natural history, economics, and cultural significance of the plants cultivated for its production. Valenzuela-Zapata and Nabhan take you into the agave fields of Mexico to convey their passion for the century plant and its popular by-product. In the labor-intensive business of producing quality mescal, the cultivation of tequila azul is maintained through traditional techniques passed down over generations. They tell how jimadores seek out the mature agaves, strip the leaves, and remove the heavy heads from the field; then they reveal how the roasting and fermentation process brings out the flavors that cosmopolitan palates crave. Today in Oaxaca it's not unusual to find small-scale mescal-makers vending their wares in the market plaza, while in Jalisco the scale of distillation facilities found near the town of Tequila would be unrecognizable to old JosŽ Cuervo. Valenzuela-Zapata and Nabhan trace tequila's progress from its modest beginnings to one of the world's favored spirits, tell how innovations from cross-cultural exchanges made fortunes for Cuervo and other distillers, and explain how the meteoric rise in tequila prices is due to an epidemicÑone they predicted would occurÑlinked to the industry's cultivation of just one type of agave. The tequila industry today markets more than four hundred distinct products through a variety of strategies that heighten the liquor's mystique, and this book will educate readers about the grades of tequila, from blanco to a–ejo, and marks of distinction for connoisseurs who pay up to two thousand dollars for a bottle. ÁTequila! A Natural and Cultural History will feed anyone's passion for the gift of the blue agave as it heightens their appreciation for its rich heritage.
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100-percent-agave Agave angustifolia Agave angustifolia ssp agave plants agave species agave sugars Agave tequilana agave-culture alcohol Altos apex azul bacanora baking barbeo barrancas bermejo beverage blue agave botanical bottle broad cantina century charro chino clonal crop Cuervo cultivar cultural dark brown diseases distillation distilled beverages distilleries drink fermented fiber field fieldwork flavor genetic Gentry Gentry's glaucous harvest highlands Howard Scott Gentry indigenous inegi inflorescence intercropping Jaliscan Jalisco jimadores labor landscape leaf bases leaves maguey mature agaves Mayahuel mescaleros Mexican Mexico Moreno mother plant mula Nabhan stat Nahuatl oak barrels Oaxaca ovoidal percent pineapple plague plantations premium tequilas production pruning pulque region reposado rhizomes roasted Robert Bye rosettes sahuayo Sauza season seeds selected siguin soil Sonora Sonora-Chihuahua spine tepals tequila agave tequila industry tequila produced term tion tostoneo traditional trimming tube umbels Valenzuela-Zapata & Nabhan vegetative offshoots vivipara volcanic weeds wild agaves zona centro