How Tequila Mockingbird

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Hostel Galeria, Guadalajara

Flag of Mexico  , Jalisco,
Monday, October 17, 2011

Over the years I've had a special love-hate relationship with my old friend, Tequila. We first made each other's acquaintance at university where we partied together. But we had a major fall-out and didn't have contact again for at least seven years. Then one fateful day we bumped into each other by chance. At first we tried to avoid eye contact but we couldn't deny the attraction. Somehow all our troubles were forgotten and we became the best of friends! Tequila's appeal is his unique way of taking the party to another level and he has a tendency to show up at just the right time!

So it was with much anticipation that we booked our trip to visit Tequila in his home town. It was a pilgrimage of sorts. We were excited to spend a day in the company of his friends - Don Julio, Jose Cuervo and Olmeca.

Our first stop was a tequila farm called Tres Mujeres (3 women). Master jimador, Don Rafael showed off his skills developed over 40 years of harvesting agave plants. Dona Manuela had a go at wielding the "coa", a flat-bladed knife at the end of a long pole. This tool is used to get rid of the leaves and expose the core of the agave plant. That's what tequila is made from!

Next they showed and explained how the agave core is steamed, fermented and distilled. It's all natural here, using time not chemicals. The other trivia was a blur, really. Partially because our guide, Jesus (no relation), mostly spoke in Spanish and seemed annoyed when we reminded him to repeat in English. When he finally did, he rattled off the English version in half the time. But we were already not paying much attention. We were waiting impatiently for the best part of the tour. Can we taste the final product already?!

Officially we were given 4 shots each. There was the Blanco, Reposado, Anejo (2yr old) and Anejo Ekstra (5yr old). But we hovered around the table post-demonstrations and blagged a further 3 shots. How else could we be sure that we could tell the difference?! True connoisseurs, we are!

We stumbled back onto the bus around 11am with a bottle of tequila in hand. A 375ml bottle was just 60 pesos whereas a 30ml shot at a bar is about 50 pesos. In the haze we were still lucid enough to know it's unwise to open that bottle just yet, at least not until AFTER lunch.

In Tequila town centre the busload split into two groups - one bound for the museum to learn more about the art of tequila-making and one bound for more tequila-tasting. No prizes for guessing where we went! We made new friends while tasting chocolate tequila, as you do - Mario and Pedro from Tijuana, Mexico. The little tequila store had a special deal - buy 2 bottles get 1 free. So we did the only logical thing. Our new buddies bought one, we bought the second and we all shared the 3rd one in the park. It wasn't long before we were joined by 5 Brazilian guys who brought yet another bottle to the party. 

From then on... things... were...a tad... blurry... but... photos... help... fill...the... gaps...
Back in Guadalajara we feasted on yet another burger from the Pig's Pearls, freshened up and rejoined our new buddies on the plaza at the cathedral. The Mexicans brought a guitar. The Brazilians brought maracas and tambourines. What a pity the South Africans forgot their vuvuzelas! Although I doubt that we can carry a tune, with or without the vuvuzela!

The Latin Americans knew mostly Spanish songs, and the Brazilians threw in a few Portuguese ones. To include the non-Spanish speakers they played a few English classics like "More Than Words" by Extreme and "Imagine" by John Lennon. Oh, the pressure to remember the words and to sing aloud in public! *cringe*

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