For years, some tequila producers have been using additives to their products. The rules and regulations for tequila production have allowed for caramel coloring, oak, extract, glycerin, and sugar-based syrup (NORMA Oficial Mexicana NOM-006-SCFI-2012, Bebidas alcohólicas-Tequila-Especificaciones 4.1). How it got passed me, I don't know, but for the rules and regulations for 2013 had added this little phrase that I was completely unaware of until last week while attending the Distintivo T, a course that was developed and run by the CRT.
"4.36.1 Tequila blanco o plata
Producto transparente no necesariamente incoloro, sin abocante, obtenido de la destilación añadiendo únicamente agua de dilución y lo previsto en el numeral 220.127.116.11 en los casos que proceda para ajustar la graduación comercial requerida, pudiendo tener una maduración menor de dos meses en recipientes de roble o encino."
For the most part it is saying that additives (abocantes) can not be used with blanco/plata tequilas. This is great news, as long as producers are not side-stepping, we will no longer have overly-sweet and un-natural tasting blanco tequilas. The biggest problem is that for many people who would taste a blanco tequila that had additives of glycerin and sweeteners, would come to expect all tequilas to be something that they inherently are not. Hopefully, this will lead us to having "additive-free" tequilas, or at the very least the labeling of said additives to the packaging.
So in the middle of class, I asked a few of my ultra-geeky tequila friends if they were aware of this amendment which lead to Clayton Szczech of Experience Tequila to publish this great article:
"Mexico Bans Additives in Blanco Tequila"
"This is about where mezcal’s made, how it’s made, and how an unexpected thirst for mezcal in the United States is bringing some people home to Mexico."
Good article from PBS about how Mezcal is bringing jobs back to Mexico.
Either my webbly app or wifi connection at our hotel in Arotonilco sucks and can't upload all my pictures...Grrrrr!!!
One of the new things we added for this ttears Blue Agave Tour, was a guided tour of Guadalajara's beautiful downtown area, our good friend and fellow BATmemeber, Clayton Szczeck of Experience Tequila. While I did not write down everything that he told us - and there was a lot of great info - I did get some good pics and a little bit of info to share with y'all!
And so it begins...
These murals were painted in the ________ by Gabriel Flores between 1962 and 1964, depicting the conquest of Mexico, and the settlement of Gudalajara.
The beautiful cathedra was built in 1618, is one of the few in the world that has received the bestow meant of a "Minor Vasilica" by the Vatican due to the relic of St. Innocence the Martyr. While I had been here before, I noticed for the first time the Free Mason's logo...
This man played the saddest song on his trumpet.
José Orozco is one of the greatest artists of all time, and a treasure of Mexico. Not only did he not have a left hand (as he blew it up making fireworks), but he was nearly blind and had to literally press his face up to, whatever it was that he was painting. Sr. Orozco was not a fan of the church or government, but somehow he ended up painting murals in the government buildings in Guadalara and Mexico City, as well as the Hospicio de Cabañas (no pics from there today, but will post some soon). The following mural was at La Palacio de Gobierno.
Cocktail time at La Fuente. Founded in 1921, this is the oldest bar in Guadalajara.
While in Guadalara, we stayed at the Hotel Morales. This place is really nice and highly recommended!!
We have about 27 people on this years Blue Agave Tour, which technically starts at 10am with a tour of the historic downtown area of Guadalajara by our good friend and fellow BAT member, Clayton Szczeck of Experience Tequila. Anyway, most of us met down here yesterday an we had a tasty dinner at La Fonda and shared a bottle of Pueblo Viejo reposado. We then headed back to the hotel where a few of us met upstairs for some vintage El Jimador blanco (bottled in 1999, and at 40% alc, not the watered down 38 or 35% jive that is currently on the Mexican market), Don Anastacio blanco, vintage Arette Gran Clase, and Tulum añejo, all topped off with some tasty lemon frosted cookies made by Gail!
Just a taste of what is to come...
My first trip to Tequila was on a "Day Tour" from Puerto Vallarta, in May of 2006. Besides the very long ride, our time in Tequila was extremely quick, 1 hour at La Cofradia, 1 hour for lunch (at a place that I believe is over by Pemex, but have never been to again), and about 20 minutes to see the town.
On our way there, we stopped at some ruins (lost the pics), and “played” with some volcanic rocks. After about 4 hours, we finally get to town and we make the right hand turn to go to Cofradia, and I see homes that are not in the very best of shape, and my thoughts were not “wow, this town is a dump”, but rather “this must me a real humble town, to not have a façade, and to care less about what tourist think”. For me, I really appreciated that quality, and I found a certain beauty in it. But once we got to La Cofradia, it took on a whole new ball game. The pictures that I had seen, just didn’t do it justice. It was a very tranquil and pretty place, with large mango trees, a duck pond, and snfffff, the sweet smell of cooked agave! Our tour guide who was with the tour company - not La Cofradia – gave us a basic tour of the distillery (got to taste cooked agave for the first time!), then took us to the barrel room for a tasting of mixto, blanco, repo, and añejo. For the blanco, he said “this, you want to throw back”, and after taking my time sipping it, he scolded me – what a schmuk! So we end that tasting with Casa Noble añejo, spend some time looking at souvenirs and tasting the original La Pinta and some of the flavored mixtos they had blended with Sprite (or something like that – and yes, I did like it!) as well as a look inside the museum next door. Then it was off to lunch, and then a quick trip to town.
Of course 20 minutes was not enough as I need time to find as full set of Los Abuelos tequila and have a Batanga at La Capilla. Well, I’m draggin my wife all over town like a blind man looking for the Sauza museum to purchase my first set of Los Abuelos, I forgot about the museum part and only ask about Sauza. Which of course, I am pointed in the right direction, but with only minutes to spare we step into the liquor store that is on the corner across from the church, and they had a full set for me. We buy ‘em and get on the bus in the nick of time. Not that I would have minded staying there, but my wife, Elizabeth would have beat my ass! Haha!! Not til later did I realize that we had past both the Sauza museum and La Capilla.
For anybody that plans on making a visit to Tequila from Puerta Vallarta on a bus, make sure that bus has a bathroom. Ours did not. And it made a very long and uncomfortable trip.
This is a GREAT video about 33 minutes or so, that is made about traditional Mezcal production and culture in the state of Michoacan - and it is subtitled in English too! Documezcal