Happy National Tequila Day! To celebrate we've put together a list explaining why the distillate of blue agave deserves more of your attention.
Because ¡Viva México!
It's a purely Mexican product, so by drinking it you're helping boost your neighbors' economy.
Tequila's been there for us when we needed it.
Tequila -- originally known to Americans as mescal brandy -- first made its way into the United States in the late 19th century, as railroad transportation expanded. In the 20th century, tequila helped the United States weather its two great alcohol crises. With Mexico just across the border, tequila became the drink of choice in the Southwest during Prohibition, according to spirits writer Anthony Dias Blue. When distilleries turned to industrial production during World War II, Mexico again helped fill the void. Tequila exports to the United STates skyrocketed to 1.2 million gallons in 1945, compared to just 6,000 gallons before the war.
Because what other liquor is made from pineapple?
Not exactly, but sort of. Tequila is made from the blue agave, which, when its leaves are sheared, leave a massive pit referred to in Spanish as the "piña," or pineapple. The agave juice that will be fermented and distilled into tequila comes from heating and crushing the piña.
To celebrate our indigenous ancestors
The word "tequila" most likely originated as a corruption of "Tecuilo," an indigenous group of Central Mexico.
It's good for your gut
(Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)
You can cook with it
There's some classics, like tequila wings, and then there's more sophisticated creations, like tequila-lime cheesecake
. Either way, that bottle of tequila can come in handy in the kitchen.
It improves cross-cultural understanding
Learning to appreciate this historic spirit and the Mexican ingenuity that brought it into existence will make you less inclined to support border walls.
Because it comes in cool bottles
You don't have to wait so long
Unlike Scotch or brandy, which can sit around aging for decades while their prices rise into the stratosphere, tequila stops improving after around four years in the barrel.
But it doesn't have to be expensive either
The budget-conscious need not worry. There's plenty of bottles -- el Jimador, Espolón, and 1800 among them -- that you can pick up for less than $25
. The main rule of thumb to remember when shopping around is to avoid anything less than 100 percent blue agave. Such products tend to add sweeteners to aid the fermentation process, leading to an inferior beverage and, possibly, an unnecessarily painful hangover.
But remember moderation
Because all those health benefits go out the window when you start chugging from the bottle.