It’s almost Cinco de Mayo. Did you know drinking tequila helps the environment? Keep reading and I’ll explain.
The answer lies in how tequila is made.
It all starts in the blue agave fields around Jalisco state in Mexico. Farm workers harvest blue agave plants in their twelfth year of maturity. The jimadores carefully choose the plants and remove the spiky leaves revealing the core, or piña (pineapple).
The piñas are placed in ovens and pressure steamed 24 hours or more. These ovens will hold 22 tons of pineapples. Once steamed, the piñas rest before taking a journey to a milling machine where they are crushed.
Modern-day tequila making employs industrial mills to squeeze the piña of their juices. The new contraptions aren’t as picturesque as this ancient grinding stone. That’s why I’m showing this relic instead.
Tequila is aged in stainless steel or oak.
• Blanco (or silver) tequilas are either not aged or aged less than two months in stainless or neutral oak.
• Joven (young) is a mix of blanco and a bit of older tequila.
• Reposado (relaxed) is aged 2 months to one year in oak.
• Añejo (mature) is aged one year to three years in oak.
• Extra Añejo is aged a minimum of three years in oak.
Chula’s Classic Margarita
Lime wedge and coarse salt for the rim, optional
3 parts blanco (or silver) tequila
1 part Cointreau
2 parts lime juice
Secret ingredient: Simple syrup to sweeten, optional
– adapted from the Bar of the Maria Cristina Hotel, Mexico City (above)
And that brings us to why drinking tequila on Cinco de Mayo is good for the environment.
This is bagazo. When the piñas are crushed and juice is extracted, this residue is left. The bagazo is composted and then used as organic fertilizer to grow more piñas.
So drink up. Mother Earth is counting on you.
Photos from Ex Hacienda Corralejo, Pénjamo, Mexico, and Hotel Maria Cristina, Mexico City © Doug Hall
Corralejo Tequila Reposado is available in Atlanta at Tower on Piedmont Road.