What do tequila of?
This alcoholic drink promptly win the world markets, accompanied with series of improbable myths. One of them says that tequila - cactaceous vodka which is made in Mexico from local cactuses. However it not absolutely so, and cactuses is perfect at anything here. Alcoholic drinks of them in Mexico are not done.
For production of tequila use juice from a core of a blue agave (agave tequiliana Weber blue variety) - a succulent grassy plant from family Lileynykh. In Mexico more than 130 types of the agaves united in the sort of the same name the Agave (Agave) meet. Some of them apply to production of other traditional local drinks too: bakanor (bacanora), sotol (sotol), meskalya (mezcal), pool (pulque). But for tequila - only a blue agave.
In the wild nature the blue agave grows in mountain regions of the western Mexico on the poor peschano - krasnozyomny soils. In the beginning the socket with the long pointed fleshy leaves reaching in length more than 2 m develops. To five-year age the agave blossoms, throwing out a five-meter flower arrow with an inflorescence of yellow flowers. Flowers are pollinated at night by bats of Leptonycteris nivalis, in the subsequent in the formed balsas ripens to 5 - 6 thousand seeds. On it maternal mission of an agave comes to an end, the plant dies off.
Certainly, such cycle of development is not suitable for production of tequila at all. For this reason the agave was turned into the cultivated plant and began to be grown up on plantations on several hundreds and even thousands of pieces. The adult agave has height to 2 - 2,5 m and diameter to 3 - 3,5 m. Depending on conditions she is capable to live to 10 - 15 years. For production of good tequila its age has to be not less than 8 years for now it grows up, in row-spacings cultivate haricot and corn.
For receiving thicker core at an agave cut the ends of leaves and flower shooters delete. The artificial irrigation of fields is avoided because larger plants received at the same time contain less vegetable sugar that affects by production of drink. Therefore the agave though grows at the ordered ranks, but it is strict in natural climatic conditions and receives moisture only from the sky.
The core of an agave from which receive juice for production of tequila is called pica and reminds pineapple. It is increased in the beginning underground, later comes to light. The typical weight of a mature core - about 90 kg, but maybe is less, and more. Cases when copies with a core grew to 200 kg are known, but it happens extremely seldom. A sign of maturing of a core - a stop of its growth, acquisition of a brown shade and emergence of red spots on leaves. As they say, the client ripened.
Harvesting represents a difficult task and demands certain skills which pass from father to son. At an adult agave around a core it is located about 200 long (to 3 m), the leaves covered with sharp thorns. Collectors cut off them by means of very sharp tool with the long handle - a soa. The skilled collector - a himador - in a day can prepare about a ton of cores. Its task - to ship them on trucks for sending to factory.
Unfortunately, domestication of a blue agave led to the fact that from - for constant vegetative reproduction a genetic variety of these plants sharply decreased. The majority of nowadays cultivated agaves are some kind of clones with the lowered resistance to environmental conditions, to wreckers and diseases. In recent years they strongly are surprised various gnilyam and cannot resist to insects - wreckers. It is necessary to apply chemical preparations to fight against misfortunes that lowers quality of the received tequila.
The blue agave for production of tequila is grown up in Mexico in five states: Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit, Tamaulipas. According to the Mexican laws the agave which is grown up outside these states cannot be used for production of drink with the name “ " tequila;. The best grades of tequila are delivered on the market by the State of Jalisco. Here also the city Tequila whose name speaks for itself is located and does not need explanations.
By the way, the plantations of a blue agave located in the central regions of this staff in 2006 the decision of UNESCO received the status “ heritage of mankind “. Certainly, at the same time the mission of these plants was not considered at all. Purely outer side was taken into account: speak, this simply amazing show - stiffened on slopes of mountains is opaque - blue infinite plantations of a blue agave under which wide leaves is not visible lands. The impression of the stiffened water smooth surface is made, there is no similar landscape any more anywhere in the world.
Of WHAT do tequila, we found out. Later we will talk about HOW it is done.]