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Get Schooled in Agave With This Tequila Buying Guide

 

Harvesting, shredding, crushing, fermenting, distilling. There is a lot of manual labor involved in making Tequila. By design, it’s an artisanal process–though admittedly the bigger producers have mechanized some or most of it. Men’s Journal walks you through the steps from field to bottle, and gives you tips for picking up your next bottle.

 

A Handy Guide to Buying Traditional Tequila

By St. John Frizell

Distilling a batch of tequila once took weeks. Huge hearts of agave had to be slow-cooked for days, then left to ferment in the open air before being crushed by millstone. The process was simple, natural, and efficient enough — at least until Americans decided they liked tequila, too. So to keep up with demand, producers introduced all manner of modernity to the ritual: industrial shredders, artificial chemicals and enzymes, pressurized steam ovens. The casualties of industrialization, though, are nuances in flavor. With every step of the process that’s skipped or sped up, tequila risks becoming nothing more than vodka Mexicano. Luckily, there are a few old-school tequilas still holding the line, as well as a few newer ones looking to the past for inspiration. And whether it’s sipped straight or in a cocktail, you can tell the difference in the rich agave flavor that’s a bit like tupelo honey. Here are the time-honored production methods that make these throwback tequilas so special, and the best bottles to seek out. Read the entire article on Men’s Journal.

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