NH Mexican Restaurants: The Process Behind Tequila

For centuries, the agave plant has played a vital role in tequila production, as it’s the primary ingredient in this iconic Mexican spirit. It’s a special intricate process that takes time, skill, and patience. In honor of National Tequila Day on July 24th, one of your favorite NH Mexican restaurants, Don Ramon, is diving into the process of one of our favorite spirits, tequila!  

How it Begins

The cultivation of agave for tequila production begins by planting agave shoots, called “hijuelos” or “pups,” which are the offshoots of mature agave plants. These shoots take several years to reach maturity with careful cultivation. The average maturation for blue agave used in tequila production is around 7 to 8 years, although some premium tequilas use agaves that have been aged for even longer. Environmental factors such as soil composition, altitude, climate, and sun exposure influence the agave plant’s growth and maturation process.   

Unveiling the Heart of Tequila

Harvesting the agave is a labor-intensive process. Once the agave reaches its optimal maturity, jimadores harvest it. Jimadores are skilled workers who use a specialized tool called a coa to remove the leaves and expose the heart of the plant, known as the piña. The piña, which resembles a large pineapple, is the part of the agave used to produce tequila. After harvesting, the piñas are transported to the distillery for processing. The first step is to steam or bake the piñas to turn the starches into fermentable sugars. This was initially done in brick ovens called hornos, but many modern methods also use autoclaves. After cooking, the agave is crushed in order to extract the juice or “aguamiel,” which is then fermented, creating tequila!  

Don Ramon | NH Mexican Restaurants 

Understanding the process behind the creation of tequila, such as the agave plant, its cultivation, harvesting process, and the impact of different agave varieties, is essential for appreciating and exploring the world of tequila. If you’re looking to celebrate National Tequila Day this July, we encourage you to come on in and celebrate with us at Don Ramon! To explore all of our delicious food and drink options, check out our online menu for more information. We look forward to dining with you!  

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