Tequila!!

We left Puerto Vallarta and headed to the tequila region of Mexico and more specifically the city of Tequila, in the state of Jalisco..  The ride reminded us of parts of the US back country. Simply stunning right?

Also, we picked up a few thousand bugs along the way.

Some of them were still moving.

We wanted to learn about the process and history of Mexico’s best known export. When in Rome, right?

The bridge to San Sebastian.

Our first distillery stop was in the picturesque mining town of  San Sebastian.  The Hacienda San Sebastian is an artisanal distillery where we were given a small private tour and tasting.

Agave! 

It was so crowded, we hardly knew where to park. (/sarcasm)

Mas AGAVE!

The Cafe liquor is delicious!

If you are ever in the area, it would certainly be worth your time to stop at San Sebastian for a sample of  artisan tequilas.

The highway to tequila is … well interesting.  There are so many distilleries along the way and some rather interesting art and roadside fodder.

CHICKEN!

Hmmm..  not sure what this is about.
Scary agave baby head!

Tequila and surrounding areas are full of stores selling “tequila” by the gallon.  The big jugs available all over are not the certified authentic tequila and can be very bad for your health. Often they do not know the proper way to distill alcohol and they include the bad elements as well as the good, if you go shopping here make sure you get the good stuff because going blind is no fun.
Cheep tequila stands
Billboard warning about the bad tequila. 

The town of tequila is not exactly what you would expect. It is a small conservative family town and very safe to walk around.  Our only complaint is that is is hard to find wine in a town whose streets flow with tequila.

The Church of Santiago Apostol 
Mural in the main municipal building downtown.
And the smaller one outside featuring an all female rock band on top.
Jesus the carpenter lives here, and you can even like him on FB.

There are lots of interesting ways to tour Tequila and the distilleries but the most Mexican of all is this chili pepper car wearing a sombrero. 

Or you can ride in this tequila barrel.

While Jose Cuervo is the most universally popular brand of tequila. They also manufacture the very popular and delicious hot sauce, Cholula.  Before our tour of the distillery we had lunch at the Cholula La Fonda right next door.

They started us off with freshly made at our table guacamole!

And we treated ourselves to the top shelf house margarita!!  That is strips of pure agave stalk on top for sweetness! Muy bueno!

“I have a horse and money! Let’s drink!”

We don’t take pictures of our food unless it is special or unusual.  Here is our lamb skewered with an agave leaf.

Now off to our VIP tour and tasting!

Jose Cuervo or Joe Crow, is the mascot for the company

The tour took us through the production process.

The agave plant is harvested, the leaves cut off and the core cut opened. Some of these can weigh up to 40 pounds (18kg) each.

They are then steamed for a couple of days to loosen up the insides.

Then they are loaded onto a conveyor belt where the husk is crushed and the juice is kept and fermented for Tequila making.

Finally they are barrel aged until ready, diluted to the proper proof,  and bottled.

Joe the Crow sits in a giant cage. He is about as big as a chicken.

We took a tasting class and learned how to properly taste tequila and it’s subtle nuances on the tongue (apparently tossing your head back and showing your tits is not as respectable as I thought.)

A special contest is held for the most interesting box design for the premium Jose Cuervo,
here is a collection of the last 20 years worth.

Some pre-Day of the Dead stuff is starting to show up around towns that we pass through.
(We were about 1 month away at this point.)

More Mexico mayhem coming soon..

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