The Tequila, and the Mescal as well, are made from the agave plant. From agave to Tequila Agave is a succulent plant, of which there are about 400 different species in Mexico; Tequila is made only from the blue agave (blue agave, tequila agave, agave tequilana or agave Weberi - from the German botanist Weber who realized during his six years spent in Mexico that the blue agave was the most suitable for the production of Tequila), native to Jalisco region around the Tequila volcano. When the agave plant matures, with leaves exceeding 3 - 4 meters, the Jimador, the agave harvester, cuts out the plant to reach the piña, the heart of the plant. A piña can weigh between 40 and 130 kilos. Tequila distillation dates back to the Aztec people, it was used by priests and nobles, and then improved in the distillation and maceration process by the Spanish Conquistadores. But the "modern age" of the Tequila starts in 1795 with the foundation of Jose Cuervo, the first Mexican distillery. The Tequila production It's all in the processing of the piña, a process that can be handcrafted or industrial. Needless to say, the industrial methods are used by large distilleries. But I'll tell you about the traditional method, which is definitely more interesting! As we said before, the Jimador selects the piña, which are then cooked in ovens of clay or stone with steam boilers; This process lasts for 50 - 72 hours. The temperature of the oven, the horno, is between 65 and 90°C, this allows the starch contained in the piña to turn into sugar, while must be avoided the production of caramel, which would give bitter notes to the Tequila. The piñas rest and cool for about 36 hours, then they are ready for crushing in stone mills, the "tahona". The juice of the crushed piñas, the Agua Miel, is put into vats with the addition of water. The fermentation process starts spontaneously because of the yeast in the juice, otherwise yeasts will be added by blending previous fermentations. The fermentation process lasts 7-12 days, leaving a liquid which has 5-7 alcoholic degrees and that is subjected to a double distillation. The first distillation lasts between 4 and 8 hours, giving a crude distillate, "the ordinary". "The ordinary" is then redistilled and from this second distillation only "el corazon", the heart, the headline 55° alcohol, is held, while the "head" and "tail", the first and the last part of the distillation are removed (as in all distillates!), because they contain impair health alcohol.