Tequila is a distilled spirit drink from Mexico. It is made of blue agave, a species within the agave agave plant family.
The history of Tequila is intimately linked with Mexico. About 300 years ago, it is believed that different native cultures began to make alcoholic beverages of juice from the agave plant. The sweet starchy juice spontaneously fermented in the hot climate resulting in an alcoholic drink, today called Pulque.
The idea and technique of distilling pulque came with the Spanish conquistadors in the early 16th century. The first agave plantations for distillation were founded around 1600 by Don Pedro Sánchez de Tagle. This simple precursor to Tequila was named Vino de Mezcal, which means "Alcohol from Boiled Agave" in Spanish and “Náhuatl” in the Aztec language.
The name Tequila started to be used only at the end of the 19th century when the spirit began to be exported. To be called Tequila, the agave spirit must be produced in or around the state of Jalisco in western Mexico where the city of Tequila is located.
Of all spirits, Tequila is the one whose raw material takes the longest time to reach the right maturity. It takes between seven and ten years before the agave is ready for harvest. It is the root of the agave that is used for tequila production. After shredding away the tall, pointy leaves, the agave resembles a large pineapple, which is why it is called piña. The agave is always manually harvested by hand using a long tip with a cylindrical metal blade at the far end. This tool is called coa and the men working on the fields are called jimadores after the Spanish word jima meaning harvest.