In Mexico’s western state of Jalisco, there is a town named Tequila that is famous for its production of the strong liquor. Located near the base of the Tequila Volcano, stunning fields of blue agave that are the liquor’s main ingredient are found on the outskirts of town. If you want to see how tequila is made up close, several distilleries and haciendas offer tours that highlight the Tequila production process. Here we will highlight some of the best parts of this special town.
History of Tequila
The blue agave plant contains sugar and was used by native peoples to make a fermented drink prior to the 1500’s. When the Spanish arrived, they began distilling this fermented beverage and producing the tequila we all know well today. Founded in 1530 by Franciscan monks, the village of Santiago de Tequila was made up of local people that previously inhabited the lands near Tequila Volcano, also known as Chiquihuitillo Mountain. In 1541, these indigenous people revolted against Spanish rule and made their stand on Tequila mountain. Friar Juan Calero tried to pacify the situation, but sadly was killed by arrows and rocks and his body was stripped of its robes and hung on the local stone idol. Due to the popularity of Tequila and the interesting history of its origins, Tequila was named a World Heritage Site. It was also named a “Pueblo Magico” or magical town in 2003 by the Mexican government.
Small Town Feel
The town currently has a population of around 27,000 inhabitants and the main church is known as Church of Santiago Apostol which was built in the 18th century. Another notable structure is the Quinta Sauza which was built in the 1830’s and has a large exterior garden with detailed stone fountains. The interior courtyard has an elaborately decorated fountain located in the center and you can access the chapel through a back entrance of the courtyard.
Museums and Exhibits
La Perseverancia Distillery was built in 1873 and has guided tours where you can view a huge work painted by Gabriel Flores in 1969 that depicts the production and enjoyment of tequila. This distillery also has a museum containing paintings, photographs, sculptures and the machinery of the distillery as well as a room dedicated to regional crafts. Don’t miss The Museo Nacional del Tequila and the Museo Los Abuelos that contain exhibits on the history of Tequila. The Tequila Express is a train for tourists that was established in 1997. On Saturdays and Sundays, you can hop aboard and sip your margarita in style as you travel through tequila country enjoying live mariachi music
Next time you are in Mexico, plan a day or two to visit Tequila and enjoy the history and allure of this lovely small town. Who is ready for a margarita on the rocks?