Long Beach, California
November 11, 2005
Tequila is one of Mexico's most popular exports. Contrary to popular belief, there is no worm in real tequila, although the spicy critter does occasionally appear in tequila's cousin, mezcal. While in Guadalajara, you have the excellent opportunity to get out into the countryside and see where this unique beverage comes from (not from cactus, by the way) and how it is made by taking a trip to the town of Tequila, about 45 minutes west of Guadalajara, and participating in a tequila factory tour.
Jose Cuervo and Sauza sit side by side in the center of town. I chose the Cuervo factory because it is the oldest and largest producer and exporter of tequila in the country. If you take an organized trip from Guadalajara, like the one that departs daily from the Camino Real Hotel, you get to stop at the Agave fields to get a close-up look at how the blue agave plants are grown and harvested. Then it's on to the factory to see how these spiny succulents are processed and their sugars distilled into tequila. The factory offers four levels of tours, from a basic factory tour that you can just show up for on your own to a VIP private tour that has to be arranged in advance. They all come with a frozen margarita, but beyond the basic tour, the others also offer different levels of tequila tasting. The Cuervo property, called Mundo Cuervo, also includes a restaurant, several gift shops, a gallery, and a museum. You can get more details about their tours at www.mundocuervo.com.
From journal Guadalajara, Heart and Soul of Mexico