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Author Debunks Common Mexican Tequila Myths

Justin Bolois - First We Feast
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November 28, 2015

How the Gringos Stole Tequila: The Modern Age of Mexico's Most Traditional Spirit
by Chantal Martineau
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What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of tequila? If you said “late nights” or “bad decisions,” you’re not alone.

Thanks to its codified bar rituals (lick of salt, shot of tequila, squirt of lime) and affiliation with hedonistic pop-culture icons like Hunter S. Thompson (“We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid… and also a quart of tequila”), the distilled agave spirit has struggled to shake its sinister reputation.

But not everyone is willing to write it off as a throw-away spirit reserved for pancho-sporting bros - especially Chantal Martineau, the author of How The Gringos Stole Tequila, who spent five years traveling to the heart of Mexico’s tequila territory, Jalisco, and outlying areas.

“Wines can taste of their place, which the French call terroir. The first time I had a proper tequila tasting, it became evident that tequila could communicate that as well,” says the author. “The perception of tequila is beginning to change drastically.”

Martineau explains that seven out of ten liters of tequila are consumed abroad, while 80 percent of those exports are consumed by the U.S. - meaning not only do Americans drink much more tequila than Mexicans do, but we’ve also had a huge impact on how it’s perceived. “We reinvented how it should be consumed and developed our own traditions,” says Martineau.

Read the rest at First We Feast

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