Agave: The Spirit of Mexican Celebration



Every Cinco de Mayo we get ready to celebrate what, most of the time, is mistaken for Mexican Independence Day. It is actually an excuse to enjoy the culture and culinary riches of Mexico and, of course, to drink Margaritas. Cinco de Mayo is the commemoration of the Mexican victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. A proper celebration requires understanding what exactly happened on that historic day but also requires to know how to enjoy and prepare a proper margarita.

Like martinis, a margarita can have a lot of variations with added flavors or muddling fruits.

My preference is to highlight the agave spirits from different regions, so we make our twist using Mezcal from Oaxaca or Durango, which is smoky version of the margarita.

Substituting tequila for Mezcal in many cocktails has become trendy in the last few years for aficionados. As with Tequila, Mezcal is distilled from the agave plant but is made from a different agave plant variety. It is cooked on improvised ovens with heated volcanic rocks, which gives the smoky taste to the spirit.

What a lot people don’t know is for a spirit to be called tequila, it must be distilled from blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, 40 miles northwest of Guadalajara and in the highlands (Los Altos) of the central western Mexican state of Jalisco and limited municipalities in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit and Tamaulipas.

Besides tequila and Mezcal, other spirits distilled from agave like raicilla, sotol and bacanora can be great options this Cinco de Mayo to celebrate and discover this noble and fascinating plant.