Sunday, January 24, 2010
The liquor distilled from the agave plant has many names in Mexico. Each state has its special name that cannot be used anywhere else. Tequila comes only from Jalisco, Mescal comes from another state (which one I can't remember) and all the others have their own names for the drink. In Sinaloa it's known as blue agave and we learned a lot about how it's made the other day when we visited the Osuna Ranch where they've been creating it since the 1850s.
These plants are quite beautiful with their striated greenish-blue leaves. The core of the plant is what's used for the mash and they call them "pineapples" for obvious reasons.
The pineapples are cut into fours and then crushed and cooked in ovens to extract the juice. These are the ovens that have been used from the very beginning.
Other aspects of the operation have been upgraded several times. From donkey power to electric crushing machine.
From wooden barrels and copper stills to stainless steel tanks (although some is still aged in white oak).
It's quite a sophisticated production but it's set in a lovely area with tour guides to take you around and explain the process.
The day we were there was busy as tour buses drove up from the cruise ship dock. They offer free samples of the blue agave liquor and of course they sell their product, which has won gold medals in San Francisco. My sister bought a bottle to take back to Victoria with her. No doubt it will remind her of the blue agave.