10 Things You Didn't Know About Tequila
Cheers to National Tequila Day!
By Laura Cohen
1. Americans consume over 50 million liters of tequila yearly. Good news: You're not alone! It's most often made at a 38 to 40 percent alcohol content, meaning 76 to 80 proof.
2. Tequila is made by steaming the hearts of the blue agave plant. The hearts are then minced to a pulp, combined with water, and fermented. The produced alcoholic liquid is then distilled and bottled.
3. Tequila has a cousin named mezcal, made from maguey, a different form the agave plant. And that rumored tequila worm is actually a mezcal worm, so it don't worry about finding one in your next shot.
4. The blue agave plant has components that can help stimulate the immune system and fight obesity. In fact, tequila has a component that can help lower bad cholesterol, and studies have shown that if consumed in moderation, tequila can cut the risk of dementia by 37 percent.
5. Tequila is named after the town of Tequila in Jalisco, Mexico. The actual word has various believed meanings — some say it comes from the Nahuatl words "tequitl" and "tlan," which can be translated as "place of work" or "place of duty. Others believe it comes from the names of native tribes once known as the Ticuilas and the Tiquilos.
6. Prohibition may be partly to thank for tequila's wide popularity. In the 1920s, liquor from Mexico was easier to smuggle into the country. And when overseas liquor shipments decreased In World War II, tequila's popularity grew again.
7. In the 1950s, some Californians believed tequila contains psychedelic properties, which made the product even more popular. Turns out they were just confusing mezcal with mescaline (the psychoactive alkaloid of the peyote plant).
8. Tequila prices are likely on the rise. It can take eight to ten years for the blue agave plant to fully grow, so harvests fluctuate regularly. When agave is scarce, tequila is expensive, but when it's plentiful, tequila is cheap (yay).
9. The Guinness World Record for the most expensive bottle of tequila ever sold was the Platinum & White Gold Tequila bottle for the price of $225,000. It was bought by a private collector in 2006.
10. Scientists have recently discovered how to make diamonds out of 80-proof tequila. They evaporate the tequila, heat the vapor, and then place it on a silicon or stainless steel tray which creates a diamond film. Sadly, the diamonds are too small for jewelry right now, but they can be used for a variety of industrial and electronic purposes.
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