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Tequila History

Contrary to popular belief, tequila is not made from cactus

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Cooking with Tequila

© 2008 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

Tequila History

Contrary to popular belief, Tequila is not made from cactus but from the blue agave, or more specifically, Agave Rigidae tequilana weber, var. azil, a member of the lily family.

Tequila is named for the district in Jalisco, Mexico where it originated. The term tequila was first printed in English circa 1849, but was not recognized by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (which regulates liquor traffic) until 1975. Records indicate Don Cenobio Sauza shipped "mezcal wine" to the U.S. as far back as 1873.

In 1916, American troops discovered tequila during the war with Pancho Villa, and it also enjoyed a brief stint of popularity during the gin shortage of 1944. Yet tequila didn't become popular in the States until the 1960s, when California students made the Margarita a popular cocktail.

Tequila is now the 10th largest-selling spirit in the U. S.

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Cooking with Tequila Photo © 2008 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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