Cheer Du Jour

A little cheer to forget your troubles, and better yet, to toast with a glass of bubbles!

July 24 – National Tequila Day

Tequila Sunrise

Feliz Dia de Tequila! Now, this is one of those holidays that really, really needs to be on a Friday (for full weekend recovery). Listed below are some Tequila facts from the Jose Cuervo website to get you started. According to, during the 1918 worldwide flu epidemic, Mexican doctors prescribed doses of tequila as treatment. So, drink a glass to your health!

Later today, from 6-7 p.m. (PST), BevMo! and Casamigos Tequila will be hosting a Twitter party, and will answer your questions about the drink of legends. Details via MarketWired: To participate, Twitter users must follow @BevMo and @Casamigos and join the conversation by searching and using the hashtag. BevMo! and Casamigos will be tweeting all things tequila, from the best way to enjoy it, to the ultimate tequila cocktails. In addition to the Twitter party, fans will have the opportunity to submit their tequila-related questions answered by Casamigos founders Clooney and Rande.

Of course, the holiday isn’t all about drinking (well, mostly) – tequila is a great addition to many dishes (click here to get some great Tequila Day food recipes from

And, we can’t possibly end the day without singing and dancing to “Tequila” – preferably Pee-wee Herman style (white platform shoes optional):

My Tale of Tequila-Enhanced Table-Dancing (sans platform shoes): As you’ll note in the facts and links below, tequila is not stronger than other spirits. It is not the demon drink that inspired the blurred t-shirts that warn: “1 tequila, 2 tequilas, 3 tequilas, FLOOR”. Respectfully, I have three words to dispute these claims – Carlos n’ Charlie’s. On occasion, I will indulge in one of those salty-rimmed frozen concoctions that masquerade as margaritas. These are usually made from mixes and are very light on alcohol. I had never had pure tequila until that alice-down-the-rabbit-hole experience that was my visit to the Cozumel bar. Carlos n’ Charlie’s has quite a reputation, and I decided to see what it was all about while on a cruise a few years ago. My intent was to sip on a Diet Coke while everyone else got plastered. It was a warm afternoon, and there was a special (warning #1 – beware of the specials!) on an ice-cold frozen strawberry daiquiri. Innocent enough, and the price was barely higher than a soda. The speakers blasted a great mix of music, and the eclectic decor instantly made you feel relaxed and ready to party. A fair few spring breakers were in attendance, as well as a number of people old enough to know better (putting myself safely in that category). I found a table next to a group of people I had met earlier on the ship, all at least 10 years my senior. We settled ourselves in for a good show, being drunk vicariously through those wild young people. Then, a whistle blew, announcing a waitress ready to ply you with a shot of tequila (warning #2 – when you hear the whistle, run the other way). A short while later, the dj got everyone up to form a conga line (final warning – keep your mouth closed at all times during a conga line). As we danced our way through the acres of bar tables and chairs, helpful waitstaff provided a refreshing pour (which is significantly larger than a shot) of tequila. I couldn’t really tell you much more, as the rest of the stay became a blur. I do remember returning to my cabin, wondering how a rose found its way into my purse. The next morning (after a hefty dose of aspirin), I looked at digital photos from the prior evening. Those well-mannered ship mates of mine (the very same ladies who wore Estee Lauder perfume with their pearls, and their husbands who sported the classic knee-sock pairing with their pressed shorts) were captured in infamy. They were dancing on the tables, posing with roses between their teeth, getting up close and personal with the twenty-somethings. Thank goodness, I seemed to be the photographer and remained (upright) on the floor, escaping with nothing worse than a terrible hangover…and a healthy respect for the agave nectar.

Tequila Facts from

Fact #1  Was there really a person named Jose Cuervo?  Yes. Jose Antonio de Cuervo was the first Tequila producer, obtaining the land from the King of Spain in 1758, before Mexico became an independent republic. In 1795, Jose María Guadalupe de Cuervo made the very first Vino Mezcal de Tequila de Jose Cuervo when he received the first official permit from the King of Spain to produce Tequila commercially

Fact #2  Who was the first producer of Tequila in the world?  Jose Cuervo, of course, since 1795.

Fact #3  Where is Jose Cuervo Tequila really made?  All Jose Cuervo Tequila is made in the central Mexican town of Tequila in the state of Jalisco. According to the DOT (Declaration for the Protection of the Denomination of Origin—this is the Mexican law that oversees the protection of Tequila), only alcoholic beverages made with Blue Agave or agave azul (Agave Tequilana Weber blue variety) grown in the states of Jalisco,Michoacan, Nayarit, Guanajuato and Tamaulipas can be labeled as Tequila. No agave grown outside this region, including other countries, can be used for any product labeled as “Tequila.”

Fact #4  What is Tequila made from?  Real Tequila is made from a plant called Blue Agave. Only the Agave Azul Tequilana Weber variety (Blue Agave) can be used for Tequila. Classified by German botanist F. Weber in 1905, the Blue Agave is commonly mistaken for a cactus, but it is really a relative of the lily (amaryllis) family. Blue Agave is sometimes known as maguey, mexic, pita and teometl.

Fact #5  How long does it take for an agave plant to reach maturity?  Blue agave can take anywhere from 6 to 12 years to mature. This is when the Agave reach their peak in sugars and will yield the most Tequila. The plant is used entirely once and then more agave must be planted to continue the production process.

Fact #6  Is Tequila mezcal?  No. They are often confused, but they’re really not the same at all. For example, Tequila can only be made from the Blue Agave, grown in specified regions of Jalisco, while mezcal can be made from many different varieties of agave such as Mano Larga, Espadin, etc..Tequila is always double-distilled, while mezcal is generally distilled once.

Fact #7  Why is there a worm in my Tequila bottle?  THERE ISN’T. What you have is not a bottle of Tequila. The worm is found only in certain bottles of mezcal. The worm is nothing but a marketing gimmick!

Fact #8  What is a piña?  The piña (Spanish word for pineapple) is the heart of the agave from which sugars are extracted and Tequila is made. The word piña is used because once harvested, the heart of the plant resembles a pineapple.

Fact #9  What is the secret to great Tequila?  Experience, handcraftsmanship and recipes that have been handed down generation through generation. Jose Cuervo has been making Tequila the same way for over 250 years. Carefully choosing the best agaves, meticulous fermentation and distillation, and final processing result in the world’s finest Tequila.

Fact #10  Why is Tequila stronger than other spirits?  It isn’t. Jose Cuervo produces at 38% to 40% alcohol by volume (ABV), just like most spirits. Tequila, however, has a unique flavor and is frequently consumed straight as a shot. This intense taste experience may be what leads people to mistakenly think that Tequila is “stronger.”

Fact #11  Which Jose Cuervo products are gluten-free?  Being straight distilled spirits, all Jose Cuervo Tequilas are gluten free. In addition, Jose Cuervo Authentic Cuervo Margaritas, Margarita Minis, and Golden Margaritas are also gluten-free.

Fact #12  What does “añejo” mean?  Translated from Spanish, “añejo” means “aged.” In Tequila terms, “añejo” is the designation for Tequila that has been aged in oak barrels for at least one year.

Fact #13  What does “reposado” mean?  Reposado means “rested.” Tequila must be “rested” in wood barrels, for a minimum of two months. This is a requirement of the Mexican government. The “resting” mellows and refines the Tequila, producing a combination of superb smoothness and great taste.

Fact #14  What are Normas?  Normas are the standards set by the Mexican government, specifying what Tequila is and how it must be made. Each bottle of real Tequila must have a NOM (Normas Oficiales Mexicanas) 4-digit number on the bottle. This number indicates the distillery where the Tequila is made. Jose Cuervo’s NOM numbers are 1104 and 1122.

Fact #15  Which Tequilas are real Mexican Tequilas?  Real Tequila can only be produced in five very specific regions in Mexico. Tequila received a Designation of Origin (appellation de controlee) in 1997. It’s the same as an appellation for Bordeaux, Bourbon or Cognac. The Mexican federal government has established strict requirements governing Tequila production.

via Jose Cuervo.

Toast birthday girl Amelia Earhart with a tequila cocktail – just be sure NOT to celebrate National Drive-Thru Day after so imbibing.

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