Raise your glass, let's make a toast. Here's to the margarita, frozen or on the rocks, the savior of happy hours and hot days from coast to coast. Here's to the cheap shot and the smooth, smoky sipper; here's to salt and lime; to the sunrise, the La Paloma, and the amped-up sangria. Here's to National Tequila Day. May we do the spirit proud.
Grown and distilled in and around the Mexican city that bears its name, tequila's roots stretch back to the 16th century (and possibly all the way back to the Aztecs.) However you decide to celebrate this legendary liquor, prep your palate with some of our favorite spirits trivia; we've got 8 tequila tidbits every reveler should know.
1.) There's no worm, ever. (Psst: That's mezcal).
2.) There are five principal tequila categories:
Blanco / Plata: A white spirit, un-aged. Typically bottled shortly after distillation. Joven / Oro: Blanco tequila with added color. Think Cuervo Gold. (All tequila starts out completely colorless.)
Resposado: Aged in oak at least two months, but less than a year.
Anejo: Aged in oak at least one year, but less than three.
Extra Anejo: Aged in oak at least three years.
3.) You have the Greater Long-nosed bat to thank for your margarita: It's the pollinator of the blue agave plant, from which the spirit is distilled. Note: There's no cactus involved in making tequila, and there never has been.
4.) Mexican law deems that all tequila must contain at least 51% agave. Anything less than 100% is designated as mixto.
5.) It takes 8 to 10 years for an agave plant to mature.
6.) Once ready for harvest, a Jimador (agave harvester) removes the plant's "pina," a massive heart section that can weigh up to 140 lbs.
7.) Tequila doesn't necessarily hit any harder than the other major spirits. It is typically distilled to 80 proof (40% ABV). If you have a brutal morning-after, it's not because you drank tequila. It's because you drank a lot of tequila.
8.) The 1958 song Tequila, which you are now invited to get stuck in your head, was the first -- and only -- #1 hit for a band called The Champs. Bonus trivia: 27 years after release, the song became inextricably tied to Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), thanks to a scene where Pee-Wee dances his way out of a feud with a biker gang called Satan's Helpers.