A Toast to Tequila: 7 Little-Known Facts About Tequila

an image of a working woman going through an agave field

Can you feel the buzz in the air? Tequila isn't just about having a good time (though we're all for that!). The drink's history honors the distilled liquor that's been a part of Mexican culture and traditions for ages. So, let's pour ourselves a glass of this amazing spirit and dive into some fascinating facts about tequila.

1.It's All About the Blue Agave

Tequila owes its life to a hardy plant native to Mexico's arid landscapes - the blue agave. To earn the 'tequila' label, the spirit must be at least 51% derived from this plant. But if you're really into tequila, you'll want to look out for '100% agave', which means it's made totally from blue agave. The heart of this plant, or 'piña', takes about 8 to 12 years to be ready for harvest and to start its journey into becoming tequila.

an agave field

Foto de Dylan Freedom en Unsplash

2.Tequila's Got a Birth Certificate

So, first off, did you know that genuine tequila has a sort of ‘birth certificate’? Just as true Champagne can only come from the Champagne region of France, real-deal tequila has to hail from certain spots in Mexico. These include five states, namely Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. And yes, there's actually a place called Tequila in Jalisco, and that's where our beloved spirit was born! It's all about the unique volcanic soil there, which gives tequila that distinctive kick.

a man going through an agave field in his horse

Foto de David García Sandoval en Unsplash

3.Meet the Jimadores and Their "Coa"

Who's responsible for the harvest? Meet the 'Jimador', a master agave farmer. He uses a special tool called a 'coa' to harvest the blue agave. Timing is everything for the Jimador, as the ripeness of the agave determines the ultimate flavor of the tequila. Once harvested, the agave gets roasted, fermented, and distilled to become the spirit we all love.

a man standing next to a fire

Foto de Mary West en Unsplash

4.There are Tons of Varieties

Sure, we've all done a tequila shot or two with the requisite salt and lime. But did you know tequila has as many varieties as fine wine? We've got Blanco, Joven, Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo tequilas, each with its own distinct character. From crisp and flowery to rich, smokey, and caramel-like, there's a tequila out there for every palate.

a shelf filled with tequila

Foto de Daniel Álvasd en Unsplash

5.Tequila Can Be a Healthier Choice

Contrary to its party-drink image, tequila can actually be a healthier choice (when enjoyed responsibly, of course). It's low in calories compared to many other alcoholic beverages, and the sugars (called agavins) in the blue agave plant won't spike your blood sugar. They may even support a healthy gut! But remember, moderation is the key.

an image of two tequila shots

Foto de Alena Plotnikova en Unsplash

6.Real Tequila Doesn't Have a Worm

Contrary to popular belief, a real bottle of tequila doesn't contain a worm. This myth probably originates from mezcal, a different Mexican spirit, where you may find a "worm" or, more accurately, a larva.

a photo of a tequila shot

Foto de Los Muertos Crew: https://www.pexels.com/es-es/foto/beber-limon-sombras-bol-7601303/

7.Tequila Has Its Own National Body

Did you know that tequila is so important to Mexico that it has its own regulatory body? The Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT) or Tequila Regulatory Council was established to ensure the quality and authenticity of tequila, protecting its production and its Denomination of Origin.

a photo of an agave field and barrels in the background

Foto de Danica Hennig en Unsplash

Whether you're sipping a refined Añejo or downing a classic Margarita, remember the tradition, craftsmanship, and time that goes into each bottle. Cheers, or as they say in Mexico, Salud!

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Women in Texas at the National Women's March, rallying against deadly abortion restrictions.
Lucy Flores

The landscape of abortion rights in the United States has become more restrictive than ever in recent history, particularly in Arizona and Florida, where recent developments represent a major setback for women’s reproductive rights. On April 9, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled in a 4-to-2 decision to uphold an 1864 law banning abortion from the moment of conception. The only exception is saving the mother’s life, but there are no exceptions for rape or incest under this law.

Just a few days earlier, on April 1, the Florida Supreme Court also ruled in favor of upholding a 6-week abortion ban, which will take effect on May 1. This further reduced the legal threshold for abortions in Florida, which used to be 24 weeks of pregnancy before Republicans passed a law in 2022 banning abortions after 15 weeks. Both of these rulings have sparked intense debate and outrage about their impact on women’s rights.

Overview of the Near-Total Abortion Ban in Arizona

The Arizona Supreme Court voted to uphold an 1864 law, a law passed even before the state officially was a part of the United States of America, that makes all types of abortion illegal, including medication abortion, from the moment of conception. Though there are exceptions in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, the ban makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest and imposes severe penalties, including imprisonment, on medical professionals performing abortions.

Medical professionals have spoken out about how dire the situation will become for women with this near-total abortion ban. Dr. Jill Gibson, chief medical director of Planned Parenthood in Arizona, told CNN that this ruling will have “absolutely unbelievable consequences for the patients in our community.” She continued by saying, “Providers need to be able to take care of their patients without fear of legal repercussions and criminalization.”

Representatives from Arizona and other states across the country have also spoken up against this near-total abortion ban.

Video by Shontel Brown Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramVideo by Shontel Brown Member of the United States House of Representatives on Instagram

Image by Rub\u00e9n Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramImage by Rubén Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramImage by Rubén Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on Instagram

Until this Arizona Supreme Court decision, abortion had been legal in the state up to 15 weeks of pregnancy. The right to abortion via Roe v. Wade prevented the enforcement of the near-total abortion ban, but since a majority vote in the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe, those opposed to abortion rights had been fighting to enforce the 160-year-old 1864 law.

This new abortion ban in Arizona is not effective immediately as the court has paused its ruling for 14 days until additional arguments are heard in a lower court about how constitutional the law is. However, the law will likely come into effect in May, a few weeks from now. Planned Parenthood Arizona, the largest abortion provider in the state, will continue serving the community until the ban is enforced.

An Overview of Florida's Six-Week Abortion Ban

The landscape of abortion in Florida has also undergone a significant change with the enforcement of a 6-week abortion ban, replacing the previous 15-week limit. This ban, similar to Arizona's, severely restricts access to abortion care and poses a significant challenge to reproductive rights in the state. Providers are bracing for a public health crisis due to the increased demand for abortion and limited options for patients.

Practically speaking, a 6-week abortion ban is a near-total abortion ban because pregnant people often don’t even realize they could be pregnant by this early stage. Combined with Florida’s strict abortion requirements, which include mandatory in-person doctor visits with a 24-hour waiting period, it’s nearly impossible for those who may want an abortion to be able to access it before 6 weeks. Not to mention that fulfilling the requirements is particularly challenging for low-income individuals.

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Moreover, this Florida law also restricts telemedicine for abortion and requires that medication be provided in person, effectively eliminating mail-order options for abortion pills. While exceptions for rape and incest exist in Florida, the requirements are also strict, asking victims to provide police records or medical records. For victims who don’t always report sexual violence for many different reasons, these exceptions don’t make a difference.

The consequences of Florida’s ban extend to neighboring states with more restrictive abortion laws. For instance, residents of Alabama, facing a total ban on abortion, and Georgia, with its own 6-week abortion ban, have relied on Florida for abortion services. That will no longer be an option, further limiting care alternatives.

The Road Ahead

These recent abortion bans in Arizona and Florida are a major setback for women's rights, particularly impacting Latina women who already face barriers to accessing quality healthcare. These bans not only restrict women’s reproductive freedom but also endanger their lives.

Efforts to challenge these bans through legal means and ballot measures are ongoing, but the road ahead is uncertain. While there’s hope for overturning these abortion bans, the challenges of conservative laws and legal battles are formidable. The November ballot in both states will be crucial in determining the future of abortion rights and access for all.