Tequila
Posted by     06/24/2014 09:26:00    0 Comments

Make it the original or the easy, or the very easy way.

Background on blue agave as it is used to produce tequila:

 

 Outside Mexico, the only place where tequila is produced is in South Africa and it is sold as "Blue Agave" as trademark limitations prevents South Africans from calling it Tequila.

 

 Contrary to popular belief, Tequila is not made from cactus, but from another succulent called the Blue Agave.

 

 The Blue Agave ("Garingboom" in Afrikaans) is not endemic to South Africa and arrived in South Africa as ballast to wrecked Spanish gallions. Farmers saw the potential of this hardy plant related to the Lilly or Amarylis and planted it out as emergency feed, for stabilisation of eroded banks and also for the extraction of the leaf fibres to make manila ropes.

 

 The Blue Agave is grown extensively in South Africa, but more specifically in the dryer regions of our country. In the Southern Free State, Eastern Cape and the Karoo, farmers have planted out thousands of hectare of Blue Agave. All plants are harvested in wild plantations, where they are organically grown. We find these Agave's to be higher in sugar than cultivated plantations.

 

 The Blue Agave plant reaches maturity and is harvested when the plant is about 12 years old. This is when the sugars are at their peak. The leaves are cut off and the core is removed.

 

It then resembles a large pineapple "the pina" weighing up to 35kg each. The pina is pressed, filtered and gently cooked or roasted for several days to break down the complex carbohydrates (primarly Inulin) into OligoFructose sugars.

 The milky Agave juice is then filtered and fermentated. After fermentation, it is distilled, diluted to between 35 and 50% alcohol by volume (abv) and then either bottled unaged or aged in wooden barrels to produce a gold coloured tequila. Sometimes other variants of agave (not blue agave) is used to ferment and distil as well.

 

 If the content of the spirits contain more than 51% blue agave distillate, the product is called tequila. If it contains less than 51% blue agave sprits, and is made from other agave plants it is then called mezcal.

 

 Obviously it is difficult to produce tequila by following the above process. Not all of us have access to the blue agave plants and even less have the know-how when to harvest the pinas and the infrastructure to keep it boiling for a few days.

 

 However, there is a solution to make your own authentic tequilia the easy way!

 

 Blue agave farmers take the milky Agave juice, filter it and let the water evaporate by keeping the juice at temperatures below 60° C thereby transforming the liquid into the syrup. These are then further processed to produce "blue agave sugar".

 

 It is this Blue Agave Sugar that you can use to ferment and distil your very own Tequila - the easy way.

Get your blue Agave sugar from: http://www.agavenectar.co.za

Ingredients:

Fermentation:

  • Add the Blue agave sugar into a bucket (or to save money add 4 kg of blue agave sugar and 2kg of normal white table sugar)
  • Add 10 litres of boiling water and dissolve the sugar
  • Top up to 20 litres with cold water and let cool to about 30 degree C
  • Add 1 packet of "Black Label turbo yeast and nutrient mix" and follow the instructions on the web-page for the yeast.
  • Let ferment until SG is close to, or below, 1.000 (this will happen fast - between 3 and 5 days)

Distillation:

  • Do a stripping run in a pot still (quick distillation without removing head and tails) until the distillate reaches about 20% alcohol.
  • Do a second (rectification) run until the overall %abv of the distillate reaches 55%-50%.
  • Dilute with distiled water to about 43%abv.
  • Bottle directly to enjoy as tequila, or infuse a packet of French oak chips for a few weeks in it to produce "Tequila Gold".

Enhancement Method:

Tequila is ready straight from your still or you could age it with a small quantity of French oak chip (i.e. 10 gram) for a few weeks to create your own Tequila Gold.

The easy way!

Get your normal tequila extract

Add the extract to 750ml vodka

 

... and you're ...done!

Serving suggestion:

A lick of salt, down the tequila and a good bite into the lime!

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