Be it in the form of a shot chased with lime or a frozen margarita, pretty much everyone and their mom has tasted tequila at some point in their lives. (And probably had a hangover from it too.) Yet despite the fact that it’s one of the most popular liquors around, tequila comes with many myths, legends, and misinformation.
Here are seven crazy facts you might not have known about tequila:
1. Tequila is mezcal, but mezcal is not tequila: Mezcal is a liquor made from the maguey plant, a form of agave. Mezcal can be made using a variety of agave plants, but tequila must be made using only blue agave.
2. Tequila must be produced in Mexico: Just like bubbly must come from the Champagne wine region of France in order to officially be called champagne, tequila must be produced in specific areas of Mexico. Any type of “tequila” made outside these regions is merely called an agave spirit.
3. You can thank Bing Crosby for your tequila: Back in the early ‘50s, Bing Crosby became so infatuated with the Herradura brand of tequila that he teamed up fellow actor Phil Harris to import the brand into the United States. Their efforts made Herradura the first-ever 100% blue agave liquor available in the US.
4. You can make synthetic diamonds with tequila: Physicists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico figured out a way to make faux diamonds using tequila. The crystals are too small to be made into jewelry, but they can be used in other industrial ways such as an alternative to silicon in computer chips.
5. Tequila has health benefits: Studies have shown that a component in tequila helps break down dietary fat, which can lower the levels of bad cholesterol. A shot taken after dinner can aid your body’s digestion.
6. Tequila prices are probably going up: Unfortunately, rumor has it that the prices of agave are expected to rise more than 100% in the next year. We can expect distilleries to raise their prices of tequila in order to cover the growing cost of raw ingredients.
7. People will pay a lot for good tequila: According to The Guinness Book of World Records, the most expensive bottle of tequila ever sold went to a private collector for $225,000. The bottle was made out of white gold and platinum, and contained six year-aged tequila worth $2,500.
Want to learn more about tequila? We recommend picking up this guide to Types, Flights, Cocktails, and Bites by Joanne Weir.