When you think of tequila, you probably think of the ol’ “lick it, slam it, suck it.” But that mentality is giving way to some slow sipping across the border. Joe Ray took us on a tour of Mexico’s boutique distilleries.
“We try to make people fall in love,” said Jaime Orendain, who started Arette in the town of Tequila with his brother Eduardo. Orendain’s family is one of the largest names in tequila. “We don’t want to eat up the whole market. We just want a special spot because if you try to fight with the monsters, it’s impossible.”
Instead, the brothers called on experience — his family’s been at it for five generations — and went after the customer who wants tequila made from 100 percent agave.
The plan is working. The tequila industry as a whole has seen growth in the last few decades, and the National Chamber of the Tequila Industry’s numbers point to a near tripling of both total production and total exports since the mid-’90s. The most impressive growth, particularly in the past decade, is in the 100 percent de agave category, which is where small brands excel.
Derweze, also known as the door to hell, is a 70 meter wide hole in the middle of the Karakum desert in Turkmenistan. The hole was formed in 1971 when a team of soviet geologists had their drilling rig collapse when they hit a cavern filled with natural gas. In an attempt to avoid poisonous discharge, they decided to burn it off, thinking that the gas would be depleted in only a few days. Derweze is still burning today