July 23rd is National Tequila day! This special spirit has influenced people in all sorts of ways, good and bad. Jimmy Buffet has written songs about it, college kids swear against it, and you probably crave a juicy tequila cocktail during beach vacations. But for right now, let’s talk about the history of tequila, and what makes it so unique.

True tequila is made by cooking then distilling the heart or “piña” of the blue agave plant. There is evidence that an ancient version of tequila dates as far back as the Aztecs, who worshipped the gods Mayahuel and Patecatl, that represented their milky version of the booze.

When the Spanish invaded the ancient empire around 1400-1500s, they modified Aztec techniques to create the first mezcal. Technically, all tequilas are mezcals, but not all mezcals are tequilas.

Modern-day tequila was first distilled commercially by the Cuervo family around the 1700s, and soon after by the Sauza family. It is believed that the Sauza family was the first to proclaim that the Blue Agave (agave azul) was the best for distilling tequila, and it has become the standard that true tequila is made with only 100% blue agave.

During the prohibition, some Americans (who could afford to) would cross the borders to get their groove on; usually to Tijuana. It was here that the drink, “Tequila Daisy”, more commonly known as the margarita, was invented.

So there you have it! A brief history of everyone’s favorite pool-side, sunny spirit. So ¡Salud! friends!