The Ruta del Tequila in Jalisco, MX is an established UNESCO Cultural Site. With gorgeous blue agave as far as the eye can see, the tequila trail is a must-see for aficionados of the spirit. A hot air ballon trip covers the agave trails, the areas of el Arenal, Amatitán, Tequila, Magdalena y Teuchitlán. To really experience the Paisaje Agavero, or agave trail though, I recommend renting a car and grabbing a map to really experience the distilleries up close.
Just as important as the larger world-class distilleries in Jalisco are to the story of tequila, are the smaller, family-owned ones. I visited one such distillery, Don Valente, which is run completely by nine family members that each hold a different position in the company from designer to lawyer to sales.
The 15-year-old distillery does everything in-house, from cooking agave to hand-printing labels on aluminum, a process called repujado. When piñas, or hearts of the agave plant, are taken to Don Valente, they are placed face down in the brick oven in the shape of a pyramid to cook for 48 hours. In this formation, steam is more evenly distributed throughout the piñas. The family kindly passed around cooked piña to taste, part of which was tough like sugarcane and part of which was soft and insanely sweet like a sugar-saturated melon.
Click through the photo gallery to discover the Don Valente tequila process from piña roasting to pressing to distillation.
Gallery: Tequila Don Valente Distillery
My visit to Jalisco was sponsored by Tequila Cazadores, but the opinions expressed in the article are 100% my own.