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If you're travelling to Mexico soon, you'll want to bring along a copy of my handy Pocket Guide to Tequila, which sums up all the facts lore and wisdom in this site - with an up-to-date lost of NOM numbers. This little guide is updated annually with news, data and information about the industry. You can carry it around in a shirt pocket to refer to any time you go in search of tequila or mezcal, and become an expert in a few minutes. The price is right, too - you can order the PDF files to print yourself, or order a printed copy.


Updated June 27, 2007

Glossary of Tequila Terms

Tequila, mezcal and pulque terms:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W X Y Z Links



100% agave

One of the two official variations of tequila, made exclusively from only sugars from the "Agave Tequilana Weber, Variedad Azul" (Agave Tequilana Weber, blue variety). Premium tequilas are made with "100% de Agave," and can only be bottled in Mexico, not bulk-shipped for bottling outside. See mixto.

A granel

Low-quality mezcal or tequila, usually only distilled once, sometimes fermented with the help of chemicals.


Unaged tequila, mixto, often called gold (oro). See joven abocado.


To harden: a period of rest the recently harvested pups (hijuelos) before replanting them. This helps them scar over cuts to rhizomes and leaves. Usually less than 10 days.


Long-necked tool (traditionally a gourd) for siphoning aguamiel from scooped out section of maguey, to make pulque.


Land preparation: to gather the dried undergrowth into small piles along the furrows to be burned after clearing.


Blue agaveA family of succulents distantly related to the lily family, but not related to any cactus. Also called a maguey. The plants grow in the southwestern United States, Mexico and Central America. Agave is poisonous when raw, but has a sweet, mild flavour when baked or made into a syrup. The juice of the blue agave, cultivated primarily in the state of Jalisco, is used to make tequila; other agave species are used to make mezcal, bacanora, sotol, and pulque. There are more than 300 agave species. An agave plant takes eight to 12 years to mature. The plant has a bulbous body called a pina. The thick, spiny blue-green leaves extend six-eight feet at all angles like spears. Mexican law (see normas) state a product must contains al least 51% blue agave sugars to be called tequila. Because of the shape of the agave leaves are similar to the outstretched fingers of a human hand, prehispanic Mexican Indians called the plant "maitl" or "metl" which means "hand."

Agave sazon

Ripened or mature agave - takes between eight and 12 years.

Agave Deserti

Small agave used in Baja California for the regional beverage.

Agave Potatorium

Used to make bacanora, the regional mezcal of Sonora.

Agave Tequilana Weber Azul.

The only agave allowed for use in tequila, and only when grown in specified regions according to the normas. Grown mostly in Jalisco, as well as limited areas in neighbouring states.


Agave farmer.


Spirit or liquor, usually made from cane sugars.


The sweet sap extracted from the piņa (heart) of the agave plant. It is fermented for several days and then distilled to make tequila and mezcal, or fermented alone to make pulque. Aguamiel is sold as a regional drink in the states of Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Hidalgo (where sellers generally add chile).

Alambique, alembic

A traditional copper pot still for the distillation of tequila.


Slow distillation.

Altos, Los

The Highlands: tequila growing area in the upper plateau east of Guadalajara, in Jalisco state. Not to be confused wth Altos de Jalisco (Jalisco Heights), the generic term for the uplands area of Jalisco.


Term for agave used primarily to make soap.




Aged tequila. Aged at least one year in medium-sized oak barrels, not larger than 600 litres. Aņejos may also be aged between three and seven years, but generally aficionados say it does not improve after five years. Aņejo mezcals follow the same guidelines for aging. One of the five officially recognized types (tipos).


Reducing the new leaf growth on the agave plant when it begins to ripen.


Appellation de Origin Controllee. See Denomination of Origin.


Cutting the vegetative shoot (hijuelos) from the mother plant.


The final harvest for a plantation, in which all remaining plants are removed regardless of condition, age or quality.


A pressure cooker. Large autoclaves are used by many producers because the steam speeds the cooking of piņas; the agave is cooked in a few of hours instead of days in a traditional hornos.

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The pulp after the piņas have been mashed or shredded. Also called bagasse and bagaso.


A type of mezcal prepared from wild maguey in the state of Sonora. Can be legally produced since 1992.


Pruning or cutting the points from the agave leaves (pencas) to make the head (cabeza) grow better. Literally means ploughing.

Barbeo de escopeta

Shotgun ploughing or 'brush cut.' Pruning to induce premature ripening and growth.


Barrel. Tequila is aged in white oak barrels. Normally a barrel has a 200 liter capacity (approx. 60 gallons). Often purchased from cognac or bourbon producers. Sometimes other woods are used.


Wooden tray or trough used to hold cooked agave heads when they are being smashed with wooden mallets (mazos), used before the tahona. Still used by some small homebrew distillers for products like raicilla or some local mezcals.


Beater in the traditional process of making tequila. A naked worker gets into the wooden tubs with the must (mosto). He uses his hands and feet to beat the fibers from the mashed piņas to separate them and aid fermentation.


A system for measuring the sugar content of grape juice by its density. Each degree Baume is equal to approximately 1.75% sugar in the juice. Baume is a more scientific scale than brix, since it is based on the specific gravity of a substance.


White tequila, an official type (tipo) for tequila bottled fresh from the still, or allowed to rest in stainless steel tanks for up to sixty days before bottling. It is never aged in wooden barrels. Also known as plata, plato, and silver tequila. Usually the most robust, strong-flavoured of the tequila types.

Blanco suave

An unofficial term to indicate blanco tequila with extra aging or additives to smoothen its sharp taste.


Warehouse or storage facility.


Traditional round, earthen (clay) jug with a narrow and short neck. Seven botijas are equivalent to one barrel for measuring.


The Balling (Brix) scale: each degree is equivalent to 1% of sugar in the juice. For example, grape juice which measures 15.5 degrees on the Balling or Brix scale contains about 15.5% sugar.


Mid-quality mezcal, often for retail sale. Often purchased in bulk by companies for bottling.

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Caballito, traditional shotglass for tequila"Little horse" or pony - the traditional tall drinking/shot glass for tequila, also called a tequillita. Has a flat bottom and wider mouth. Also the name for a cocktail using white tequila, grenadine syrup, orange juice, orange or lemon blossom water and crushed ice, consumed in the Federal District (Mexico City).


Head. The first part of the distillate to come through the still, usually discarded (sometimes used in a granel mezcals). Also called punta. Also another name for piņa, the core of the agave.

Caida de montera

A fall in the rise: a drop in the foam on the wort that signals fermentation is complete.

Camara Nacional de la Industria Tequila

CNIT: National Chamber of the Tequila Industry, formed in 1990 (it was created in 1959 as the Regional Chamber) to strengthen and develop the tequila industry. It works with the Mexican government to protect and strengthen agricultural, industrial, and commercial activities related to tequila, protects and guards the management of the agave plantations in order to ensure future supply. The CRT also takes legal action against companies adultering their product., Composed of industry members, and based in Guadalajara. Its current president is Carlos Orendain.


Farmer, or peasant.

Campos de agave

Cultivated orchards of agave plants, also called potreros, or pastures (and huertas, or groves, in the Los Altos region).


Cured, black clay ceramic jug used in traditional process of aging mezcal.


Little carnival. A cocktail of tequila, orange juice and cinnamon from the state of Hidalgo.


In the spirits industry, when reporting sales by case, a case in 9 litres, usually 12 750ml bottles.


Onion. A term used to describe the root of the quiote in the agave head that often gets cut out before baking. This is also called the corta, or top.




Aged, sweet pulque, with added red chili and toasted corn leaves, then fermented over a low fire. It is consumed as a domestic and ritual beverage in Tlaxcala.


Mezcal from the Chichihualco de los Bravos in the state of Guerrero.


Whip plant; an agave plant that does not look strong, but appears old and tired.

Chilocle, chiloctli

Pulque fermented with chile ancho, epazote (an aromatic plant), salt and garlic. Consumed both as a domestic and ritual beverage in the state of Guerrero. It is also the traditional beverage of Puebla, Tlaxcala and Mexico.

Chinguririto, chinguerite

Spirits (aguadrientes) made from sugar cane and/or mezcal in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Cien por ciento

One hundred percent; tequila or mezcal made with only agave sugars (blue agave for tequila).

Coa, coa de jima

Sharp, round-ended tool used by the jimador (harvester) to cut the leaves (pencas) off the piņa or cabeza (head) of the agave. A similar tool with a triangular point is used to clear weeds.


Cooking, refers to the baking or steaming of the agave heads.


A small appendage that sprouts from the upper part of the piņa. Also called a quiote.


Tail; the last parts of the distillate to come through the still, low in alcohol, usually recycled into a subsequent distillation.


Regional drink made form distilled aguamiel.


Conch; bubble that appears on stirred or shaken tequila. See perla.


The coiled, metal condenser that cools the vapours during distillation.


The skilled art of making and repair barrels and casks.


Heart: the main portion of the distillate that is used to make tequila. Also describes the middle part of the distillate, the most preferred portion. Also sometimes refers to the


Pulque mixed with brown honey and palo de timbre, from Puebla. Also the name for an intermediary who finds buyers among producers for agave growers, and takes a commission from the sale.


Consejo Regulado de Tequila: Tequila Regulatory Counci). A non_profit organization, founded in 1994, that verifies the performance and the fulfillment of Mexican standards (normas) concerning tequila. It also guarantees the tequila's authenticity and quality, and protects the Denomination Appelation of Origin (see AOC) worldwide. Members of the Council include the Mexican government, agave farmers, tequila producers, bottlers and distributors.


Worker who carried the jugs of agave juice from the tahona in wooden pails balanced on his head.

Curado de fresa

Beverage made from pulque mixed with strawberries or strawberry juice.

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Demijohn; commercial glass holder for retail measurement. Contains 32 liters. Originally these were small, hand blown, rounded-shape 5 litre bottles, wrapped in agave fiber. They were the first glass vessels used for tequila by Jesus Flores in 1860.


An aromatic herb used in several liqueurs, including some made with tequila and agave, plus other beverages and fruits. The plant grows in arid zones of Sinaloa and Baja California Sur.

Denomination of Origin

The law that establishes all the specifications required to produce, bottle, distribute and sell tequila, to protect and maintain the Denomination of Origin. According to the "Appellation de Origin Controllee" (AOC), tequila can only be produced in Mexico. In the wine and spirits industry there are only four drinks recognized with Denomination of Origin: sherry, cognac, champagne and tequila.


Cutting the flower stalk (quiote) from the maturing agave to make the piņa grow fatter and richer with carbohydrates. Also called castrating the plant. Also called quebrar, castrar or capar.


Distillation. Heating the fermented must (mosto) to extract the alcohol. Tequilas and  mezcals are distilled twice, although some companies offer triple distillation for some premium products. After distillation, the alcohol is filtered and bottled or put in wooden barrels or casks for aging.


Direccion General de Normas. Before 1978, the term DGN was used to identify tequila made under the government regulations, but this term isn't used any more, except on some mixto tequilas bottled in the USA. The NOM number now indicated a producer's compliance with Mexican regulations.

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Elixir de agave

A liqueur made with agave liquor - often tequila - and other liquors made from fruit or flowers, such as damiana

Envasado de origen

An indicator that the mezcal was bottled at the distillery. If it was bottled elsewhere in Mexico, it will say envasado en Mexico.

Erwinia caratavora

Bacterial infection in agave plants that causes "soft rot."


Cultivated maguey most commonly used to produce mezcal.


Post that holds the centre of the tahona to its pivot, often a single piece of a tree.


Excommunication: a mezcal produced in Michoacan.

Extra aņejo

Newest type (tipo) of aņejo tequila, introduced in 2006, it is for tequilas aged in small barrels (not more than 600l) for three or more years. Sometimes called 'super aņejo' and said to be so good it is 'dressed in tails.'

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Factory, another term for a tequila distillery.


Fermentation: using yeast to transform the sugars contained in the aguamiel into ethyl alcohol.

Fusarium oxisporum

Fungal infestaion affecting maguey plants in Jalisco.

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Gran reposado

Unofficial term used to indicate a reposado with longer aging time that officially required, but aged using resposado techniques, not those required with aņejo.


A regional drink made with sugar or corn cane juice, pulque and honey, from the states of Veracruz and Tabasco.


A butterfly larva (Hipopta Agavis) also called a worm. It lives in the heart or leaves of agave plants. It is sometimes placed in bottles of mezcal, but never in tequila.. There are two kinds of worms: gusano de oro (gold) and the more prized gusano rojo (red). Also called gusano de maguey,

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Hecho en Mexico

Made in Mexico. This or a similar phrase should be on all labels of 100% tequila.


Agave used for fibre.




Los Altos. the tequila-producing region east of Guadalajara that includes Arandas and Atotonolico.


Shoot or "pup." Young agave plant that grows from the base of the plant. It is uprooted from the mother plant, and excess leaves and any rhizomes cut away.  The pups are removed for transplanting until the agave's sixth year, after which they are considered too weak. The best and strongest pups will be from the first cutting, around the third year of the mother's growth. The hijeulos are about the size of a grapefruit or large onion at this time. They are also called seeds (semilla) or mecuates (probably from mecuatl).


A traditional oven used to bake the agave piņas. Palenques are also sometimes referred to as hornos. Called a barranco in some states.

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Istle, Ixtle

Fibre extracted from the agave leaves to produce textiles, cords and paper. Also called ichtli or pita.

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Jacaranda leaves on agave plantJacaranda mimosifolia, or blue jacaranda: flowering tree in the Bignonia family, up to 50 ft (15m) tall, with two-inch long tubular blue flowers. Commonly seen in Mexico in agave fields.


Central-Pacific Mexican state where the town of Tequila is located. It is also where the vast majority of the agave used for tequila is harvested and distilled. It is located roughly 40 miles northwest of its capital, Guadalajara.

Jarrito loco

Crazy little jar: Mexico City beverage prepared with tequila, rum, sweet anisette, orange juice and grapefruit juice, served in a little clay jar.


Harvesting; removing the leaves from the agave, pulling out the piņas from the ground before shipping the piņas to a fabrica for processing into tequila. Also called rajado or desvirar.


The harvester in the agave fields. The jimador is often one of three generations of farmers in the same field. The skills are passed from father to son. Sometimes called a desvirador.


Young tequila. Similar to white (blanco) tequila, but often with added colour and flavouring.

Joven Abocado

Young and smooth. Tequila to which flavorings and often colouring are added to make it more palatable. Usually referred to as "Gold" (oro) tequila, and most commonly a mixto tequila.

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Lagrimas de la agave

The' tears of the agave' - synonymous with legs in wine tasting. These suggest essential oils in the tequila and are a sign of good tequila.


Mezcal made with lechugilla (a wild maguey). Consumed on special occasions as a traditional beverage in Sonora, Chihuahua and Puebla.


Yeast. Some distillers use commercial brewers' yeast, some cultivate their own using natural yeast from the agave plants, and others use natural airborne yeasts.


Mexican wine and liquor stores, often identified as selling "vinos y licorias."


Cleaning. Removing weeds from around the agave, and clearing the soil from the foot of each plant. A coa is generally used, to leave an empty space of about 1 metre.


The tequila-producing region west of Guadalajara that includes Tequila, Amatitan and Arenal.

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Mother agave plant from which hijuelos are taken.


Mature, another term for reposado.


Skilled worker who oversees the cooking of agave hearts when making mezcal. Also called practico or palenquero.


Spanish word for agave. The word originally came from the Antilles. In Nahuatl, the agave was called metl, in Purepecha it was tocamba, and in Guada it was otome. Maguey is used to describe all varieties of agave in general.

Maguey acarrilado

Agave plant ready for desquiote.

Magueros or magueyeros

Maguey growers or harvesters in general are known as maguyeros or as agaveros.

Mano larga

Long or large hand: large agave, usually grown in the highlands. Their leaves stand more erect and the color is greener.


"Son of the Maguey." This chief of the Tecuexes tribe in the highlands of Jalisco led his tribe into an alliance with the Spanish colonizers. Without war between them, the two cultures shared the prehispanic knowledge of cultivating the agave with the European art of distillation. The word is also related to the five fingers of the hand, because of its similarity between the form of a human hand and the maguey plant.


An internationally popular cocktail made with tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur. Its origin has never been definitively proven, but it was invented sometime between 1930 and 1950, probably in Mexico.


Female pig: the dry bagasse (discarded fibers) from mezcal and tequila production.


Large wooden mallets used to smash cooked agaves in a wooden tray or trough (batea) before the tahona was used. Still used in some small homebrew distillers like raicilla producers.


Traditional, strong beverage made with pulque, corn, banana and unrefined brown sugar. It is consumed during festivities in the state of Queretaro.


The terrain that remains between rows of agave plants, sometimes used to grow corn and beans when the agaves are still small.

Mescalero, Mezcalero

A maker of mezcal.

Metl, Mexcalmetl

Original native name for agave, now usually refers to agave horridus, an edible plant.


The Indian name for the sweet candy made from cooked agave, antecedent of the word mezcal.


Another pre-hispanic name for maguey.

Mezontle, mesontle

The heart of the piņa; it has a granular texture.

Mezcal, mescal

Another name for maguey plant. Also the generic name for all spirits distilled from the agave (plural mezcales or mezcals), as well as the name of a regional spirit, similar to the tequila, but made mostly in Oaxaca state. Technically tequila is a form of mezcal in the same way cognac is a form of brandy and is sometimes called "mezcal de tequila." Mezcal is native to the states of San Luis Potosi, Michoacan, Jalisco, Durango, Morelos, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas. Cortes called mezcal "the nectar of the (Aztec) gods." Some mezcals are sold with an agave worm (gusano) in the bottle.


Producer of mezcal.


Mixed: tequilas made with only 51% agave sugars (minimum). If the label doesn’t say "100% de agave," or "cien de cientos de agave," then the product is a mixto tequila. Corn or sugar cane are the most common other sugars used to create the alcohol during fermentation. One of the two official variations on tequila. See 100% agave.


To grind - as in grinding the agaves in a tahona, also triturar (to crush).


Grinding machine to mill the cooked agaves into pulp.


Milling, or the process to mill the agave fibres and separate the juices.


Distillery workers in charge of the tahona and grinding-mashing process.


Must, or wort. The juices (aguamiel) and solids of the agave after the grinding or milling stage. This will be fermented to produce alcohol. Also called tepache.

Mosto muerto

Dead must. The spent aguamiel after fermentation is complete, before distillation.


Counties, or districts.

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The original native Mexicans who lived in the area now known as Jalisco, before the Spaniards arrived.


A worm or grub that destroys the root of the agave. Not to be confused with the gusano used in mezcal.


Domestic beverage made with pulque, opuntia and water, consumed Tlaxcala and San Luis Potosi.


Normas Official Mexicana de calidad, the Mexican government standards. Every distillery gets a NOM identification number to show they conform to the laws and standards governing tequila production. Look for this mark on the label to ensure the tequila meets these standards. The number identifies each distiller. Distillers may make many competing products under the same NOM identifier. The NOM number does not guarantee quality, only that the distiller is appropriately licensed. Without the NOM stamp of legitimacy, you can't even be sure it's tequila in the bottle. All 100% agave tequilas must have a NOM identifier on the bottle. See NOM-006-SCFI-1993 and the later NOM-006-SCFI-1994


Stone grinding wheel, similar to a tahona or molino.


The official norms, or standards. Frequently written in all-caps as NORMAS.

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Nahuatl for pulque.
On wood

Used to identify time a tequila has spent in contact with wood, usually stored in either a barrel or large cask.

Ojo de gallo

Cock's eye: a preparation of white pulque, water, dark boiled honey, pepper, salt, anisette and ancho chiles.


The alcoholic liquid produced from the first distillation. Also called tequila primero.


Gold, used to describe tequila that gains its colour either by aging in oaks vats (100% agave), or through the addition of caramel coloring and other additives (mixto).


Traditional beverage of Puebla, made from sugar or corn cane juice, pulque, unrefined brown sugar and palo de timbre.

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Stone pit where mezcal piņas are baked. Usually 12015 feet in diameter and 6-8 feet deep.


Mezcal producer. Named after the pit, or palenque, in which the agave is cooked.


Dove: an infestation that corrodes the leaves (pencas) of the maguey.


Small, pocket-sized glass bottles for tequila, popular at the beginning of the 20th century.


The spiky, thick leaf of the agave.

Perla o concha

Pearl or conch. A bubble that remains on the surface of the tequila after serving it or stirring it, said to denote a fine tequila. To see if it is there, close the bottle tightly. Hold it upside down, then turn it right side up: the bubbles should appear and continue to float. If the perla does not appear, the liquor is called tequila cortado, or cut tequila, most likely a mixto.


Agave-based spirit mixed with orange juice and cinnamon. Consumed as a domestic and sometimes ritual drink in the state of Guerrero.


Agave field worker who does the desquiote.

Removing the root of the quiote to prevent further growth, done six months after cutting the quiote.Pila de enfriamiento

Cooling pipe in a spiral which uses water to remove heat from the distillation steam so it condenses. Also called resfrio.


Brown sugar cones used when making mixto tequilas to speed fermentation to be able to use immature and fewer plants.


Literally pineapple. The bulbous centre of the agave containing the sugars and starches used for the production of tequila. The piņa is cooked and mashed. This releases the juices (aguamiel) for fermentation and later distillation The center resembles a pineapple. It is also called cabeza (head), bola (ball) and corazon (heart).


Tanker truck used to transport mixto tequila.


Large barrels with a capacity of 80 barrels, or 5,280 liters


Silver, refers to white, or clear, unaged tequila. See Blanco.

Pollas o galleteras

Hens or chickens: a beverage from Jalisco made with fresh milk with the yolk of an egg and a little bit of liquor, which can be tequila, mezcal or cane alcohol.

Ponche de pulque

Pulque punch: a mix of pulque, lemon water, clove and nutmeg from the states of Puebla, Tlaxcala and Hidalgo.


Pasture: agave plantations; also known as a rancho (ranch) or campo de agave (orchard), and huerta (grove) or tren (train).


The skilled person who oversees the baking of mezcal piņas in the palenque. Also called maestro or palenquero.


A measurement of the amount of alcohol in liquor or spirits. In Canada and the United States, proof is exactly twice the percentage of alcohol.


Pulque is the fermented sap (aguamiel) of the agave. It has been a traditional drink since Mayan times. The Spanish Conquistadors distilled pulque into mezcal wine, which later became today's tequilas and mezcals. When fresh, pulque is white, thick and quite sweet, usually called pulque dulce. Older, sour pulque is called pulque fuerte. Pulque is not distilled. It has been consumed since the era of the Mexicas. In Santa Maria Tejacate, pulque has been industrialized and canned. Pulque curd is the mixture of pulque with various fruits to sweeten the taste, sometimes prepared with walnut, pine nut, guava, celery, orange, cantaloupe, lemon, wild plum, and other ingredients.


Another name for the first part of the distillation, also called the head (cabeza).

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Stem or flower stalk (inflorescence) that extends from the top of the maguey. It is cut to allow the pina to fatten and ripen. The quiote is sweet and can be boiled or roasted, and eaten. Also called quixotl. To remove the stalk (castrate) is called desquiote. In botanical terms, the quiote is caled a peduncle.

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Spirit distilled from agave in Jalisco, known around Puerto Vallarta. Now can be legally produced.


Rested: tequila aged at least 2 to 12 months in oak barrels The "resting" mellows and refines the tequila. Official type according to the NORMAS.

Reserva de casa

Unofficial term for specially produced tequila products. Usually an aņejo, but may be a reposado.


Mess: a liquor of opuntia juice, peel of timbre and mezcal from Puebla, Tlaxcala and San Luis Potosi.

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A defective maguey plant.

Sal de gusano

Worm salt; sometimes supplied with bottles of mezcal. Contains fried, powdered gusano, salt and chile powder.


Spicy mix of tomato juice, orange juice, chile powder and other ingredients, used as a chaser or co-sip with tequila or mezcal.

Savia de maguey

Maguey sap: a type of non fermented pulque used in some festivities in Jalisco.


Mexican law enforcement age that oversees the tequila industry.


Regional mezcal made in Sonora, made from a different plant, not an agave: the Dasilyrion, which belongs to the family Nolinaceae.

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Tavern, also a tequila factory or retail store where spirits are sold


The traditional, large wood or stone wheel turned by donkeys, oxen or tractors. It pivots in a circular space (often a cement well) to mash the pulp of the agave into a coarse paste and extract the juice (aguamiel). This is diluted with water to give it the necessary consistency for fermentation. Also see molina and noria.


Roast: cooking the agave piņas so its sugars concentrate for fermentation. Tatemado is usually baking in the pit as with mezcal agaves.


A beverage made from pulque with maguey worms, used in some traditional festivities and special occasions in the state of Oaxaca.


Wort: the fermented pulp and juices of the agave piņas. It is also the name of a native fermented drink similar to pulque, made in a clay pot with agave pulp and juice, clove, and cinnamon. Boiled barley and unrefined brown sugar are added later, then the mix is fermented another two days. It may also be prepared with pulque mixed with honey and boiled with anisette.


A liquor made by fermenting and distilling the aguamiel (sap) of the blue agave plant. It originated around the town of Tequila, in Jalisco state, hence the name. The word has several meanings, including: "wild herb place" (lugar de hierbas silvestres, "Place where people cut" (lugar donde se corta), or " place where people work" (lugar donde se trabaja). Tequila is a Mexican product with Denomination of Origin, which means that no other country is allowed to produce it.

Tequila cortado

Cut tequila, generally a mixto. When the tequila, after being shaken within the bottle, does not produce the pearl or conch on the surface.

Tequila de hornitos

Tequila made using the traditional oven to bake the piņas, and distilled in copper stills (alambiques).


A master tequila maker or tequila producer. Also an affectionate name for an aficionado of tequila.


Place where pulque is produced, contains the tubs for fermentation.


Wooden tub used to ferment the juices of the agave after roasting or baking, kept in a tinacal.

Tina de lavado

Washtub: nickname for wood tubs where workers swim to mix the juices and fibres before fermentation is started.


Type. According to the Mexican regulations, there are five officially recognized types of tequila: Silver (blanco or plata): Bottled immediately after distillation, or within 60 days. May be stored in stainless steel tanks, but never on wood. Rested (reposado): Tequila aged in oak barrels for between two and 12 months before bottling. Aged (aņejo): Tequila stored and aged in oak barrels for more than a year before being bottled. Extra aged (extra aņejo): gaved more than three years in small wooden barrels. Gold (oro, suave, joven, joven abocado): Basically the same as blanco, but with colouring and flavouring ingredients added to make it look aged. Also called gold because of its colouring (usually through added caramel and sometimes oak essence, up to 1% total weight). Generally mixto tequilas.


Worker who collects aguamiel from agaves for pulque. He uses an acocote, or long-necked tool.


Beverage from the blue agave from the state of Hidalgo.


A Mexico City cocktail prepared with tequila, orange juice and grapefruit juice.


"Tristeza y Muerte de Agave", the wilting and death of the agave; multiple diseases and parasites, collectively referred to as TMA .


A rare type of small, wild maguey, grown in the shade at high altitudes in Oaxaca state, used for making an expensive brand of limited production. super-premium mezcal.


Wooden cask used as a measurement, equivalent to 833 kilos.


A metric ton, or 1,000 kilograms, equal to 2,200 pounds.


Little Bull; A beverage from the state of Guerrero made from mezcal, vinegar, green chili, onion, tomato, and cheese. In Mexico and Morelos, it is tequila or aguardiente mixed with orange juice, onion, and chiles in vinegar.


To crush: the agave heads are crushed or ground (moler) by the tahona.


Tequila fresh from the still, with sweet flavour, also called ordinario. "Tuba" means coconut wine in the Filipino Tagalog language, probably because the first stills used for the process were Filipino in origin, but the word remained in use.


Field workers who cut the piņa from its root/stalk and get it ready for transport.


A type of mezcal from Tuxcacuesco, Jalisco.

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Green; beverage prepared with aguamiel, mint, lemon and vodka. Served very cold in the state of Tlaxcala.


The residue, or dregs from fermentation.

Vino de maguey, vino de mezcal

Original names for mezcal and tequila.

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Worm salt

Sal de gusano, a mix of fired, powdered gusano (the agave caterpillar), chile powder and salt, provided with some types of mezcal.

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The original native Mexicans who live in the area now known as Oaxaca, since before the Spaniards arrived.


Beverage prepared with the lower part of the Zotolero maguey in the state of Puebla.

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