The first news coming form the Spanish about the use of the Agave was from Hernan Cortez who on his letters to the King of Spain Carlos V, speaking about the market of Mexico City : “They sell sugar cane syrup and also syrup from a plant called Maguey. From this plants they make sugar and wine.
Thanks to Fray Francisco Jimenez one of the cronistas of XVI century now we know the Indians used the Maguey in such sort of modes that it seemed this only plant was enough to supply for all human needs. The leafs are used for roof, the shafts as beams, also from leafs are extracted fibers later used to make clothes, sacks, etc., from thorns they make nails and needles, from maguey also produce wine, vinegar, honey and sugar. Medicine for several uses is also extracted from Maguey.
There are also a beverage obtained at mashing the leaves and after ferment them in water they produce a kind of wine.
Due to so many uses, Indians considered the maguey as “the tree of the marvels”
” The word “maguey” is the Spanic term of the Nahuatl word “metl”.
The word “mezcal” came from the Nahuatl term “metskatl” a variety of maguey that during those times was very popular for multiple uses.
The term “agave” is due to botanist Carlos Linneo, who took from Greek the word “agavus” that means admirable and illustrious
The actual popular culture calls the agave and maguey as “mezcal”, so an agave field or plantation is called “mezcalera”. This can be very confusing since “mezcal” is also the generic name of all distilled spirits made from any kind of agave.
In this document I will use the name mezcal in reference to the distilled spirit produced form agave.
The Spaniards brought to America the distillation process. Spirits distilled from sugar were called “aguardientes” and distilled spirits made from any kind of Agave were called “Vino Mezcal”
Production of any kind of aguardietes were prohibited to favor the imported sprits coming from Spain.
During the last quarter of Century XVIII, the Tequila Industry develops to a higher level and grows from a strictly local market to become regional. At this point the “Vino Mezcal” or simply “Mezcal” produced in Tequila town, starts to gain recognition as a special drink and became known as “Mezcal Tequila”
Development of Tequila industry was based in three main types of market: The miner, the urban and the rural markets
TO BE CONTINUED