bars � drink
The border control o
Mexico City has a question:
'Where are you heading?' When
I tell him I'm on my way to
Guadalajara, he looks up, smiles
and says, 'Well, you must like
Tequila, then', before waving me through.
Guadalajara is in the state of Jalisco,
which is famous for a number of things we
associate with Mexico - Tequila, sombreros
and mariachi music among them - and is
the perfect place to learn more about one
of the world's most misunderstood spirits.
Stepping out of Guadalajara airport, it is
clear that Tequila is king here. Agave - the
big pineapple-shaped plant from which
Tequila and mezcal are made - line the
streets outside the airport, and there's
even an agave-shaped throne for arriving
visitors to sit in.
A good way to spend a day in Guadalajara
is to wander the sun-lled streets, with
a long, leisurely lunch at El Barco on
the Mercado del Mar, serenaded by the
mariachis who stroll along here. Tequila
is served in small copitas, like wine with a
meal, and it pairs wonderfully with raw sh.
Plate after plate of appingly fresh
ceviche is brought to the table, and the
saline, mineral qualities of the seafood
really play o the Tequila. Make sure to
ask for a bowl of molcajete de mariscos
- a bubbling mass of prawns, oysters and
octopus in a tomato broth with satisfying
globules of melted cheese on top.
There are two key Tequila-making areas
in Jalisco - the highlands and the valley
- and our rst stop is Los Altos, or the
highlands, whose area and distilleries are
easily explored from the town of Arandas,
two hours east of Guadalajara. Distilleries
here aren't open to the public, but special
arrangements can be made through tour
company Experience Tequila, who can put
together special itineraries for keen visitors.
A tour around Olmeca Altos with master
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