Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'm Gonna Swim Right Across A Sea Of Tequila; Ride That Worm As Far As She Will Go...

"...maybe my dreams will come true, 'cause I'm French-kissin' that worm, thinkin' of you."

(Thanks to John Doe for one of the greatest songs to ever feature tequila: "Dyin' To Get Home")...

I'm not a gambler, so maybe that's why I don't worry about luck.

I try not to spend time worrying about anything else, either.  

But I can say that I am lucky enough to have been born into a family of corazones cariñosos gigantes...

Mi sobrino--and exclusive JackRabbit Café Latin America envoy--Charles Dolph slipped society's shackles long enough to explore a part of the planet to which his tio has contributed mightily and with mucho good cheer. 

So, here's the tale of "El Sobrino", to whom I say  

"Tu eres escritor":    

As my time south of the border (well, this one anyway) comes to a close, I’m contributing a guest blog here to JackrabbitCafé about many things Mexico, and especially tequila. 

However, before we get to tequila (the spirit) and Tequila (the town), I would be remiss not to mention that this past week was Fashion Week here in Guadalajara.  And one must participate in Fashion Week, which my roommates and I of course did.

When in Rome…  

The Legend of Tequila: 

The most prevalent legend of tequila’s origin involves the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl and his lover, the goddess of fertility, Mayahuel.  After plunging the world into darkness, Mayahuel’s grandmother, the evil goddess Tzintzimitl, went looking for the two, who had turned themselves into small trees to avoid her.  Quetzalcoatl was successful in avoiding the evil goddess, while Mayahuel was not so lucky, and was killed by her own grandmother.  Quetzalcoatl buried his beloved, took to the sky, and exacted his revenge on Tzintzimitl.  Upon returning to earth, however, he went to Mayahuel’s burial site every night and mourned her.  The other gods, seeing his pain, decided to ease his burden.  Soon a plant began to grow on Mayahuel’s burial site, and the gods gave this plant special hallucinogenic properties to allow Quetzalcoatl to communicate with his lost love. Anyone ever wonder why they call alcohol “spirits?” 

Many years later, the Spanish conquistadors heard the legend of this powerful, hallucinogenic plant after their rot-gut brandy had been finished, and it is now a well known historical fact that the conquistadors coveted the blue agave plant and its sweet, sweet nectar, now called Tequila, as much or more as the shiny gold and silver, which they had to send back to their Spanish king, anyway.  

With so much history on the line, I decided a trip to Tequila was most in order, so last Thursday I took a pilgrimage to this Holy Land.  As we made our way out of the urban conglomerate of Guadalajara, I soon saw the landscape become dotted with beautiful blue agave plants.  I knew I must be near the source.  

Upon reaching the rather small, unassuming town of Tequila, I began to stroll around, to see and hear what was to be seen and heard.  I soon discovered another, modern legend of Tequila, that of the “Casa Herradura.”  Now, from my previous investigations into the legendary tequila with an elder statesman (the wizard behind the curtain of this very same JackrabbitCafé), I had become familiar with the charms of Herradura and was now intent on following this legend as far as it would take me. 

As with any legend worth pursuing, this one lay off the beaten path, outside the town of Tequila, making me wonder if the town itself was just an ingenious trap to keep all but the most savvy away from the real crown jewel that is Casa Herradura. 

After finding the distillery tucked away off the main road, I encountered a young local. 

“I beg your pardon,” I said to him in my best Spanish, “but I have traversed a great distance on the trail of the Tequila legend, and now that I am this close, I need an experienced guide to take me the rest of the way to the Holy Grail within.” 

Persuaded by my passion for the famed agave nectar, Raúl agreed with a friendly “No hay problema, Señor.” 

After many twists and turns within the Casa Herradura, we entered into a darkened, underground area that resembled some sort of medieval torture chamber, though Raúl assured me that this was in fact, the famed distillery itself, where I would at long last find my Holy Grail…   

And so I’ve followed the Legend of Tequila to its Holy Grail here in Mexico.  Next stops on my 2008 World Tour: New York, USA; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil...

Gracias, mi sobrino; blood is one thing thicker than tequila...


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