Tequila has a much richer history than many people realize. Alcohol has been distilled from the agave plant since 1000 BC and the major tequila brands started in the 1700s. Since its origins, the drink has been the subject of many tales.
Here are a few of the most interesting legends and myths about tequila and the most popular brands:
The Aztec Legend of the Agave Plant
An Aztec legend explains how the agave plant, which is used to make tequila and other mezcals, came to be. They believed that when the Earth was first created, there was an evil goddess named Tzintzimitl who lived in the sky and devoured light. One day Quetzalcoatl, another Aztec deity, decided to ascend to the heavens to fight Tzintzimitl.
Although Quetzalcoatl did not find the evil goddess, he did find her beautiful granddaughter, Mayahuel, who Tzintzimitl had kidnapped. Quetzacoatl fell in love with Mayahuel and went to Earth to live with her secretly. However, Tzintzimitl eventually found out and a battle ensued. During their epic fight, Mayahuel was accidentally killed.
After the death of his lover, Quetzacoatl killed Tzintzimitl and restored light to the Earth. The other Aztec gods caused the agave plant to sprout at the site of Mayahuel’s grave. The elixir of this plant, which would be an early version of the tequila we know today, was meant to comfort Quetzacoatl.
The Rivalry of Cuervo and Sauza
The Cuervo and Sauza families started two rival tequila brands that remain popular to this day. The Cuervo family started their brand in 1740 when Spanish royalty granted them land to farm agave plants.
The Sauza brand started later, in the 1870s. The founder, Cenobio Sauza, originally worked at the Cuervo distillery starting in 1858. In 1870, he leased La Gallardeña distillery and from there began to expand his tequila business, becoming a leader in the industry. This success made the Sauza family a major rival for the Cuervo family.
One of the tall tales behind this rivalry is that of Javier Sauza. Javier’s father took the rivalry very seriously and there was a rumor that he shot and killed a member of the Cuervo family in the city of Tequila. When Javier went to university in Chicago, he met and married a woman from the Cuervo family. When his father found out about Javier’s marriage, he banned him from working with the Sauza company. Javier was eventually allowed back in the family business shortly before his father’s death in 1946. This story illustrates just how intense the rivalry between these two tequila brands was.
Tequila Brands Today
These two stories are only a small portion of the myths and legends surrounding tequila. Today, the industry has grown immensely. There are many tequila brands to choose from, from the classic Cuervo and Sauza family brands to newer options, such as George Clooney’s Casamigos.
Our Tequila Bar
Guads has an extensive selection of tequila brands. Order a shot of your favorite as the perfect accompaniment to your Mexican meal. Our three favorites are Don Julio Añejo, Casadores Respado, and Patron Silver. With over 100 different options, there is always something new to try. In addition to our shots, we offer margaritas. Try a House Margarita or something more adventurous, like our Diablo Azul made with Blue Curacao and Jose Cuervo Gold.