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61128.  Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:56 am Reply with quote

Further to the absinthe thread:

Question: What is Tequila made from?

Forfeit: Cactus

Answer: Agave.

Tequila is the oldest distilled drink in North America, and was its first commercially produced alcohol, however contrary to popular belief is not made from cactus, but from the agave, a plant which resembles a cactus, but is related to the lily. A mature agave is up to 8 feet tall, 7-12 feet in diameter and has 136 species in Mexico alone. There are no alcoholic drinks made from cactus in Mexico.

Here’s one:

As for the worm, well apologies to Molly and Fred T Monk, it seems that a few mezcals can be found with an authentic worm inside. That said, there is certainly no authentic tequila which contains a butterfly caterpillar, some US brands put one in their bottles to impress the public, but they are a marketing ploy from the 40s, not a traditional ingredient.
big link

61137.  Tue Mar 21, 2006 6:20 am Reply with quote

"a plant which resembles a cactus" needs clarification, I think. Is there a crisp explanation of why something can look like a cactus but not be one?

61139.  Tue Mar 21, 2006 6:24 am Reply with quote

Looks are deceptive.

That seems pretty crisp.

61141.  Tue Mar 21, 2006 6:28 am Reply with quote

A cactus comes from the cactaceae family, the agave comes from the Agavaceae family. They are different plants which have evolved similar characteristics because they grow in similar environments - I guess in the same way that most fish have evolved fins and a tail and look similar to the uninitiated.

61143.  Tue Mar 21, 2006 6:37 am Reply with quote

Cactaceae and Agavaceae have different methods of reproduction. Agaves only flower once, after they're 5 years old, then die. They are 'monocots'. (Real) cactuses flower every year, and are dicots. That's easily enough to allow them to be classed differently.

Two species of bats – the Lesser long Nose Bat & Mexican Long Tongued Bat – rely on the agave nectar sources on their migration route from Mexico to the Sonoran Desert

61171.  Tue Mar 21, 2006 7:42 am Reply with quote

And we thought there was nothing interesting to be said about dicot.


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