There is perhaps no beverage with as rich and storied a past as tequila. Dating back to 1000 B.C., Mayan and Aztec leaders produced and consumed its precursor, a drink called pulque, which was North America's first known alcoholic beverage. Made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant (more commonly referred to today as the agave plant), pulque is the ancient "cousin" of modern day mescal and tequila, both of which are made from the cooked heart of the plant.
First distilled by Spanish conquistadors around 1525 A.D., mescal represents the first distilled beverage in North America. As exploration expanded north, the Spaniards discovered the modern day state of Jalisco, home to the Tiquili Indians. It was there that the most prized of the agave varietals, the blue agave, was discovered, and from this modern day tequila was born.
Surviving centuries of wars, plagues, and bouts with prohibition, tequila has never been as popular as it is today. With over 100 registered distilleries producing over 900 recognized brands, it is clear that the spirit of the ancient Mayans and Aztecs is alive and well.