The prickly, punk looking Agave plant is the key ingredient in tequila and mezcal. Native to Mexico, the American Southwest, and portions of South America, the prized plants’ sap can be fermented into a bevy of beverages most notably tequila and mescal. (The difference between the two involves the region and variances in production).
Jimadors wait for the ideal point in the growing season and the cut the leaves off of each plant with a traditional coa knife. After the trimming, the round core or pina remains. These jewels are harvested and then shipped off to ovens where they are baked to break down the fructans within. The next step involves grinding the cooked pinas under a stone wheel called a tahona. The resulting wort is then fermented and aged into the desired libation.