We’ve all seen the commercials and we’re familiar with the concept of tequila being a distilled beverage. It is not. Tequila is a distilled spirit made from water, sugar, and a small amount of citrus, specifically grapefruit and lime. These are the only two ingredients that the tequila industry uses to make its product, but they are also the only ingredients that are used to make the flavor.
Tequila is made from water and sugar, but it is not a distilled beverage. The actual alcohol is not distilled either, so in order for the tequila to be distilled, it must be distilled water and sugar.
In the past you would have to boil the water and sugar, which produces a clear syrup, to make tequila. Now that’s the story! But really, it’s more like the juice of the grapefruit and lime is added, and it then is heated until it becomes as clear and sweet as tequila.
After a minute you can be sure that the juice has been heated to at least the point where you can taste the difference between the clear tequila and the dark syrup.
To the average person, the idea of a “tequila” is probably not that impressive. It sounds like the juice is mixed with sugar, which is then boiled, and the resulting clear liquor is then diluted with water into a clear syrup. But just like with vodka, this process has caused the name to become more like a fancy label for a lot of things. Tequilería, for example, is actually the Spanish word for tequila.
But the tequilerías we’re talking about here actually came into American use as a generic term for a whole series of drinks made with a similar process. The term came about when the Spanish started to see these drinks as less of a drink and more of a process, and it stuck. The process is to boil the sugar, which was originally white and hard, with the boiling water to form the syrup which is the clear liquor.
These drinks can be made in a variety of ways and they may not be the same as the tequilerías, but they are similar enough that they deserve consideration as tequila substitutes. They can be made at home in a pot with a balloon of water in it. You just need to get your hands on a balloon of boiling water (and a few balloons) and the process is very simple. The syrup is poured into a glass and the spirit is added.
I’m not sure if the idea of making tequila with grapes was ever in any of your culinary minds, but if it was, and if you aren’t, you should make it for yourself. Grapefruit juice and tequila are a pretty natural mixture and there is no harm in trying. The process is the same if you want to use your own ingredients.
The idea is to use the same process, but instead of using the tequila, make it with grapefruit juice. That means you need a few extra ingredients to get the process started. You’ll also need a few extra balloons.
A few more ingredients to make it.