How the Gringos Stole Tequila:
The Modern Age of Mexico's Most Traditional Spirit
For years tequila has struggled against its reputation as the cheap intoxicator of youth and it is now emerging as an elite beverage attempting to move onto the same plateau as Single Malt Scotch and Small Batch Bourbon. Montreal native Chantal Martineau now lives in New York and writes about food, travel, wine, spirits and culture. In How the Gringos Stole Tequila: The Modern Age of Mexico's Most Traditional Spirit Martineau traces the rise of tequila from an indigenous version of distilled pulque to an international beverage. We learn how an indigenous beverage went from something sold locally for a few pesos a gallon to an elite beverage costing $100 a bottle or more. Chantal captures the role of pulque, mezcal, and tequila in Mexican culture and in the process describes how really good mezcal is made and how to find it. Understanding the cultural importance of mezcal and tequila shows the impact of the internationalization of tequila – primarily by American firms. In the course of this saga, Chantal exposes all the stereotypes and introduces the reader many of the important figures in the expropriation of tequila from those who invented it, the stories of those who resist the expropriation of tequila and saving the important traditions of tequila and mezcal. Chantal writes well and manages to engage and entertain while telling an important story. If you drink tequila or mezcal or have any interest in it, you need to read this book. If you have any interest in how modern society impacts indigenous cultures, you will also want to read this book. Likewise, if you want to understand the impact of commercialization on local artisan crafts and how they are changed into international products, this is your book. I enjoyed it immensely.
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Chantal Martineau How the Gringos Stole Tequila: The Modern Age of Mexico's Most Traditional Spirit