I have tequila on the mind. I currently write an article about tequila and water for the upcoming Edible Ojai magazine issue.
Every proper Mexican has a bottle of tequila in their spirit cupboard ready to pour into small glass cups for guests. It is the fastest growing spirit in the U.S. and Europe. Chances are high that you have a liter bottle or two tucked away.
Every liter bottle of tequila leaves behind ten liters of vinazas. Vinazas is liquid that holds high concentrations of concentrated chemicals, heavy metals, salt and nitrogen after fermentation and distillation. The all too common practice of vinaza disposal is to pour it untreated into rivers. Vinaza turns rivers into brown raw sewage soup. The grey water strips the rivers ability to sustain life. The Mexican government has begun a campaign to encourage distilleries to build treatment plants by imposing fines. Most distilleries opt to pay the fines and continue the policy of dumping the nitrogen rich vinazas into rivers.
I purchase Tequila Alquimia for my margaritas and to sip. Tequila Alquimia is one of only four brands out of 1150 that are certified organic. Dr. Adolfo Murillo, the owner and alchemist behind the tequila has devised a solution for the vinaza left from distilling. “On the land behind the distillery we prepare an area with a layer of clay followed by a layer of fiber left from the piña. Than we pour vinaza over it. It turns into compost that supports life.” Weeds and flowers grow from the mounds of soil.
Find out which brands are disposing vinazas properly. The web is a good way to find out which brands are supporting clean water systems and those that use rivers as dumping grounds. Call your favorite tequila makers and ask them how they dispose of vinazas. They need to hear that their customers care about the preservation of fresh water sources.
My all time favorite margarita is made from Tequila Alquimia. Recipe below. If they do not offer Tequila Alquimia at your favorite haunts ask them to (especially the big guys like Costco,Trader Joes…). It is a tasty way to save rivers in Mexico.
The bottle designed by Adolfo’s wife and two daughters is made from100% recycled glass.
Organic Alquimia Margarita (AKA the Alquimia-Rita)
Shared by Dr. Adolfo Murillo
2 parts Alquimia Blanco
2 parts fresh lime juice
1 part orange juice
1 part Organic agave sweetener
Place above ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake til very cold, and serve over ice. Say “SALUD” and enjoy with friends and loved ones.