It was announced as an evening for ‘Tequila Tasting’, and this was the first time the ceremony was holding in Nigeria.
It was also the first time the drink was being formally celebrated in the country.
Tequila, an alcoholic drink, has been described as ‘Mexico’s gift to the world’, as well as ‘Mexico’s national drink’.
It was recently presented to an audience in Abuja, courtesy of the Embassy of Mexico.
Speaking of gifts, Mexico has gifted much to mankind: Maize, which is now grown and eaten across the globe, is indigenous to the country, and Mexico has an amazing 64 varieties of the crop.
It also has 64 varieties of pepper, and chocolate which is consumed globally, is indigenous to Mexico.
The Tequila Tasting event held at the Casa Mexicana restaurant, owned by Goke and Maria Adegoroye which serves Mexican meals, and show cases many aspects of Mexican culture.
The restaurant has since become a magnet for lovers of all things Mexican, ranging from meals, drinks, art works, figurines and much more.
During the event Mrs Adegoroye mentioned that “Tequila is made from the blue Agave, a plant indigenous to Mexico which flowers once in its life time, and requires no irrigation or watering to flourish.”
“It grows well in the semi desert parts of country. The plant is medicinal and has a high insulin content, which is a sugar that can be used by persons being treated for Diabetes.”
She added “There are 8000 Agave farmers in Mexico, and 155 Tequila producing industries in the country. The area in Mexico which produces Tequila is also known as Tequila.
“It has since become a UNESCO World Heritage Site made up of 11.8 million hectares and comprises 180 municipalities in 5 states. Exports of Tequila have been put at $1.7Billion USD”.
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The fact that the Tequila drink emerges from a World Heritage site, endows authenticity and prestige upon the product.
The third week of March each year hosts the National Day of Tequila in Mexico, which also coincides with the Mariachi Carnival, which is a celebration of traditional Mexican folk music.
The USA is the leading country in the world in terms of the import of Tequila from Mexico, according to statistics from 2018.
On the continent, South Africa is the only country on the list of 10 leading importers of Tequila across the globe.
The Mexican Chamber of the Tequila industry is in charge of representing, defending and promoting the general interests of the Tequila industry, as well as Tequila itself, adds Emma Marquez who helped to coordinate the delightful evening.
“We decided to do this event as a way of promoting Tequila, one of the most important products that we have in Mexico”, says Francisco Martinez, Head, Cultural and Economic Promotion, Embassy of Mexico.
He adds “Nigeria is very important to Mexico, and we want to show case Tequila to a community of different Nigerian business men, to share with them not only a knowledge of the product, but also all the cultural ideas that come with it.”
He explained that the Embassy wants to strengthen the economic relations between Mexico and Nigeria, pointing out that the trade between both nations today is based on the exchange of basic products like Sesame seeds, others.
Alejandro Garcia -Moreno, Ambassador of Mexico to Nigeria comments on the background to the event.
“Little is known here about how Tequila is made, of the many different varieties, many don’t know that Tequila is produced in five parts of Mexico. This event aims to bring the Tequila drink to the Nigerian market. We want to partner with Nigerian business men, so that they get to know about Tequila, its culture and history.”
It is possible to present a popular Mexican product to a non-Mexican audience, in a simple, entertaining and refreshing way, and pull it off handsomely.
Refreshing, engaging session
There may be a lesson here for nations trying to project, reinvent or rebrand their products, as a boost to the national economy and image.
When the famous drink is placed before the guest, he gently sniffs, stirs, tastes and savors it: this is how Mexicans drink it.
His taste buds connect with the full range of delights and sensations which it provides. You don’t hurry while drinking at a Tequila tasting ceremony, for drinking the famous product itself is an art, and a sense of art demands refinement in many, many things.
The glasses used should be the right size, a light meal may form part of the event, a song, the sustained jovial mood in the room as well as a festive almost romantic dance, help and do not hinder the overall effort.
Another Tequila Tasting event will hold later this year in Abuja, again at the prompting of the Mexican Embassy, in its effort to popularise Tequila among a wider circle of business interests.
Ujorha is a freelance journalist, who has travelled widely and has written numerous features and travelogues.