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Bacanora vs. Tequila… there are distinct difference. Part 1

If you have been following our wine road trip through the Valle de Guadalupewe spoke about how it is only a six hour drive from Puerto Peñasco.  Well the same can be said about finding the Bacanora Trail.  It is 6 hours to Hermosillo where you can spend the night in great accommodations with wonderful restaurants and then venture out to Bacanora.  Another nice thing is if you are a  Tequila aficionado, fly from Hermosillo to Guadalajara and board the Tequila Train or rent a car and spend a few days.

Almost everyone knows about Tequila or at some time or the other have had it, either in  a Margarita or a shot of it.  Many of you will remember if you did shots of cheap Tequila in your younger days by the headache you had the next morning.  One thing Tequila and Bacanora have in common is that they are both meant to be sipped and enjoyed like fine wine, vodka or whiskey.

Sunora
The beautiful bottles of Blanco and Cream Bacanora.

Let’s start with Bacanora as it is still relatively a new kid on the block even though Bacanora dates back over 300 years.  Bacanora got it’s name from where it originated in a little town in the middle of Sonora named Bacanora.  It became very popular and at first and was made of a variety of plants but soon the growers were using an agave type plant called Agave Pacifica as it was a regional agave. The agave Pacifica is a very hardy agave that can deal with the harsh conditions of the Sonora dessert.  As you drive through the State of Sonora in the central mountain region you will pass through cities like Bacanora, Sahuaripa, Arivechi, Tepache, Bacadehuaichi, Nacori, Banamichi, Arizpe or any of the other 22 towns in the area, you will see fields of Agave Pacifia.  This particular agave is a lighter more evergreen in color than the Blue Agave and has thin long leaves that can reach up to 60″ long.  They are harvested between 6-7 years old and the pina will weigh between 44-48 lbs.  A mature plant can grow up to 4′ high by 4′ wide.

Agave Pacifica
The Agave Pacifica is native to the Sonoran region .

The distilling process is simple but takes time.  Once the agave is hand picked  and the people that harvest them, cut the plant right from the trunk.  All leaves are removed from the Agave core.  Most Bacanora is made the traditional way of cooking the pinas in open pits that are made of lava rock and heated with Mesquite charcoal.  This is where you will get that great smokey flavor of Bacanora.  This usually take about 3 days.  After this the cores are mashed and chopped into a pulp.  It is at this point they are put into cement pits and washed while adding fresh water and covering completely so they are not exposed to air.  This fermentation process can take from 6-12 days.  Much of this also depends on the manufacture as to whether or not it is double or triple distilled.  From here it goes into stainless steel tanks where it completes the distillation process.  After a double distillation in which the vapor condenses and it goes through a copper still does it become Bacanora.  At Sunora Bacanora they do a triple still distillation for it’s premium quality.  The team at Amigo Brands through technology and innovation is also working on creating oak barrel aged Reposado and Añejo which has never been done.
Agave roasting
It is here where the agave is roasted

Bacanora fermentation
The traditional way of fermenting the Bacanora

Bacanora distilling
Here the juices are extracted.

In 1915 General Plutarco Elias Calle became Governor of Sonora and he put the ban on Bacanora as it was believed to have properties that were believed to be hedonistic and that drinking it was immoral.  It could not be made commercially nor sold anywhere, hence the start of boot legging began in the State of Sonora.  If caught the makers of the vile drink could be imprisoned or even hung.  During these times, people would go so far as to hide the Bacanora in their secret hiding places in their homes and  it became known as “The Secret of Sonora”.  This continued until 1992 when the ban was lifted and it was mainly due the popularity of Tequila and Mezcals. Imagine nearly 100 years of prohibition on Bacanora. In the year 2000 it was given  the Denomination of Origin (NOM) by the Mexican government.  Bacanora can only be grown in the State of Sonora or else it is called Mezcal.  Currently there are over 38 licensed distilleries in Sonora.  Each has it’s own distinctive taste.  Sadly because it is the drink of Sonora, very little of it is exported to the United States.  However, you can take a road trip from Puerto Penasco, Sonora by driving towards Hermosillo (the State Capital) and go East/Northeast on Highway 14 to reach much of the area.

Bacanora Fields
You will see many fields of Agave Pacifica along the route.

So the once referred to as “The Original Outlaw Spirit” has now gained so much popularity that there is now a huge effort to plant more of the Agave Pacifica in the State of Sonora.  Sunora Bacanora is also doing so making a Cream de Bacanora which is simply wonderful.
Whether you try Bacanora or Tequila, sit back, sip and enjoy them.  Watch our blogs and you can plan a trip down during a Bacanora and Tequila Festival.

Come out and join the fun while enjoying the beautiful weather in Puerto Peñasco and the stunning  Sea of Cortez views.  Remember Rocky Point is only a 4 hour drive from Phoenix or Tucson.

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If you any questions Contact Us at Blog@Puerto-Penasco.com

Research came from Wikipedia and from Sunora Bacanora.