Tequila is commonly misrepresented as being made from cactus. It’s actually made from a plant that shares more in common with aloe vera than the cactus that is seemingly synonymous with the Mexican desert. That plant is agave.
Agave syrup is slightly sweeter than sugar and has a similar texture. For the vegans amongst you, it’s a great substitute for honey and has a lower glycemic index than sugar, making it slightly better for you.
Agave’s usage in the cocktail world first came to light in its inclusion in the now famous Margarita variant known as a Tommy’s Margarita. Tommy was the proprietor of one of the world’s best tequila bars, eponymously named and located in the outskirts of San Francisco. Word has it that Tommy loved a Margarita but had diabetes and he was searching for a more natural alternative to Cointreau so he could continue to enjoy his favourite drink. As it turns out, the syrup comes from the same plant as tequila, so it made a more appropriate flavour match and more well rounded sweetness. After you try a Tommy’s, it’s more than likely you’ll never look back.
You can find agave syrup in health food stores and now that it’s mainstream it should be in your local supermarket. It’s a great sweetener in any cocktail, but particularly relevant in any tequila-based drinks you come across. ..
Try it in these tidy little classics: