Last updated: 08:00 PM ET, Mon June 27 2016

How Velas Resorts Is Turning Tequila Into a Culinary Art Form

Hotel & Resort | Velas Resorts | Kristina Rundquist | June 27, 2016

How Velas Resorts Is Turning Tequila Into a Culinary Art Form

Tequila – it’s for more than just downing shots. (Courtesy Thinkstock)/IMAGECAPTION]

Pee Wee Herman has danced to it, the Champs sang about it and countless people have deeply regretted overindulging in it. The fact is, ever since its U.S debut at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Americans have loved tequila. Really. Really. Loved tequila.

In fact, today Americans’ consumption of this distillate of the blue agave plant accounts for more than 80 percent of all exports. But it certainly wasn’t always this way. In fact, for centuries, the agave plant, a perennial succulent that thrives in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, was deemed sacred. In pre-Columbian times, Aztecs used every bit of the plant, both for food and shelter, and distilled its nectar into something akin to beer that was used in religious ceremonies.

Tequila as we know it today wasn’t introduced until the 17th century, when growers learned to cook, mash, ferment and distill the core (or piña). The process for making tequila hasn’t changed much since the early days. Jimadores still cultivate the plants, carefully tending them and cutting away the stalks to prevent the plant from flowering early and dying before it’s fully ripe. Waiting until just the right time, jimadores slice the leaves away using a special knife with a curved blade (a coa) to reveal the piña. Harvest too early, or too late, and the plant won’t have the proper amount of carbohydrates for fermentation. From there, it’s off to be mashed, and the juice allowed to ferment. The resulting liquid is then distilled and bottled as silver tequila, or left to age in wooden barrels, where it develops an amber color and mellow taste.

Many of us have sampled tequila in one form or another be it shots followed by lime and salt, or in margaritas, but the AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Riviera Maya is taking tequila to new heights with the introduction of a margarita cake menu and a Margarita Mousse.

SEE MORE: The Grand Riviera Maya

These to-die-for desserts will make you feel as if you’ve embarked on a vacation South of the Border, even if you haven’t left home. Light and airy, the mousse combines tart lime juice, condensed milk, Don Julio White tequila and orange liqueur, among other ingredients into a creamy meringue-topped confection that’s sure to delight everyone at the table.

The new margarita cake menu spells the end to boring wedding cakes with flavors such as chili mango, traditional lime, kiwi, coconut, lychee, strawberry, passion fruit, raspberry, orange basil, tamarind, apple, peach, and pineapple. Frosting options range from fondant to buttercream with a touch of tequila or Cointreau. Couples can pair their cake with mini-margaritas for their guests, as well. And with a margarita menu offering 12 amazing flavors, it’s impossible to go wrong. Choose from the signature Cocoa margarita or opt for Clamato Chilli Pepper, Peanut, Coffee, Avocado Pistachio, Cilantro Coriander, Coconut, Hibiscus, Chili Mango, Cantaloupe Watermelon, or Tamarind Mint.

For the more adventurous there’s the Huitlacoche Signature Margarita, which combines corn truffle with tequila, resulting in a slightly salty, very flavorful and unique drink served on the rocks.

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