Tequila Express- Guadalajara Part III
If you happen to be in Guadalajara and have an extra day, the Tequila Express is the perfect thing to do. We tried it out last year while we were in Guadalajara for the Pan American Games, and although I was worried it was going to be a tourist trap, we were pleasantly surprised.
The Tequila Express is an actual train and an all-day experience: it's kind of like wine tasting in a limo except on a train with tequila. If you happen to be a little sleepy when you meet at the station at 9AM, the lively mariachi group there to meet you will quickly wake you up.
As we boarded the train, we soon learned that the Tequila Express is very serious about tequila, meaning we were expected to consume tequila immediately upon entering. In fact, one of the great perks of the experience is that it is open bar all day long.
I requested a made-to-order margarita, my husband Tony got a beer, and my adorable little Mexican cousins Lorenzito and Alonsito were happy with their sodas. In case you do want something alcoholic in a can though, there is a nice selection of mango and other juices pre-mixed with tequila (I had never seen these before but apparently they are very popular in Mexico!) They also hand out plenty of snacks for sustenance.
The first stop on the Tequila Express is the Hacienda San Jose del Refugio- Casa Herradura, a tequila distillery dating back all the way to the 1800's. The trip takes about 1 1/2 hours and was narrated by a guide who told very interesting anecdotes about the history of the Hacienda (in both English and Spanish). The mariachis also came onboard and traveled from car to car taking requests and entertaining.
At one point, we were surprised to hear an announcement that there was an Olympian and Pan American Gold Medalist onboard. It happened to be my husband Tony, and he was soon surrounded by fans asking to take a picture with him and see his gold medal. He turned out to be very popular throughout the entire trip!
Once we arrived at the Hacienda, we began a tour of the property to learn about how tequila is produced. We learned about how the agave is harvested and got a peek at the entire production process from start to finish. It was also fun to explore the 19th century distillery and see all of the old tools and machines.
Once the tour concluded, it was time for lunch, which was a surprisingly good Mexican buffet. They even had cafe de olla (a spiced sweet Mexican coffee) and pan de muertos (special sweet bread made for the Day of the Dead). There was a giant stage at the center of the dining area that was soon filled with mariachis, ballet foklorico dancers and suertes charras (a National Mexican sport of rodeo roping).
After lunch and the show there is time to wander the grounds a little more and then head back on the train. All in all, a unique experience that turned out to be a lot of fun!