I just returned from an amazing vacation in Cozumel, Mexico where I saw two of my closest friends get married. If you ever have a chance to visit the tropical paradise that is Cozumel, please do. The island, east of Mexico's mainland, is beautiful and unique with a history deeply rooted in Mayan culture. Plus, roundtrip flights from BWI are only in the $500-600 range.
There are tons of things to do in Cozumel, including snorkeling and scuba diving, visiting the mainland ruins of Tulum, exploring the vibrant downtown area, and, of course, enjoying the delicious food and drink options. For the wedding's rehearsal dinner, we were invited to Casa Mission restaurant, where they provided a lavish four-course meal. In between courses, we went over to the restaurant's tequileria for the free tequila tour.
Our guide Manny Barredo took our group on an extremely entertaining 20-minute tour where he explained the origins and process of making tequila. While most people know that tequila comes from the blue agave plant, we found out that it actually comes from the agave's root, or the piña (which looks like a giant pinecone). The piña hearts get split open and steamed, then that liquid ferments for several days. A double-distillation process then results in high-proof tequila, which can be diluted to the desired strength.
As with any alcohol tour, the best part came at the end when we got to sample five different varieties made on site. The tequila tasted pure with very little burn. Obviously, you could also purchase a bottle to take home. It suffices to say that I'll be laying off tequila for a little while now.