Tequila is often associated with rowdy celebrations, body shots, and heavy hangovers; within Mexico, however, where the drink was born, tequila is typically sipped rather than shot, enjoyed casually among friends, and used to commemorate a wide range of occasions. Despite these competing images, tequila is universally regarded as an enduring symbol of lo mexicano—literally, Mexicanness. But why tequila? And how? In ¡Tequila!: Distilling the Spirit of Mexico I set out to answer these questions, in the process revealing that its distinctive position both within Mexico and abroad is hardly a given.