MAKING THE TREASURED SPIRIT: Gathering the giant piñas at Arette
Courtesy Arette

And why not? With so much to do — ­tequila tasting, visiting storied bars, horseback riding and walking the timeworn cobblestone streets to hear impromptu guitar performances — it’s worth lingering.

We start lunch at Cuervo with delicious guacamole and wash it down with a marga­rita blended with roasted agave and stirred with an agave stalk. Bartender Hugo Sanchez gyrates side to side as he shakes the drink. “If he doesn’t dance,” Sonia says, “it doesn’t work.” On our way out, Hugo asks if we want to see something special and leads us down to a cellar housing huge, dusty, antique, pear shaped bottles. In an oak barrel is Cuervo’s Reserva de la Familia.

He pulls the big cork out, dips in a long narrow ladle called a ladrón and pours a glass of amber perfection. We’re late for the train back to Guadalajara, but I can’t bear to leave before finishing.

The next morning, we start at Sauza. The three-hour tour includes a visit to the fields, where you can try your hand at harvesting. It’s hard work — I can’t imagine how los jimadores cut 200 tons a day.

For the tour of Sauza’s compound, called La Perseverancia, we don hard hats and start with a taste of Casa Sauza Extra Añejo, a ­limited-edition 3-year-old tequila. “That’s the way we start the week here at La Perseverancia,” says our tour guide, Karina Sanchez, a brand-experience associate. Covering one wall is a huge mural that evokes the history of tequila, starting with lightning striking an agave plant and ending with an image of Venus-like maidens who represent the four states of drinking tequila: ­happiness, sadness, lust and lack of inhibition.

Driving out of Tequila, we pass endless fields of azure agave plants. “Grape fields are all over the world, but agave grows only here,” Julio remarks. “It gives you a sense of place. When you see agave fields, you know where you are — it reminds you everything comes from the land.”