AGAVE AND TEQUILA ARE INTERTWINED THROUGHOUT MEXICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE, dating back over 9,000 years to the Aztecs and their predecessors. Through a stunning collection of photographs and passages from the personal journals of photographer Douglas Menuez, HEAVEN, EARTH, TEQUILA bears witness to the traditions and culture of tequila. From the harvest in the agave fields, to the grand haciendas and distilleries in the town of Tequila and state of Jalisco, HEAVEN, EARTH, TEQUILA takes readers on a visual journey of discovery.
The project started when two friends, a gringo and a Mexican, became intrigued by the description of ancient techniques for making tequila involving naked men in vats of agave juice from a novel by Salman Rushdie. They thought they knew México but came to realize they actually knew very little aside from surface cliches. Their
subsequent research revealed that the novel’s depiction of tequila making was true, and the friends’ journey was launched. They found that studying tequila’s history was the perfect method for better understanding the extremely complex life, history and mestizo culture of the Mexican people.
HEAVEN, EARTH, TEQUILA is not, nor does it attempt to be, a definitive history of tequila or México, nor is it a cookbook or travel guide, rather it is a signpost, an invitation, pointing the reader toward the heart of México. It is a glimpse, an appetizer, a mirage, a sense of place and timeless tradition. Through generations of bloody conflict, from the rise of the Aztec to the Spanish conquest, from the struggle for independence to the Mexican Revolution, tequila has remained an enduring element of Mexican life and the one thing that all Mexicans share.
HEAVEN, EARTH, TEQUILA invokes the people, sights and sounds of the author’s journey deep into the heart of México. Over 70 color and black-and-white images interwoven with Menuez journal have been developed into a large format fine-art photography book with a compelling introduction by Pulitzer Prize nominee Victor Villaseñor, to be published in October 2005 and accompanied by an exhibition and multimedia show.