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A new book tells the long history of agave spirits – and it's not just margaritas and tequila shots

When you think of tequila, you might think of shots, or college, or maybe a salty margarita by the beach. But Gary Paul Nabhan thinks of centuries of history and tradition and terroir.

Nabhan is an acclaimed ethnobotanist here in Arizona and, in his newest book, “Agave Spirits: The Past, Present, and Future of Mezcals,” he and co-author and restaurateur David Suro Piñera dive deep into the history — and future — of everything from tequilas to mezcals, bacanoras and more. In June 2024, Nabhan and Suro Piñera won a James Beard Award in the Beverage without Recipes book category.

The Show spoke with Nabhan about the book in September 2023.

Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.
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