About Tequilas & Mezcal: It’s time for Cinco de Mayo so interest in the spikey Agave plant should spike this weekend and next. What is your drink of choice as you toast the signature spirit of Mexico? Tequila, Mezcal or maybe a fun cocktail? Here are a few options to consider:
Tequila Blanco: When your Tequila is Blanco (clear) it is usually unaged Agave distillate. it can be sipped straight, on the rocks with a little lime or in a number of cocktails, look for “100% Agave” on the label we suggest the Herradura Silver or the Astral Blanco. The big exceptions are clarified Tequilas. These are Tequilas that have been aged but have the color (from the barrels) filtered out. This preserves the distinct taste of Agave, slightly vegetal, fruity and a little white pepper, as well as the benefits of the barrel aging, creamy texture, slight vanilla flavors. In standard age Tequilas the barrel flavors predominate. For a clarified aged tequila try Casa Dragones!
Tequila Reposado: Reposado means “rested” in Spanish and it spends a little time in used oak barrels, upto 1 year, usually in ex Bourbon barrels. we suggest the Suerte Reposado for either sipping or mixing This style retains some of the fruit, herb and spice notes of a Blanco with the texture and smoothness and flavors that barrel aging brings. It usually for sipping though can be used in some cocktails. NOT a good Margarita Tequila, usually cost more than a simple Blanco Tequila
Tequila Anejo and Super Anejo: Anejo means “aged” in Spanish and it spends more time in used oak barrels from 1 to 4 years “Super Anejo” is aged longer than 4 years, usually in ex Bourbon barrels. Aging gives the Tequila a creamy smooth texture and some vanilla, spice and caramel notes. It is usually for sipping neat but makes some cool twists on classic cocktails. Try an Old Fashioned or Boulevardier with Anejo tequila. NOT good for Margaritas. Can be quite pricey
Mezcal Joven, Reposado or Anejo: Mezcal is like Tequila but with some important differences. It is produced outside of Jalisco (all Tequila must be produced in Jalisco province). But the difference in the style is huge. Mezcal is made from a variety of varieties of Agave (Tequila only uses cultivated Blue Weber Agave) some are cultivated some are wild and as with grapes and barley, different varieties have different flavors. Also the necessary baking of the processed Agave is produced using a smoky fire, in a covered pit sort of like a clambake. Whereas in Jalisco the agave for Tequila is baked in an oven. Think of it as the wild west of Agave juice where there are many fewer rules and some old school production methods. Or think of Mezcal as the Islay whisky of Mexico because that baking technique imbues Mezcal with varying degrees of smokiness in the flavor. It is an acquired taste (like smoky Scotch) but concedores love it. Also the degree of smokiness runs the gamut from diesel fumes to just a whiff of smoke. It also come in “Joven” or unaged, “Reposado” or a little aged and “Anejo” or aged. for a good intro try the Ilegal Joven The quality style and price vary and they are great for sipping alone or in cocktails. See our Cinco de Mayo Tequila & Mezcal Sale here…
Tequila cocktails: Here are two cool drinks that are NOT Margaritas and worth a try. Salud!
The Smokey Negroni: This is a twist on the classic Gin Negroni with Mezcal in place of the Gin. Use a lightly smokey Joven Mezcal or if you have a smokey one go 1/2 and 1/2 with some good Tequila Blanco.
HOW TO MAKE IT Build in a rocks over ice glass Mezcal (or Tequila/Mezcal mix) Vermouth and Campari, garnish with a slice of orange
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- 5 oz moderately smokey Mezcal or if your Mezcal is muy smokey 0.75 oz each of Mezcal and Tequila Blanco
- 1 oz Campari
- 1 oz good sweet vermouth (I like Carpano Antica)
- orange slice garnish
The Paloma: Use a good quality Tequila Blanco and always fresh grapefruit juice. This cocktail is much less boozy than a Margarita or the Negroni (above) and is quite refreshing and light.
HOW TO MAKE IT Add Tequila Blanco, grapefruit juice and fresh lime juice to a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Top with grapefruit soda, and garnish with grapefruit.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- 5 oz Tequila Blanco
- 1 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
- 5 oz fresh Lime Juice
- Grapefruit Soda
Garnish: Grapefruit Slice or Wedge