It’s National Tequila Day: Time to Get Your Drink On!

25 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

10 things you need to know about tequila.

If you’re anything like me, early memories of tequila drinking bring back foggy images of high school house “ragers” a la Tom Cruise in “Risky Business.” Some of you might remember staring at the lifeless worm floating sadly on the bottom of a bottle, and wondered, who would drink that? Many of you still wince and cry, “It burns!” Tequila — and all the agave-based distilled spirits from Mexico, for that matter — offer so much more than a shot, a nasty worm and a burn.

I’m not going to put up a tree and hang decorations on it and I have no plans to hand out candy to any neighbor kids, I’m going to celebrate with a stiff drink or two. If you want to start with a very popular option, Ponak’s Mexican Kitchen on Southwest Boulevard serves what they call the “world’s best margaritas” on tap. Miguel Cedeño Cruz, DeLeón Tequila Master Distiller, notes that as more high-quality tequila enters the market, it has a snowball effect, attracting more people to the spirit. “As the availability of quality tequila rose, consumers began to learn and appreciate the differences in taste and call for it in their drink choices,” says Cruz, who has been immersed in the art of tequila making for over 25 years. Cucumber, pepper, florals, honey and vanilla are just a few of the notes that you’ll find in a well-crafted tequila. “It will transport you,” said Alex Valencia, owner of La Contenta in New York City and spirits expert. “Once you start tasting tequila, it gets into your soul — it’s piece of Mexico, my home.

As the brands of tequila available become more sophisticated and consumers become more discerning, mixologists are inspired to move beyond the margarita to a whole host of delicious tipples. “What was once a bottom-shelf spirit known for shooting with lime and salt has evolved into something that can be coveted and savored,” Cruz says. David Alan, manager of trade education and mixology at Patrón Tequila, told The Huffington Post that the tendency toward tequila shots is a remnant of days “when crappy tequila dominated the market.” He added, “The shooting ritual was a quick way to get it down the hatch so you didn’t have to taste it.

It will become a part of you too.” Dozens of passionate fans sit at the La Contenta bar nightly to sample tequila and mescal. “Bankers, CEOs, Wall Street types, techsters, artists — they’re here every night,” says Valencia. “It’s good to see so many people fall in love with authentic Mexican drinks. He explains that an increasing number of craft mixologists are experimenting with the differences between Blanco, which is not aged, and Reposado, which is aged for a few months, to create both classic and innovative cocktails, and Añejos, the most coveted tequila, aged for a minimum of one year, have opened the new tequila consumers’ eyes to the complexity and depth of flavors similar to Bourbon or Scotch.

It makes me happy.” Indeed, America’s tequila love has skyrocketed in the past 15 years: Imports of tequila have grown 92 percent since 2002 — with an average growth rate of 5.6 percent per year — according to the U.S. I found myself introduced to the exciting realm of tequila tasting by my son-in-law’s father who travels frequently to Mexico and there developed a taste for high-end agave products. Instead, seek out tequilas made completely from agave — they’re much smoother. “People who like something that’s more zesty and spicy generally go for blanco or silver tequilas,” which are virtually un-aged and retain the punchy agave flavors, Alan says.

If you’re in the mood to make your own, you can try this recipe for a margarita slush, which adds frozen lemonade and limeade for an especially refreshing option. I was under the impression that they all were fiery liquids that can only be consumed with lime wedges and lots of salt to cut the burn and after burn. That’s thanks, in no small part, to celebrities like Sean Combs, Justin Timberlake, and George Clooney getting in on the high-end tequila game, coming out with their own brands. 1. There are several levels of quality and some of the good ones, the really expensive, top shelf ones, are quite tasty by themselves as sipping beverages.

The word tequila probably comes from the Nahuatl (Aztec) language and translates to “the place where plants are harvested,” or possibly “the place where a lot of work is done,” according to Jose Maria Muria in his book, “A Drink Named Tequila.” And that pretty much sums up the sentiment behind tequila: A plant, a place and the people who make it. 2. For a little taste of Mexican flavors, go with the Bebida De Los Muertos, made with Olmeca Altos tequila, Cocchi americano, Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao, lemon, red pepper and hopped-grapefruit bitters.

No need to shoot these delicious beverages, they are best sipped slowly and with great concentration so as to taste the nuance and layers of flavor found in each of them. In other words, all tequilas are mezcals, but not all mezcals are tequila. (Just like all bourbons are whiskeys but not all whiskeys are bourbons. ) 3.How is tequila made? The fructose-rich pina — or heart — of the agave succulent, which resembles a pineapple, is roasted or steamed to release sugars for fermentation. A well-coordinated and skilled crew of jimadores can move through a plantation and harvest between three and four thousand kilograms of agave over six hours of hard labor. 5.

If you became legal drinking age in the 1970s you will probably have some first-hand knowledge of one of the more popular drinks of that era – the tequila sunrise. It was a staple drink at discos, fern bars and other places where the smart set gathered during the turbulent decade that was marked by bad fashion and even more questionable hairstyle choices.

It means old, so when you see anjejo or extra anjejo listed on the bottle, expect deeper, woodier, tannic notes like black tea and chocolate layered over the agave flavors. A bottle of reposado tequila is spirit that has matured in a cask between two and eleven months, gathering some slight vanilla, caramels, and other wood-associated flavors. 8. In Valencia’s hometown of Guadalajara, it is often sipped neat alongside a “sangrita,” a tomato-and-citrus beverage. “My mother, my grandmother, that’s how they even drink it,” Valencia says. “Lime and salt? On the night I visited La Contenta, Valencia poured samples of a high-end Deleon Tequila, purchased in 2014 by a joint venture between Sean Combs and Diageo, the world’s largest spirit company.

But the $200 bottle of tequila landed gently across our palates, cooling us with light vanillas and spice; bringing us gently away from a busy day and instead into a sultry and steamy lower east side evening. Garnish with a lime wheel. (recipe courtesy of Milagro Tequila) Commentary by Heather Greene, a whiskey sommelier and the author of “Whisk(e)y Distilled: A Populist Guide to the Water of Life.” She is also a speaker and consultant who travels around the world teaching people about whiskey.

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