Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tequila 001

I like Tequila.  Always have.  Maybe that's because I don't tend to go overboard and never had a bad Tequila night in college like some of my friends.  It also has a distinct flavor, is gluten-free, and goes well with citrus and/or club soda ala Robb Wolfs NorCal Margarita.  I always knew to avoid the cheep stuff (which often winds up to be cheep vodka flavored like Tequila);  however, I rarely got much more exotic than Jose or Patron.

Last week I was on leave and visiting home in wonderful Portland, Oregon.  One of my sisters invited me to a Tequila tasting at Trebol--a very cool tequila bar that boasts organic mexican food and an assortment of Luche Libre masks.  That's right, there are people out there who sip and taste Tequila and don't just chase it down with salt and lime or take it off the body of an inebriated coed.  When you get into it, many of the finer Tequila's have a rich assortment of flavors on par with a very fine Scotch.


 After warming up our pallets with some Sangrita (ours was a cocktail of tomato juice, lime juice, orange juice, and salt) and some fresh-made warm salsa, we were givena series of samples from the Tequila 7 Leguas line.  We had a Blanco, a Reposado, and an Anejo.  Our table prefered the Blanco to the Reposado and were in agreement that the Anejo was very good as well.  In between tastings, Clayton Szczech (of Experience Tequila), explained some of the finer points of the Tequlia craft.

I am still by no means an expert (hence the name of this Course Tequila 001 and not 101 or 201).  However, I learned several interesting things about our favorite cactus liquor and thought I'd pass them on.  Enjoy! (responsibly)

  • Tequila is one of several types of liquors in the Mezcal family which are made from agave.  Tequila is made specifically from the blue agave plant.
  • Tequilas are either 100% Blue agave, or they are mixed/mixto, which means that they contain at least 51% blue agave and the rest ...
  • Gold Tequilas (Jose Cuervo) are typically mixto and may contain colorings, flavorings, and other alcohols such as rum.
  • Tequila 7 Lequas (Blanco) -- Named after Poncho Villa's favorite horse
  • If you want the agave spirit in it's purest form, then go with a Tequila Blanco (white or silver).  Blanco Tequila is made from 100% blue agave and has not yet been aged so you get a pure product.
  • Yet, many things get better with age.  A Tequila Reposado signifies that the pure product (tequila blanco) has been rested and aged between 2 months and 11 months.  Many Tequilas are aged in used bourbon casks, which may explain their deep scotch-like flavor.
  • Tequila Añejo means "extra aged", and refers to any pure tequila that has been aged greater than one year.  With age the Tequila becomes smoother, richer, and more complex.
Watch this video for a quick description of the Norcal Margarita:

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