Let’s talk tequila, shall we? I know, I know: you had a bad experience with tequila in college/your 20’s/Tijuana/Cinco de Mayo/whatever. Yeah, yeah, we all have those tequila stories. But I’ll bet if you’re really honest with yourself, you also had those nights with vodka, rum, everclear, spodi, Mad Dog… But now we are adults (marginally) and it’s time to put that baggage behind us. Time to put Cuervo behind us.
Trust me, there is a world of tequila out there that does not involve dual streams of liquid poured into your awaiting mouth. While tequila may have knocked me down a time or so, I’ve always been able to come back; however, only since starting my cocktail experimentation have I learned more about this spirit, so here’s a brief summary AND a great tequila-entry drink awaiting.
All tequilas are not equal
Six months ago I was unaware that there are different types of tequila. I’ve learned enough to now seek out what I like. Here’s a rundown of tequila types and Wikipedia provides more details:
Blanco/Silver tequila: This is the “youngest” tequila, in that it is aged only a maximum of 2 months before filtered, bottled and distributed. This tequila usually has the strongest taste and sharpest bite, and is the core of most margaritas.
Reposado tequila: This is “medium” aged tequila, and can rest in wood or steel barrels from 2-11 months prior to bottling. These tequilas, called aged or rested, tend to be smoother, darker and mellower than the blanco varieties. Do not confuse the reposados with the Joven/Oro (or Gold) types, which are blancos with coloring and additives (like Cuervo Gold). Bleh.
Añejo tequila: Aged for at least one year in smaller barrels, these tequilas are very smooth and complex and often fall into the “sipping neat” category, if that’s your thing. Extra añejo tequilas are aged for 3 or more years.
Although purists might be appalled (purists are such buzz-kills, aren’t they?), I now frequently substitute reposado tequila in recipes calling for blanco because I like the mellower taste and additional flavors of the reposado (and a bottle usually costs just a couple dollars more).
Ready to put your tequila fears behind you? Try out the Purple Haze, a recipe from the DRY Soda Company, a Seattle-based provider of all-natural, more adult (not XXX adult, silly) sodas. Red Hook thought this cocktail did a good job of moderating the tequila.
Purple Haze1¾ oz tequila (reposado or blanco)
½ oz Chambord
2 oz lime juice 2 oz simple syrup
4 oz Lavender DRY Soda
Sugar Rim and a Lime for garnish (optional)
Prepare a bucket glass with sugar rim and add ice. Pour lemon and lime juices, simple syrup, tequila, Chambord, and Lavender DRY into glass and stir gently. Garnish and serve.
Note: the original recipe calls for 4 ounces of “sweet and sour mix,” usually meaning 2 ounces of lemon or lime juice (or a combination of the two) and 2 ounces of simple syrup. I broke it out here because I felt the drink was a bit too sweet, so next time I will add less simple syrup to taste.
So, try out a different, better quality tequila and a good recipe to put your tequila-phobias behind you. Then you will never have to hide on Cinco de Mayo again.