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Damian

All about Tequila

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I enjoy Cazadores Reposado... they sell it at Costco here for $29.99/liter.

Goes well with the mexican limes, carne asada, and fresh tortillas!

I also enjoy Patron, Don Julio, and El Tesoro on rare occasions. I can't even look at any type of Jose Cuervo anymore.

And Cruzan Rojo... my college roommate would make omlettes with the worms. :wacko:


Sitting on the fence between gourmet and gourmand, I am probably leaning to the right...

Lyle P.

Redwood City, CA

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I also enjoy Patron, Don Julio, and El Tesoro on rare occasions.  I can't even look at any type of Jose Cuervo anymore.

Maybe a pathological case, but I had Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia as part of a tequila sampler at the above-mentioned Oyamel (I let the bartender pick and I think he just gave me the most expensive each of blanco, reposado, and anejo :p), and it had much more in common with something like cognac than tequila! I won't touch Cuervo for my party-grade tequila needs, but their high end stuff is great!

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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Hi all, thought I'd share this. Lately it's been oppresively hot here in VA so I've taken a liking to the following tequila drink which I think I first saw made on NapaStyle on the Fine Living Network.  It's the perfect thing in hot weather:

2oz of Anjeo Tequila (I'm using Herradura or Don Julio, Silver tequila would work too)

The juice of half a lime (I use a whole one if there isn't a ton of juice)

Then fill the rest of the glass with Ruby Red Grapefruit juice....

This reminds me of a drink from Killer Cocktails, the Paloma, which uses grapefruit soda instead of the grapefruit juice, and includes a pinch of salt in the drink. It's great, as well.

Interesting, any clue how one procures grapefruit soda or even makes it themselves? Would it just be a simple combination of soda water and grapefruit juice?

I'm sure grapefruit juice and some fizzy water would work just fine as a replacement for grapefruit soda. It might well be an improvement. It shouldn't be difficult, though, to scare up a grapefruit soda. You can probably find Fresca and Squirt at any supermarket. In the Upper Midwest we also have Canfield's 50/50 and Jolly Good Sour Power. The Mexican brand Jarritos also has a good grapefruit soda. I don't know how widely it's distributed but as I can't swing a dead cat* without hitting a mercado or carniceria it's a pretty easy find for me.

Palomas are an exceptionally fine and refreshing summer beverage.

Kurt

Note: that dead cat comment is a joke. I rarely, if ever, swing dead cats. :biggrin:


“I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake--which I also keep handy.” ~W.C. Fields

The Handy Snake

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I tried mixing with Fresca this weekend and wasn't that impressed with the results.

I used Milagro Silver, a half lime (juiced) and Fresca. It was too sweet for me, so I mixed in some ruby red grapefruit juice and splashed a little fresca on top for fiz and it was much better.


Edited by Fred (log)

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Can anyone give a recommendation or offer comments about the tequila from South Africa currently on the market?

Triple distilled, 100% agave, silver and resposado.

I'm having some reservations just because it's not from Mexico, but I may give it a try this summer. The price is right, $39.50 Cdn per bottle.

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Can anyone give a recommendation or offer comments about the tequila from South Africa currently on the market?

Triple distilled, 100% agave, silver and resposado.

I'm having some reservations just because it's not from Mexico, but I may give it a try this summer. The price is right, $39.50 Cdn per bottle.

Tequila from South Africa?

I didn't know there was such a thing.

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The interesting point here is that they can't call it tequila, although it's in the tequila section. By law, they cannot call it tequila (apparently), so the label says, 100% agave, triple distilled liquor.

I've forgotten the name of the product, I will call the store and get it.

15 minutes later,

The store in question was able to get the name. It is called AGAVE SUNRISE and it is not only 100% agave, but blue agave, wild and of course, hand harvested from Karoo in South Africa near the Valley of Desolution - sounds rather grim, doesn't it?

The label calls it a spirit aperitf.

The store owner said they have a website, but I was unable to find it.

Yes, and the price is for 750 ml. I'm kind of looking forward to a silver tasting this summer.


Edited by shelora (log)

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My summer drink of choice lately has been gold tequila and Fresca.  Quite refreshing!

Bless you, woman! I couldn't believe that nobody had mentioned Fresca as a great mixer! :biggrin: I love ANYTHING grapefruit.

There is another grapefruit soda that I don't know the name of...they sell it at Trader Joe's; I'll try to get the name for you and post it. Edit: HANSEN'S. Came to me as I hit Post.

I just finished a tequila/Fresca and am feeling quite a bit better, thank you very much. :biggrin:

There's apparently a brand of Pink grapefruit soda that's sold in big flats at BJ's. They were using it as the mixer at the PLCB store which is where I first tried the tequila/grapefruit soda combo and found it delicious. I think it was the Star Ruby soda mentioned upthread. It was very tasty.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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The store owner said they have a website, but I was unable to find it.

Here are a couple interesting pages...

First should you want to order 24 000-litres, you can contact them here:

http://www.graaffreinet.co.za/agavedistillers/index.html

And another page from a south african info portal with more details about the whole operation and history of the firm...Apparently Blue Agave grows more or less as a weed in the Karoo area.

http://www.safrica.info/what_happening/new...arootequila.htm

To split botanical hairs, the South Africans are making their Agave spirit from Agave Americana or Century Plant, not Agave tequilana 'Weber's Blue'. This variety of Agave is allowed in Mescal; but, not true NOM Tequila.

added note about Agave botany.


Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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So why is straight tequila so expensive, considering that virtually no age goes into it? The oldest tequilas I've ever seen made barely hit the 5 year old mark; while there is a seperate category for tequila that's "rested" for 6 months in wood.

I know that the blue agave blight from a few years back caused some problems, but still! Some of the prices are similar to those of illegal absinthe or 10 year old scotch, and many people seem to think that good tequila for less than 30 dollars a fifth is an unlikely occurence, even for a blanco.

Is it that expensive in Mexico? Or is it just a case of insightful Mexicans realizing that the US baby boomers from the 70s who got introduced to tequila thinking it was a hallucinogen are now 40-50somethings with cash to spend?

Is it due to distillation costs? Like do they use a distillation proof that's significantly lower than say, bourbon?

I can understand if maybe the agave plant were difficult and expensive to harvest, ferment, and cultivate, but if that were the case, how did pulque ever become a popular drink there?

Someone help me out here?

Many thanks in advance. :)


Edited by mbanu (log)

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I can understand if maybe the agave plant were difficult and expensive to harvest, ferment, and cultivate, but if that were the case, how did pulque ever become a popular drink there?

There is a difference between the way they harvest the agave nectar for pulque and the way the do for tequila. I believe, for pulque, the process is more similar to tapping maple trees. A bit of the center of the plant is hollowed out, and then the liquid is siphoned off as it collects. I think I saw this on "A Cook's Tour" episode.

For tequila, they harvest 7-10 year old plants, cut off the leaves, roast the pinon, pulp them, etc. Also, for pulque and Mezcal, they are less particular about which Agave plants they harvest nectar from. Tequila is supposed to come only from a single variety, Agave tequilana 'Weber's Blue'.

From other things I have read recently on the web, more than the blight, it was a cycle of boom and bust that resulted in the "shortage". First there was too much Agave, prices went down, so farmers stopped growing it; but, at the same time there was an explosion of brands and popularity of tequila. Then there wasn't enough Agave and the blight. Now they are probably on track to normal again; but, it's like gasoline. Once they've got consumers paying a higher price, what incentive is there for them to lower it? The goodness of their hearts?

Erik

edited for usage


Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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In Canada, the prices are even higher. And the selection, on the west coast at least, is pathetic.

We usually end up going to the U.S. to buy tequila - the prices there more in keeping with my budget - or going to Mexico.

But I really don't think tequila should be that cheap, considering the process involved in making a quality product. It might not be aged that long as you say, but growing it, handharvesting and then the whole process of roasting, double distillation, sometimes triple distillation etc., is a huge process and the producers should be charging competitive prices. How cheap do you think it should be?

There are a growing contingent of single estate producers out there now, that are making a great product. Why should they cheap-out in price? After all look at the prices of organic gins.

In Canada, we are still a long way from appreciating the finer points of tequila. That hoser mentality of shooting back the bad stuff with a lick of salt and lime is a huge reality. And you do have to shoot it, that bad stuff available on most bar menus is so harsh.

This is partially due to our liquor board, plus price and availability. If they could just lower the prices in Canada, we might be able to appreciate its finer points a lot easier. I guess.

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Some of the prices are similar to those of illegal absinthe or 10 year old scotch, and many people seem to think that good tequila for less than 30 dollars a fifth is an unlikely occurence, even for a blanco.

Well that's not entirely true. It really depends where you live and the prices of the tequila there.

In PA, the only tequila under $30 I'd recommend is 1800 Silver. However, I only use it for margaritas. You can get Cazadores Reposado, Cuervo Traditional, and Sazua Hornitos for less than $30, but I really don't like any of them, although alot of people do. El Grito was another supposedly good inexpensive tequila (I never tried it) that was under $30 here, but you can even find it in the state anymore. Milagro Silver and Reposado (both were under $30) seem to have done pretty well, but their prices have gone up here.

If you live in Montomery County MD, or near it, then you can buy alot of good tequila for low prices. I, fortunately, will be near there very soon.

Check out the sales they're running this week on certain tequilas:

http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/Apps/DLC...ts_specials.cfm

El Tesoro Anejo for $30 - UNREAL.

In general though, good tequila is more expensive, to a certain point. The tough thing about recommending a good tequila is that they can be vastly different from one brand to the next, not to mention the differences between blancos/platas, reposados, and anejos.

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Is it that expensive in Mexico?

Some tequila is almost as, or even more expensive than it is here in the US. Don Julio runs ~$38 USD, at least in Mazatlan. I have been told that Casa Noble Anejo is even more expensive in Mexico (not sure where exactly) than in the US.

Some brands are alot cheaper. Gran Centenario Reposado was $22 USD a liter at the Cabo San Lucas Duty Free, and $22 for 750 mL in Mazatlan, while it's $45-50 for 750 mL in the US.

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If you live in Montomery County MD, or near it, then you can buy alot of good tequila for low prices.  I, fortunately, will be near there very soon. 

Montomery County is pretty good. As a neat comparison, the Milagro Anejo that MC has on sale for $23.99, regularly at $30.55 retails a couple miles away in Virginia for $49.95! :shock: Over the river and through the woods* to Montgomery County I go!

*Potomac River and Rock Creek Park, I guess. Have to find a store near the Metro, but even then, I can rent a Zipcar for an hour and STILL come out $10 ahead!


Edited by Chef Shogun (log)

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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Well, in case anyone wondered, I found the answer out to my question.

Tequila is so expensive mostly because of two things. :)

The first is that the Spanish settlers who popularized tequila made it the same way they made rum, by crushing the plants and extracting the juice, instead of simply tapping them. Unfortunately, unlike sugarcane, it takes new agave plants 8 to 10 years to mature.

The traditional distillation proof of tequila is significantly lower than in most other industries (110 proof ie 55% abv).


Edited by mbanu (log)

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Tequila is supposed to come only from a single variety, Agave tequilana 'Weber's Blue'.

Really... I just purchased an Agave Weberii for my backyard... wonder if that's the same thing... and I wonder if I can make tequila if I ever get tired of looking at it... :laugh:


...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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Really... I just purchased an Agave Weberii for my backyard... wonder if that's the same thing... and I wonder if I can make tequila if I ever get tired of looking at it...  :laugh:

Well, you can always try. Though, I think tapping it for Agave nectar might be more do-able.

It is a different species of Agave, though. Agave weberii (weberi) vs. Agave tequilana. Weber Agave vs. Weber's Blue Agave. I don't think A. tequilana is grown much as a landscape plant.

You do know yours is going to look like this some day? 5' Tall and as wide...

http://tucsoncactus.org/plants_db_images/a...eri.kk.7-04.jpg

And that's before it puts up its 30' tall flowering stalk...

:shock:


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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<cough> uh, I didn't think it got that big. Oh my. It's only about 2 feet tall right now (and mama agave has little offshoot baby agaves next to it).

Well, it'll be big enough to tap.


...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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I assume everyone else here can google "tequila blight" just like me; but, about the best source for information I've found is Ian Chadwick's Tequila site.

This page of Industry News had a great breakdown of the history and challenges the tequila industry is facing.

http://www.ianchadwick.com/tequila/news.html


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I assume everyone else here can google "tequila blight" just like me; but, about the best source for information I've found is Ian Chadwick's Tequila site.

This page of Industry News had a great breakdown of the history and challenges the tequila industry is facing.

http://www.ianchadwick.com/tequila/news.html

The tequila forums on that site are a really helpful source of information as well.

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Personally, I'm a blanco fan. No ageing designation (blanco, reposado, anejo) is better than another. It's strictly a metter of how much you like the real agave flavor, as obviously with ageing, the aromas and flavors mellow and take on oak notes.

With that in mind, I'm also a fan of the more "boutique" producers. In particular, El Tesoro is outstanding, at every level, but specifically blanco. El Tesoro distills to 80 proof, as opposed to distilling to 120 proof and cutting with water (the more common approach). I think this goes a long way to preserving and even elevating the flavors.

As blancos go, Casa Noble is not to be missed, too! It just arrived in Massachusetts, and I was thrilled with the breadth of flavors, the roundness on the palate, and the smooth finish.

As a producer, Patron stumbled a bit when they switched from Siete Leguas distillery to a more negociant approach, buying on the open market. They've recently finished their own distillery, so I have high hopes. It's a brand that has done great things for the 100% agave catagory.

Other favorite blancos include:

Chinaco

Hacienda del Cristeros (made by Herradura)

Don Julio

And when it comes to anejos, I tend to gravitate towards the absolute best, like El Tesoro Paradiso. I'm of the opinion that if you're going to age tequila, don't go half way.

Finally, as for "tequila" being made in South Africa, California, etc., I think that the verdict is still out as to whether or not this contributes something different or should be lumped into the "Parmesan cheese from anywhere but Italy" group.


Marty McCabe

Boston, MA

Acme Cocktail Company

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Picked up a bottle of the Herradura 92 proof blanco. Some first impressions.

It is an attractive retro bottle. From their website, it appears they are moving to these bottles for almost the whole Herradura line. I was a little disappointed that they use a fairly flimsy screw-on plastic cap.

Doing a side by side comparison with the regular 80 proof was interesting.

The flavors are fairly similar; but, the added proof really intensifies the bouquet of the liquor. Honestly, drinking it from a wine glass at room temperature, the intensity of the smell from the newly opened 92 proof is almost overwhelming. The floral and grassy character of the tequila are really accentuated.

Be interesting to compare it with Herradura's Hacienda del Cristeros product. Will do some mixing later this week and report back.

-Erik


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Some strategic shopping on a recent trip to Mexico, has done much to rekindle my love of tequila. I am really enjoying the Cuervo Tradicional, but consider Cabo Wabo my favorite. I also grabbed a liter of Cazadores, which is good but a hair too woody for me. I have never had El Tesoro but this thread has really inspired me to pick some up.

Question for all you tequila lovers -

The pre-made stuff is horrendous; any suggestions for a can't miss margarita mix? I am looking for something to mix roughly 50/50 with a nice tequila, allowing some of the tequila's complexity to come through while taking the edge off with a little citrus/sweet pop. I have been experimenting diligently the past few weeks, but alas, I forget to take notes...

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I'm lucky to be invited to an open-bar reception, where I can drink as much as I want of any of the tequillas on this list: http://www.rosamexicano.com/menus/dc.beverage.html. The problem with these receptions is that after a handful of shots of straight spirits it becomes difficult to taste the differences. And no, it doesn't not seem like good form to use spitoons.

So the question is, which three to four should I absolutely try?

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