Two weeks ago my wife Meredith and I hosted a group of friends for a Tequila tasting. Our group tries to get together once a month for a tasting, usually wine. But because the previous owners of my house must have had a fascination for Mexican culture, a Tequila tasting was fitting. Now you may be asking yourself, why didn't you just change your kitchen? Maybe it is because we just moved in...not the case. It grew on us, like a mold. It has a entertaining shock value when our guests come over. Since we have lived in the house for the last three years most people assume either we decorated the kitchen to look like a Mexican fiesta, or we liked it enough to leave it. Well, in truth it was in good condition so we always just figured we could do it later, so there it sits at the bottom of our laundry list of tasks we want to accomplish.
Enough about our kitchen, on to Tequila. Each of the guests brought a bottle of Tequila bringing the total number of bottles to 7. I had doctored a store bought Margarita mix to taste more authentic. Usually when I make Margaritas I just squeeze a whole lime in a glass on top of Tequila. However limes were $.59 per and we had quite a bit of company coming over. So I squeezed about 10 limes in to a pitcher and filled the rest with about 4 ounces of orange juice, a dash of sweetened lime and the mix. The key to making this concoction, which everyone loved by the way, was I then diluted it with water, plain old tap water. It still had the sour kick but without all of the sugar.
There are basically three styles of Tequila available: Blanco, Reposado and Anejo. Blanco is clear, young and smooth, usually used for mixing. Reposado is aged between 1 and 2 years in wood. It is a good quality for the price and usually is a sipper but makes for a more sophisticated mixer. Finally there is Anejo which is usually aged 3 or more years. There is also Joven abocado which is Blanco (a younger style) but with caramel coloring but that tends to be lower quality. Anyway, we had the 'big 3' represented.
It was really great to try all of the styles together, it was even better that the tasting was at my house so I didn't have to drive later. But in all seriousness I found a new appreciation for Tequila. Spending most of my life thinking Cuervo was the standard I found out that it is really not good, and not good for you. The first time I had a party with Jose I ended up in an ocean in Mexico, I think it was the Pacific. The second time was as disastrous which lead me to the conclusion that I have a wonderful time when I drink Tequila, just no one else around me does. Then I met Cielo. Cielo is a 100% pure Agave Tequila from the village of Galisco (just west of Mexico city). In order to be a true Tequila it must come from this village everything else is Mezcal. Cielo was an Anejo, aged 4 years in wood. This beautifully golden spirit sparked a new found appreciation for Tequila with me. All night long I slowly sipped, savored and enjoyed. I had no idea that Tequila could be so complex. This is leaps and bounds above the 1800 I use to think was the quality standard.
Let me give a shout out to Patron however. In a mess of $100+ Tequilas it held its own. A great sipper or mixer. We also had the Reposado and Anejo by Milagro, outstanding stuff. I saw the bottle and was hooked, it looks like there was a lightning storm in the bottle. I really enjoyed the Anejo and found it to be one of the highest quality available in Central Minnesota. But yet I still am drawn back to my friend, Cielo. I have it in my kitchen, about have gone (or half full if you are the optimist). It sits, waiting for me to splurge. For me it was quality Scotch or some great VSOP Cognac, not Tequila. But there she sits, taunting me, calling my name. I never thought I would say this but I am now a fan of Tequila, and at the end of my meal I may think twice about ordering a fine Scotch or Cognac, perhaps Tequila is my new digestive. This led me to the conclusion, good Tequila is good, and bad Tequila is bad. Until next time, Hasta Luego!