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Archive for the ‘Tequila’ Category

Summer Cocktails #4: The Margarita (Part 2)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 29, 2017

Jerry Thomas 1887 Bartenders Guide

Part 1 of my Margarita Series postulated that the origins of the Margarita Cocktail should be traced to a mixed drink called the Tequila Daisy which is mentioned in 1936 in the Syracuse Herald. I argued the Tequila Daisy was almost certainly based upon an earlier Brandy based libation called the Brandy Daisy (1876, Jerry Thomas, Bartenders Guide (Second Edition)). The Tequila Daisy became to be known in Spanish Communities as the Margarita because the Spanish word for the daisy flower is the Spanish word, Margarita. To bolster my argument I pointed out that in 1953, the first known published recipe for the Margarita (in Esquire Magazine) appears to be a variation of the Jerry Thomas recipe with the French Brandy (and the spot of rum) replaced by Mexican Tequila.

Although the earliest known printed recipe for the Margarita appeared in 1953, there was an earlier known printed reference to the mixed drink which appeared in 1945 ad campaigns run by Jose Cuervo (Source: Anthony Dias Blue, The Complete Book of Spirits). The slogan of the advertisement,

“Margarita: It’s more than a girl’s name.”

implies that by 1945 the bar drink was so popular that at least one major Tequila producer sought to make that particular mixed drink synonymous with their brand.

Today, the Margarita contains the same basic ingredients as found in the early Esquire Magazine recipe:

1 ounce tequila, Dash of Triple Sec, Juice of 1/2 Lime or Lemon
Pour over crushed ice and stir, Serve in a Salt Rimmed Glass

However the present construction appears to have a better balance of flavour between the sour and the sweet:

2 parts Tequila, 1 part Lemon or Lime Juice, 1 part Orange Liqueur
Shake with Ice, Strain and serve in a Salt Rimmed Glass

Interestingly, this construction is almost identical to W.J. Tarling’s 1937 recipe for the Picador (found in W.J. Tarling’s, 1937 Cafe Royal Cocktail Book). It appears that Tarling’s Picador was created independent of the Margarita, although it should be noted though that the Tarling recipe never called for a Salt Rimmed glass which most bartenders consider to be an essential component of the modern cocktail.

Although the Picador vanished (until it was rediscovered by cocktail researchers), its form was adopted by the next generation of bartenders who apparently preferred to serve their patrons a better, more balanced Margarita. Although I would argue that the Tequila Daisy was the true genesis of the modern Margarita, I also tip my hat to W.J. Tarling for giving us the path to its present form. As indicated in Part 1, The Margarita is perhaps the most popular Cocktail in North America (if not the entire World.)

Although most cocktail books favour the use of lime juice for this libation, I sometimes use both lemon and lime when making Margarita Cocktails with Reposado Tequila spirits like Casamigos:

The Margarita

2 oz Casamigos Reposado Tequila
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Bols Triple Sec
Ice
Lime slice

Add the ingredients to a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a salt rimmed Margarita Glass
Garnish with a slice of Lime
(Note: salt on outside of glass only)

Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

has been in the news recently as the brand was recently acquired by Diageo Spirits in a deal which was rumored (italics because the key work is rumored) to be potentially (note again the italics) worth up to $1,000,000,000.00 (yep that Billion is in italics again). I thought the recent acquisition was a good excuse to revisit my reviews for the Casamigos brands.

Here is a link to my revised review for the Casamigos Tequila Reposado Spirit:

Review: Casamigos Reposado Tequila

” … The initial entry is a little soft and buttery with a stronger impression of caramel sweetness than the nose implied. Milk chocolate and a little bit of sea salt seem to ooze from the caramel making this a very interesting tequila to sip …

Chimo!

 

 

 

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Summer Cocktail #4: The Margarita (Part 1)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 24, 2017

The Margarita based upon the 1953 Esquire Magazine formulation.

The Margarita Cocktail is perhaps the most popular cocktail in the entire world. Unfortunately for cocktail historians, the origin of this famous mixed drink is clouded as researchers and drinks companies have offered conflicting stories as to where and when the original Margarita was served. I’ll try to unravel some of the mystery in this two-part posting. This posting (Part 1) posits that perhaps a libation called the Tequila Daisy was the genesis of the Margarita.

This argument is bolstered as one of the earliest mention of a Margarita style bar drink is the Tequila Daisy from articles in the Syracuse Herald in 1936 (Source: Imbibe). The Spanish word for the daisy flower is Margarita, and it is easy to see how the Tequila Daisy Cocktail could have quickly became known in Mexico (or Spanish-speaking communities in the Southern USA) as the Margarita. Although the Syracuse Herald failed to provide a recipe for the Tequila Daisy, we can make a good guess as to the its construction by noting that the popular cocktail upon which the Tequila Daisy was based was the Brandy Daisy.

The original recipe for the Brandy Daisy (1876, Jerry Thomas, The Bartenders Guide (Second Edition)) is:

3 or 4 dashes gum syrup, 2 or 3 dashes of Curaçao liqueur, juice of half a small lemon, small wine-glass of brandy, and 2 dashes of Jamaica rum
Fill glass one-third full of shaved ice, Shake and strain and fill up with Seltzer water

If we swap out the Brandy and Rum in Jerry Thomas’s Daisy recipe for tequila, his recipe now bears a strong resemblance to the earliest known published Margarita Recipe (found in Esquire Magazine’s December 1953 issue):

1 ounce tequila, Dash of Triple Sec, Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon
Pour over crushed ice and stir, Serve in a Salt Rimmed Glass

Although this line of reasoning provides a clear path for how the Tequila Daisy became the Margarita, it does not address the question of the actual person (bartender) who gave the Margarita Cocktail its current form. I’ll tackle that  issue later this week in Part 2 of this Summer Cocktail Posting.

In the meantime, here is a modern variation of the Margarita I developed using Casamigos Blanco Tequila and California grown Cara Cara Oranges:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Cara Cara Oranges are a navel variety orange grown in California’s San Joaquin Valley. They have a bright orange peel with just a touch of a pinkish hue, and their interior flesh is distinctively pinkish similar to a pink grapefruit. The flavour of this orange is unique representing a sort of hybrid mixture of tangerine and traditional navel orange flavour with an unusual (but delightful) sweetness which is ideally suited for cocktails.

Carra Carra Margarita SAM_1544Cara Cara Margarita

2 oz Casamigos Blanco Tequila
1 1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Cara Cara Orange Juice
3/4 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orange Curacao
1/4 oz Simple Syrup (1:1)
Ice
Cara Cara Orange Peel

Add the first five ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Strain into a chilled martini glass
Garnish with a small peel of Cara Cara Orange
Enjoy!

If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

________________________________________________________

Casamigos Tequila has been in the news recently as the brand was recently acquired by Diageo Spirits in a deal which was rumored (italics because the key work is rumored) to be potentially (note again the italics) worth up to $1,000,000,000.00 (yep those are italics again). I thought the recent acquisition was a good excuse to revisit my reviews for the Casamigos brands and I shall begin with the Blanco.

Here is a link to my revised Review:

Review: Casamigos Blanco Tequila

I noticed both grapefruit and lime zest weaving in and out the air within the mild white pepper and highland spice, and I also noticed a subtle smokey tone wrapped up within the fruity agave aroma.

Chimo!

 

 

Posted in Blanco Tequila, Cocktails & Recipes, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Siempre (Plata) Tequila

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 14, 2017

Siempre is a new tequila brand owned by Monica Sanita and Alex Lecroix. The spirit they created has been available in the Ontario market for about 6 months and after gaining some recognition they are beginning to expand into Alberta, Quebec, California and Nevada (this coming September).

According to my correspondence with Alex, this is an ultra premium tequila produced in Tequila, Mexico from 100% Blue Weber agave. Interestingly this Plata spirit is a product of both highland agave, and lowland agave (in equal measure). In the production of tequila, highland agave brings strong fruity citrus notes and a little hot pepper into both the delivery and in the finish. Lowland tequila brings firm earthy flavours of the agave fruit into the flavour profile. Siempre Tequila, it would seem, attempts to bring the best of both agave worlds to the tequila aficionado.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Siempre (Plata) Tequila

“… I sense a duality in the glass as the earthy qualities of the lowland agave seems to be roughened by black pepper and hints of orange peel. The breezes above the glass hint at additional impressions grilled pineapple, mushy banana and green pepper corns. As I am enjoying the aroma, I begin to notice light herbal impressions as well, a hint of heather and light green grass and a dab of mint or menthol …”

Please enjoy my review which concludes with my cocktail recommendation, the Toreador.

Chimo!

 

Posted in Blanco Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

2017 Rum Howler Awards For Tequila

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 2, 2017

rh-winner2017

Beginning in 2015, I made a concentrated effort to make the Agave Spirit a larger part of my website. I began with my Rum Howler 2015 Margarita Challenge and, as part of that effort, designed my version of the quintessential tequila cocktail just for the competition, the Alfred Cointreau Margarita Cocktail. That effort triggered a response from industry as Tequila producers began to take note of my website, and I was contacted to provide spirit reviews from many new producers.

Margarita

Margarita Cocktail

Alas the quirks of Canadian Customs and Excise scared more than a few of these companies away as getting me samples is not easy if you are not based in Canada. However, a steady trickle of samples began to cross my desk and my Tequila Review Page began to grow. That trickle continued into 2016, and not only did the quantity of tequila which I was able to taste increase, the quality of tequila which I was exposed to went off the charts. This new high quality of agave spirit is reflected in the 2017 Rum Howler Awards for Tequila.  (I did make one significant change this year bringing my awards forward one year such that my awards would be in the same calendar year as the awards from other publications and websites.)

As most of you know, when I conduct my deliberations for my annual Rum Howler Awards. I consider not only the spirits which I received as samples in the given year, I also include the samples from the previous year. This means that the body of spirits for my 2016 Rum Howler Awards for Tequila represent the best agave spirits I have tasted to this point.

Here is a link to my 2017 Rum Howler Awards for Tequila:

The 2017 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Tequila

 

 

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Review: Cabresto Don Silver Reserve Series Extra Añejo

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 29, 2016

Extra Anejo (Cabresto) SAM_2574On March 7th, 2016 Tequila Cabresto released the latest addition to their line of premium tequila, Don Silver Reserve Series Extra Añejo. This is a 100 % agave tequila which (according to the media information sent to me) has been aged for seven years in American white oak former whiskey barrels.

Although the Cabresto website does not specify the exact distillery which produces this agave spirit, I did notice that the identified NOM on the bottom of the label 1509. This NOM identifier is required by the Mexican Government to be placed on the label of each bottle of tequila to verify that it is produced legally from agave sourced in the Tequila region of Mexico. Each distillery has its own NOM, and thus we can trace the distillery of origin. In this case the producing distillery is Tequila Embajador who incidentally also produce Alma de Agave and of course Embajador Tequila.

Here is a Link to my full review of this rare extra-anejo tequila from Cabresto:

Review: Cabresto Don Silver Reserve Series Extra Añejo

“… The extra-anejo spirit brings light sandalwood and oak spices into the air alongside a nice rich agave presence. Light caramel scents accent the agave and the oak, and as I continue to nose the glass the three aspects of the aroma seem to merge together forming a lightly sweet impression of agave oak syrup. Peppery spices build up as does the firm earthy agave presence. Tea leaves, bits of milk chocolate and hints of cinnamon round out the nose which is very inviting …”

Please enjoy my review of this outstanding aged spirit.

Chimo!

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Review: Herencia Historico Tequila – 27 de Mayo 1997 (Cristalino)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 26, 2016

Historica Cristalino SAM_2582Herencia Tequila is 100% Blue Weber Agave Tequila produced by TEQUILAS DEL SEÑOR, S. A. DE C. V.,  a mid-sized, fourth generation family company located in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. The company was founded in 1943 and currently produces a number of tequila brands which include, Reserva del Señor, Sombrero, Tekali, and of course Herencia de Plata.

Herencia Historico Tequila 27 de Mayo 1997 was created by Tequilas del Senor to commemorate the recognition of the domination of origin, TEQUILA which was signed in Brussels Belgium, on May 27, 1997. Three expressions commemorate this historical event, the Extra Anejo 15 Anos, the Extra Anejo 5 Anos, and the Extra Anejo 5 Anos Cristalino. All of these expressions are 100 % Agave tequilas which have been aged in oak casks imported from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. The Cristalino (which is the subject of this review) is aged for 5 years and is then triple filtered to produce an almost clear spirit which is bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Herencia Historico Tequila – 27 de Mayo 1997 (Cristalino)

“… The nose is very interesting as the filtering has muted much of the oak and wood spice to the point that all I can decipher (of the woody notes) is a light piny scent which resembles sandalwood. The typically strong earthy note of agave has only a fraction of its former power as well. Within these muted scents of oak and agave are additional mild herbal aromas (menthol and licorice) and a pleasingly sweet smell of toasted marshmallow …”

Please enjoy my review of this special commemorative aged tequila.

Chimo!

Posted in Extra Anejo Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Casamigos Añejo Tequila

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 17, 2016

Cas Amigos An SAM_2577Casamigos is a tequila brand promoted by George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman. According to the website information this is an ultra premium tequila made in a small batch process from ‘hand-selected 100% Blue Weber agaves, grown in the rich red clay and cool climate of the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. As a highland tequila, we can expect Casamigos to exhibit strong fruity citrus notes and to have a little hot pepper in the delivery and in the finish. (This is as opposed to lowland tequila which has stronger earthier flavours of agave and less hot pepper.)

The Casamigos website tells us that the piñas of the hand selected agave are roasted in traditional brick ovens for 72 hours prior to their fermentation. During a long 80 hour fermentation, these piñas are exposed a special blend of yeast said to maintain a ‘consistent, refined flavor’. The Añejo Tequila is rested in American Oak for 14 months before being bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Casamigos Añejo Tequila

“… The spirit in the glass is quite nice to nose. A light sweetness of caramel is combined with a light dusting of oak and sandalwood and a gentle sweep of vanilla. These notes are followed by a firm but slightly muted fruity agave presence. It takes a few minutes but eventually spicy notes of white pepper and hot citrus zest begin to break though as well …”

Please enjoy my review and the cocktail recipes included within, Chimo!

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Review: Cabresto Don Silver Reserve Añejo

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 14, 2016

Cabresto Anejo SAM_2578Tequila Cabresto, imported by Cabresto Imports Corporation, is a brand rooted as solidly in Detroit as they are in Arandas, Mexico. Tequila Cabresto is a family owned brand with duties spread across two generations of the Lopez family. Founder Silverio Lopez runs the family ranch in Arandas and cares for the agave until its reached peak yield. His son Antonio is learning the craft of growing the best agave in the world and currently handles the branding and exportation of Cabresto to the US. Daughter Sonia is the first Lopez to graduate college and is spearheading the US operations of Cabresto Imports Corporation. They do all this while maintaining the family tire shop in Southwest Detroit.

In December, Cabresto released their Don Silverio Reserve Añejo. Aged for 18 months in American white oak barrels, Cabresto Añejo was the first spirit in the Cabresto line-up to feature Tequila Cabresto‘s new shorter more premium bottle and modernized logo.

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Cabresto Don Silver Reserve Añejo

“… The initial aroma from the glass continues to excite me as my nostrils are greeted by clean oak spices which have been accented by citrus zest and white pepper. Fruity agave reaches up as well melding itself into the clean spicy aroma. I catch faint whispers of grilled pineapple and baked garden squash, a light winding of vanilla as well as lovely, faint impressions of mint and cinnamon …”

Please enjoy my review as I continue to climb the ladder towards the top of the Cabresto Tequila line-up.  Chimo!

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Review: Espolon Reposado Tequila

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 11, 2016

Lonely Silver Rain SAM_2572Espolon is a tequila brand created by Master Distiller Cirilo Oropeza. This is a premium tequila made in a small batch process from ‘hand-selected 100% Blue Weber agave, grown in the rich red clay and cool climate of the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. At that facility piñas of the hand selected agave are cooked for 18 to 20 hours prior to their fermentation. They apparently use a slower distillation technique than is in use at most other facilities, and when the spirit is finished, their Espolon Reposado Tequila is aged in new American Oak barrels for 6 months, filtered and then bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

The Espolon website tells us that the company likes to play rock music at their facilities to ‘inspire’ the agave. I did a little follow-up research and found a question and answer session with the Espolon Master Distiller, Cirilo Oropeza on the Campari America (the brand owner) website (see here) where the Mr. Oropeza admits he actually prefers to play classical music instead. This is because (according to Oropeza when referring to classical music), “it’s not so fast, not so crazy, it’s gentler for the yeast.” 

Here is a link to my full review of the Espolon Reposado Tequila which apparently is produced after exposure to in interesting range of musical styles:

Review: Espolon Reposado Tequila

“… The first sip brings a slight coolness to the palate a we have a light menthol-like flavour melded into the soft agave and peppery spice of the highland tequila. A mild but firm impression of sweetness comes through as well resembling light butterscotch lying alongside the agave. There is a gentle vanilla presence, hints of cinnamon and milk chocolate and a scattering of sandalwood spice …”

Please enjoy my latest review as I continue to walk on the wild side with the agave spirit, Chimo!

 

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Review: 1800 Reserva Reposado Tequila

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 2, 2016

1800 ReposadoThe 1800 Tequila brand is owned by the Beckmann Family, who also own the Jose Cuervo brand. And indeed, according to the nom identifier upon the bottle (Nom 1122 CRT) the brand is produced at the same facility, the Casa Cuervo, S.A. de C.V. which is located in the central lowland tequila region of Jalisco Mexico. The 1800 Reserva Reposado is produced using piñas from 100 % Weber Blue Agave (8-12 year old) and is aged in a combination of  American and French Oak barrels at least six months. 

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: 1800 Reserva Reposado Tequila

“… When I nose the glass it yields mild butterscotch aromas, and behind them are soft punky vegetal smells of lowland agave. The earthy aroma is reminiscent of baked squash and grilled pineapple. There are also unusual hints of cooked celery within the vegetal nature of the agave aroma (maybe a bit of water cress too). As I gave the glass time to breathe some peppery notes began to break free from the fruity agave as well as hints of vanilla and cinnamon, and perhaps a dusting of milk chocolate …”

Please enjoy my review as my descent into Tequila Madness continues

Chimo!

 

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