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Archive for the ‘Tequila Review’ Category

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!

 

 

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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: 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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Review: Cabresto Reposado Tequila

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 30, 2016

Cabresto repo SAM_2550Tequila 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.

Cabresto Reposado Tequila is a pure 100% Agave tequila. The agave fields, and the distillery which produces the tequila are located in Atotonilco in the highlands of Los Altos de Jalisco, Mexico. The harvested agave is cooked in an adobe furnace that softens the plant’s fibers and transforms its starches into sugars. Once cooked and rested the agave is passed through a shredder to separate the coarse fibers, then through rollers to squeeze out its sweet juice. Once distilled, the reposado tequila is aged in charred white oak barrels for a period of over six months, and then bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my review of the Cabresto Reposado Tequila:

Review: Cabresto Reposado Tequila

“… When I bring the spirit to my nose I notice the breezes carry a very light honeyed caramel scent into the air beside a warm punky agave fruit. There is some spicy white pepper and some mild indications of sandal wood and oak spice. The notes are not aggressive but they are firm. As the glass breathes I notice impressions of scattered tea leaves, a light herbal quality reminiscent of fall grass which has just turned dry enough to cut for hay, and bits of menthol. These impressions are slippery and vague yet they serve to give the Reposado Tequila a bit of added character …”

Please enjoy the review, Chimo!

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Review: Corralejo Reposado Tequila

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 27, 2016

Corralejo Repo SAM_2537Hacienda Corralejo was established in 1775 by Don Pedro Sanchez de Tagle in the Mexican State of Guanajuato. The distillery (Nom 1368 CRT) uses traditional methods of fermentation and distillation with clay ovens used to cook the agave and copper pot stills used for the distillation.

According to the Corralejo website their Reposado Tequila is an aged in America Oak barrels. As a reposado spirit, the tequila must be aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels of any size. I could find no information on the company website indicating the exact aging time for this brand; it could be that the time of aging varies depending upon when the master blender feels the spirit is ready to be bottled. The website indicates the Corralejo Reposado is bottled at 38 % alcohol by volume which is probably true for the domestic market; however, my sample bottle ( available in Canada) is labelled, 40 % alcohol by volume which is also the bottling proof of the spirit in the USA.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Corralejo Reposado Tequila

“… The nose of the glass carries a mixture of caramel/ butterscotch, light fruity agave and mild white pepper. Both the aroma of agave and spicy pepper were muted which gives me the impression that this reposado tequila promises to be very approachable. After waiting for a few minutes I nosed the glass again hoping to find a more assertive agave aroma, but the glass remains dominated by light caramel and vanilla …”

Please enjoy my review, Chimo!

 

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Review: Espolon Blanco Tequila

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 18, 2016

Espolon BlancoEspolon is a tequila brand created by Master Distiller Cirilo Oropeza. This is an 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. The Espolon website tells us that the company likes to play rock music at their facilities to ‘inspire’ the agave.

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 Blanco tequila is rested, filtered and then bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Espolon Blanco Tequila 

“… The initial aroma somewhat earthy as a firm agave scent rises into the air. The punky agave gives me impressions of both baked squash and lightly sweet grilled pineapple. A light citrus zest is apparent as is some spicy white pepper. Taking my time with the glass, I seem to notice some softer notes of vanilla and menthol in the breezes which perhaps hints an underlying softness which may become apparent upon tasting …”

Please enjoy my review. In the next few days I will be taking a detour to try the new Pusser’s Spiced Rum, Chimo!

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