06 March 2010

Cocktail Trend ~ 3 Tequilas to Sip & Savor

A lesson in tequila courtesy of Joe Jack's Fish Shack in (Viejo) Puerto Vallarta ~ don't miss the opportunity to enjoy some of the freshest seafood in town while there...

Tequila, it turns out, can be as sophisticated as single-malt Scotch or the finest boutique Bourbon.  Too many of us only experience tequila in margaritas (though not a bad introduction) or one-too-many single shots (when the brand or quality only matters for the 1st round..).  Thanks to the well-informed team at Joe Jack's Fish Shack, we learned to appreciate the trend to honor Tequila as a more complex and worldly libation.

Need some further details & context for Tequila?  Los Cabos Magazine's Tequila - A Bit of History is a worthwhile read...

Back to our tasting lesson results, here are three new "amigos" that we sipped and savored ~ each one is 100% agave but differ greatly in taste and style.  As you read our notes, consider whether tequila might play a key role in the bar basics for your next gathering.

Tequila Chamucos (Reposado Artisanal Bottle pictured)
Price: ~USD50 (750 ml)
Chamucos Reposado Tequila is a smooth fruity spirit made with 100% Blue Agave, aged in white oak barrels for six months. The Mexico presentation Wala Bottle is 38% Alc. Vol. or 76 proof. The export bottle is hand made and contains 40% Alc. Vol or 80 proof Tequila made with 100% agave. 

Savvy Host loved the label design (bats flying around the Flash-enabled website make us laugh), but found the tequila a little harsh and rough on the palate.  A full flavor appeals to many ~ but we were seeking a smoother experience to sip. Nonetheless, when used as the base for a truly fresh Mexican-style mojito (just a splash of soda with the ice, sugar and muddled mint) we did find it's robustness very appealing.

Herradura Antiguo

Price ~USD40 (750 ml)
The Herradura Antiguo is a reproduction of a 1924 version tequila.  Not only the label but the tequila is said to be an exact re-creation of the original formula in the traditional-style reposado style.  The Antiguo reposado is much lighter in color and flavors than the widely available Herradura reposado, but offers extra complexity from the oak barrels where it is stored for 6 months.  Antiguo has only been available in the United States since November 2009.

Familiar with Herradura, we were interested to see what might be so special about Antiguo.  Wow! A pale gold pour of color, which then greeted us with a very full nose of alcohol & fruit absent any overwhelming harshness.  The first sip was so full and smooth, with much fruit and a little smokiness.  Very much a similar experience to several single-malts Scotch brands we frequently enjoy... we plan to offer this "essence of Mexico" at our next gathering.

San Matias Gran Reserva (Extra Anejo)
Price: ~USD50 (750 ml)
The Chairman of the Tequila Council describes San Matias as "chocolate and vanilla savored, also has the flavors of toasted seeds like almond and hazelnut, soy and very ripe dried apple. It has a long finish and the sweetness of the ripe fruits remains on the closing."  It is aged in special cellars in white oak barrels for at least 3 years to acquire the characteristics of a "noble, aged" tequila.

So what did The Savvy Host think?  First, the amber color was a pleasant surprise.  We were then impressed at the "legs" on this tequila - very similar to wine - and to its smooth, rich mouth-feel and flavor.  The alcohol in the nose was also well-tempered with vanilla and even, chocolate!  It is recommended as an after-meal digestivo, to be served as you would a fine cognac.  An interesting alternative to follow dinner, we're looking forward to sharing this Mexican treasure with good friends!

1 comment:

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