It's National Tequila Day!
If any liquor screams summer, it’s tequila. At least, to me.
I fell in love with tequila years ago on a trip to Mexico when I was just out of college. During a tasting in the Baja California countryside, I had tequila like no tequila before. This definitely was not the well-grade stuff I was served in university nor the kind that came in jugs at the liquor store. In fact, it didn’t even taste like “tequila” to me at that time. It was something entirely different.
I loved the finesse of the beverage and the stories of the producers. From there, like any other wine or spirit, it was just about mindfully tasting everything. I certainly encountered a lot of crappy tequilas, but I also found some standouts like Espolon and Corralejo. I discovered I have a thing for reposado, one of the three main styles (more below) and, well, it gave a good buzz—let’s be real.
Tequila is a spirit made in Mexico from the blue agave plant. There are three main styles of tequila that you’ll find in the States: Blanco, Reposado, and Anejo. Like a wine, they are designations based on how long the spirit has been aged. Blanco, or sometimes called Silver, is bottled immediately after distillation or a very short aging period. Reposado, by contrast, is aged in oak barrels from two months to a full year. It gives it a bit more body and texture. Anejo is aged for one to three years in oak barrels, with more of a whiskey-like mouthfeel. Some friends even just like an Anejo on the rocks.
For cocktailing, blanco and reposado are the best. Anejos tend to be too good to mix with fruity juices or sugar. Since it’s National Tequila Day, I’m figuring most of you want to whip up a margarita, myself included!
I’m pulling out a new tequila today, Camarena. The brand hails from the Arandas Highlands of Jalisco, where they have been producing tequila since the mid-18th century. They make a Silver, a Resposado that they age for 60 days, and an Anejo which spends a year in former Bourbon barrels. The current marketing team there sent me some rather delicious recipes for tequila-based cocktails that I wanted to share with you. Whether you believe in fake drink holidays or not, these are worth a shake up. It is Wednesday, after all, so why not?
2 parts Camarena Silver
.75 parts Simple Syrup/Agave Nectar
.75 parts Lime Juice
.5 parts Triple Sec
Add ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with lime wedge.
2 parts Camarena Silver
4 parts Grapefruit Soda
.5 parts Lime Juice
Pinch of salt
Add ingredients into a Collins glass filled with ice and stir together to combine. Garnish with lime wheel and sprig of mint.
2 parts Camarena Reposado
.5 parts Agave Nectar
2 Dashes of Bitters
Add ingredients into a double old fashioned rocks glass filled with ice and stir to combine. Garnish with orange peel.