Categories
Kitchen Recipes

Recipe: Crispy Coconut Prawns with Tequila Lime Dip

We adore this recipe for crispy coconut prawns with tequila lime mayo dip. It’s one of our favourite treat dinners. Although half the prawns tend to not make it out the kitchen as we end up eating them as we cook!

Crispy Coconut Prawns with Tequila Lime Mayo

It does take a little bit of prep to make this dish as we are individually coating each prawn with the batter. Plus, we need prepare the dip ahead of time. But it is so worth the effort.

The prawns have a deliciously light and crispy coating thanks to the panko breadcrumbs. And the coconut adds a wonderful sweetness that complements the sweetness of the prawns.

Tequila Prawns

The tequila lime mayonnaise dip is incredibly more-ish. It’s just so tasty. In fact, you could probably use this dip for all sorts of things, such as a salad dressing, paired with chicken, or tofu. Make it thicker with more mayo and it could even be a good dip for tortilla chips.

Tequila Lime Mayo Dip

The dip includes a touch of agave syrup for sweetness and to enhance the base flavour of the tequila. It all comes together perfectly.

Serve the crispy coconut prawns with salad for the perfect summer meal. Or if you need some extra carbs in your life (I know I do!) cook up some rice to go with it.

Coconut Prawns and Tequila Dip
Tequila Prawns

CRISPY COCONUT PRAWNS WITH TEQUILA LIME DIP (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g Raw Prawns
  • 8 tbsp Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 8 tbsp Desiccated Coconut
  • 1 pinch of Sea Salt Flakes
  • 1 Egg
  • 5 tbsp Plain Flour
  • Vegetable Oil, for frying

For the dip

  • 5 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1 Lime, juice and zest
  • 2 tsp Tequila
  • 1tsp Agave Syrup
  • 1 Pinch of Sea Salt Flakes

METHOD

  1. Prepare the dip first – whisk the ingredients together until smooth (the mayo may look clumpy at first but just keep whisking). Cover and refrigerate until serving. I recommend adding a little lime zest at serving time to add a little more colour.
  2. Place the flour on a plate, lightly whisk the egg in a shallow bowl, and mix together the panko breadcrumbs, dessicated coconut, and salt on a plate. This is your dipping station!
  3. Dip the prawns, one by one, first in the flour followed by the egg then gently toss in the breadcrumb mix.
  4. Heat the oil in wide, high-sided frying pan. Make sure the oil is super hot, and be careful not to splash.
  5. When the oil is hot, carefully add a few prawns. They should sizzle immediately. Fry for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and rest on a plate covered with a few layers of paper towels. Fry the prawns in small batches until done.
  6. Serve the crispy coconut prawns with the dip on the side.

Cheers!

Crispy Coconut Prawns with Lime Tequila Dip

Find our other tequila recipes here

Categories
Kitchen Recipes

Recipe: Tequila Chicken Nachos

Today I’m sharing my tequila chicken nachos. Ah nachos… such a crowd pleaser. The platter-style, sharing dish that encourages social interaction and offers a variety of combinations to keep everybody happy.

Tequila Chicken Nachos
Tequila Chicken Nachos Recipe

This recipe for tequila chicken nachos is like a traybake. We marinate the tequila chicken, cook it up, then assemble a big baking tray full of delicious things such as cheese, sweetcorn, black beans, onion, tomatoes, and jalepeno chillis. We finish it off with a few dollops of fresh soured cream, and a big helping of guacamole.

Nachos are comfort food at its best.

How To Make Tequila Chicken Nachos

If you like chicken nachos, we’re pretty sure you’ll love tequila chicken nachos.

For this recipe, you will want to make the marinade for the chicken ahead of time. Ideally you want the chicken to sit in the marinade for at least 2 hours. You then fry up the chicken so it’s totally cooked.

Tequila Chicken Nachos recipe

Next is the fun bit, spreading a large baking tray (use the biggest and widest you can find) with crunchy tortilla chips and then adding all your fave toppings, except for the soured cream and guacamole (those go on at the very end).

Now, some of you may remember my tequila chicken from a couple of weeks ago. Well, you might notice that I make the marinade differently here. That’s simply because I’ve been experimenting so much with recipes recently that I like to switch up the spices I use and ratios. It’s the fun part of cooking!

If you prefer the other tequila chicken recipe use that instead, either will taste great.

Tequila Chicken Nachos

We love eating tequila chicken nachos at barbecues or simply relaxing on the sofa watching our favourite shows on television. Or if you serving buffet style maybe pair this with our tequila-infused coleslaw.

You can pick and choose which toppings you want to add to your nachos traybake.

And if there’s anything we didn’t add, let us know in the comments section below what your favourite nachos topping is!

Recipe for Tequila Chicken Nachos

TEQUILA CHICKEN NACHOS (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS

For the tequila chicken

  • 500g Chicken Breast, cut into bitesize pieces
  • 100ml Tequila Blanco (Read: How to choose a tequila)
  • 2 tbsp Lime Juice (about the equivalent of 1 lime)
  • 1tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1tsp Sea Salt Flakes
  • 1tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

For the nachos

  • Tortilla Chips (1-2 large bags will do it)
  • Grated Cheese
  • Jalepenos Chillis
  • Large Tomato, deseeded and diced
  • Red Onion, finely diced
  • Sweetcorn, small can
  • Black Beans, small can
  • 1 Avocado (or make your own Guacamole)
  • Soured Cream

METHOD

  1. Combine the chicken marinade ingredients in a bowl and stir together. Add the chicken pieces and stir until all pieces are fully covered. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  2. Spread the tortilla chips across a large baking tray. Try to cover any gaps.
  3. Sprinkle half the cheese evenly over the tortilla chips.
  4. Now sprinkle on the other ingredients – red onion, tomato, sweetcorn, black beans, and jalepeno chillis.
  5. Once the chicken has marinaded the colour will turn slightly white. Now heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat, and cook the chicken for 7-10 minutes until white all the way through and golden brown on the outside. Sprinkle the chicken evenly over the tortilla chips.
  6. Finish the tray bake with a final sprinkling of shredded cheese.
  7. Heat the grill on a high heat and pop the traybake underneath. Allow to cook until the cheese has melted is just starting to turn gold.
  8. Serve the tequila chicken nachos immediately with a few dollops of soured cream and guacamole.

Cheers!

Tequila Chicken Nachos

Find more tequila-based recipes here


Categories
Kitchen Recipes

Recipe: Tequila Coleslaw

This recipe for tequila coleslaw is surprisingly tasty. It’s a nice twist on that classic side dish, and we find the depth of flavour the tequila adds perfectly complements the creaminess of the mayo, and the zesty-ness of the lime.

Tequila Coleslaw
Tequila Coleslaw

Plus, making your own coleslaw is a must. It’s so much more delicious than the shop-bought stuff, and we love the extra crunchy texture of fresh-on-the-table coleslaw.

Our tequila coleslaw recipe has lime juice and coriander to add to the Mexican vibes of this dish. But you can reduce the lime juice if you prefer less of a sour note. Plus, the fresh coriander is totally optional, so you don’t need to add that at all if you’re not a fan of coriander/cilantro.

Tequila Coleslaw Recipe
How to Make Tequila Coleslaw

The simple base for this tequila coleslaw is just shredded red cabbage, white cabbage, carrot and spring onion. The texture is deliciously crunchy, the flavour is fresh and uplifting.

Pair the tequila coleslaw with a barbecue spread, buffet, or even our popular tequila chicken recipe. We like to make a big bowl of tequila coleslaw so that we have leftovers to keep in the fridge and pick at throughout the week. We add a big dollop of this coleslaw to almost all of our meals – sandwiches, roast meats, even pies.

Making Tequila Coleslaw
Tequila Coleslaw

It’s super easy to make your own coleslaw, of course we recommend adding a splash of tequila, but take this as inspiration however you like, just give it a go this season!

Tequila Coleslaw Recipe

TEQUILA COLESLAW (serves 6-8)

INGREDIENTS

  • 70g Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 tbsp Tequila
  • 1 Pinch of Sea Salt Flakes
  • 1 Pinch of Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp Fresh Coriander (optional)
  • 3 Spring Onions, cut diagonally
  • 1/4 Red Cabbage, finely sliced and shredded
  • 1/4 White Cabbage, finely sliced and shredded
  • 1-2 Carrots, shredded

METHOD

  1. First we prepare the dressing. In a bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, lime juice, tequila, salt and pepper until smooth. It might look lumpy at first, but keep whisking and it will soon become smooth. Stir through the fresh coriander, if using.
  2. In a large bowl combine the spring onions, red and white cabbage, and carrots. Pour over the dressing and with tongs mix the vegetables until fully coated in the dressing. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  3. Serve immediately. Or cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Cheers!

Tequila Coleslaw
Coleslaw with Tequila

Find our other tequila-inspired recipes here

Categories
Guide

What do Tequila, Champagne and Parmigiano Regiano have in common? – Tequila Protected Status

Did you know tequila has a protected status? Yes, just like some of our other fave food and beverage choices such as champagne, parmigiano regiano cheese, and pub staple – the Melton Mowbray pie.

Tequila, the delicious agave spirit from Mexico is just as protected as the Cornish pasty in terms of food heritage and location-based provenance.

This means that tequila, as a product, cannot be reproduced, or marketed as being from anywhere other than the exact region from which it originates. Again, much like champagne can only be called champagne if it was produced in the Champagne region of France. All other white sparkling wines have to be marketed and sold under a different name. 

Therefore, when you buy tequila you know that there is a particular provenance to the product, it’s definitely from Mexico, and it has had to meet a number of criteria before it can be sold to you. 

What does protected status actually mean?

Protected status for food and beverage essentially means that item has to be certain geographical or traditional practices assigned, usually by the national government, and is enforced throughout that country and through bilateral agreements with other countries. 

In the EU for instance, where we are from, quality agricultural and foodstuffs can be given protected designation of origin (PDO), protected geographical indication (PGI), or traditional specialities guaranteed (TSG).

The purpose for protected status foodstuffs is so that the reputation of regional food is preserved, along with ensuring authenticity for consumers. 

To protect consumers, and producers livelihoods, it is also prohibited for products to have an indication (name) with other words such as ‘style’, ‘type’, ‘imitation’ or ‘method’.  For instance a product is not, by EU law, allowed to be marketed as ‘champagne-style’.

Tequila Protected Status

But what about tequila’s protected status?

Tequila has protected status in over 40 countries. The NAFTA agreement protects tequila in the USA and Canada. There are bilateral agreements with several individual countries such as Japan and Israel. And tequila has protected PDO status in the European Union. 

On the 20th March 2019 tequila received EU level recognition and protected status in the EU register of geographical indications (GI) as approved by the European Commission. The Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Paul Hogan said: 

“Tequila is the most emblematic alcoholic beverage produced in Mexico and it forms an important part of the Mexican cultural identity. We know very well in Europe how the international success of a regional spirit drink can help to create high-quality jobs in rural areas and generate a strong sense of local and national pride. I want to extend my heartfelt congratulations to our Mexican colleagues. The addition of Tequila to the EU GI Spirits is the latest step on the EU-Mexico journey of cooperation.”

What are the tequila status guidelines?

Tequila is strictly protected in Mexico with Mexican laws stating that the alcoholic beverage can only be produced in the state of Jalisco and limited municipalities in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas.

There are a number of other strict guidelines governing tequila production in Mexico, governed by the Tequila Regulatory Council. Some of them are pretty complex. But they include:

Tequila must be made with at least 51% blue weber agave nectar.

Any tequila using 100% agave must be labelled as either 100% agave or 100% pure agave.

100% agave tequila must be bottled at the production plant by an authorised producer within the declared territory.

They must include a NOM number – this is a specifically assigned number carried by each distillery.

Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo must be aged with oak wood for at least 2 months, 1 year, or 3 years respectively.

The use of additives (such as caramel, glycerin, oak extract, sugar syrup) must be less than 1%.

The tequila must be assigned the characteristics acquired in processes subsequent to distillation. These are classified into:

  • Blanco
  • Joven or Oro
  • Reposado
  • Añejo
  • Extra Añejo

For the international market, the classification can be substituted by the translation into the corresponding language, or by the following:

• “Silver” instead of Blanco 
• “Gold” instead of Joven or Oro 
• “Aged” instead of Reposado 
• “Extra aged” instead of Añejo. 
• “Ultra aged” instead of Extra Añejo.

How do you know you are buying real tequila?

Take a look at the tequila bottle you want to buy. Check some of the guidelines mentioned above to consider. You want to see the bottle state that:

  • 100% Pure Agave, or 100% Agave
  • Made in Mexico
  • Classified as Blanco, Joven, Reposado, Añejo, or Extra Añejo.
  • NOM number

So there you have it, tequila has quite a bit in common with champagne, parmigiana regiano, and Melton Mowbray pies.

Tequila is a protected product from Mexico that helps both the producers in its home states pursue their food culture and livelihood, as well as assuring consumers of the authenticity of their product.

Cheers! 


Further reading: What is tequila?

Categories
Kitchen Recipes

Recipe: Tequila Lime Chicken

This is a recipe for tequila lime chicken, a delicious variation on grilled chicken which works in so many scenarios. You can serve it in a tortilla wrap, with rice, or tossed in a salad. It’s delicious on nachos, and it works great as part of a barbecue spread. We love this tequila chicken recipe.

Tequila Chicken Recipe
Recipe for Tequila Chicken
Tequila Chicken

Two ways to make tequila lime chicken

There are two ways of working with this recipe. First you could go for the dry version involving a skillet or a barbecue. Or you can go the wet version where you chop the chicken up and cooked down in the marinade to create a sauce. Both versions taste great!

For the marinade we used a blanco tequila (read here about the different types of tequila) which adds a nice of depth of flavour without overpowering the dish.

Tequila Chicken Recipe

We recommend using more or less lime juice depending on how much sour flavour you prefer. We love the sourness of the lime, contrasting with the depth of the alcohol, a touch of spice, and the freshness brought by the coriander and fresh chilli.

This tequila lime chicken is incredibly more-ish. It has the immediate zesty flavour of the lime, but the tequila adds a lovely depth that you probably wouldn’t guess was tequila to start with.

We made the tequila lime chicken to go in our toasted tortilla wraps along with our new tequila coleslaw recipe. This is perfect summer loving food enjoyed al fresco as the sun is setting.

Tequila Chicken Recipe

TEQUILA LIME CHICKEN (serves up to 4)

Ingredients:

  • 500g Chicken Breast, cut into long strips
  • 100ml Tequila (Blanco is probably best)
  • 3-4 Limes, juiced
  • 1tbsp Garlic Puree
  • 1/2tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2tsp Chilli Flakes
  • 1/2tsp Black Pepper
  • 1tsp of Salt
  • 2tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Fresh Chilli, finely chopped
  • Handful of Fresh Coriander, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl combine the tequila, lime juice, garlic puree, smoked paprika, chilli flakes, black pepper, salt, vegetable oil, fresh chilli and fresh coriander. Whisk the ingredients together until well combined before adding the chicken strips. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight if you have the time.
  2. Heat an iron skillet or oven-safe frying pan on a high heat, use a drizzle of oil if it isn’t non-stick. Add the chicken strips and allow to cook without moving them for about 5 minutes on each side. You want a nice chargrill mark.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C. Once the tequila lime chicken is chargrilled on both sides. Cover loosely with foil and transfer to the oven for a further 10 minutes to cook the middle. Check the chicken is cooked all the way through, no pink bits!
  4. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh coriander.
  5. If making the sauce version, don’t bake in the oven. Instead, remove the chicken strips and chop into bitesize pieces before returning to the frying pan. Pour in the rest of the marinade and allow the mixture to simmer for about 5-7minutes. Turn the chicken pieces halfway through. The sauce should reduce by half . Check the chicken is cooked through, then serve. This version is great with rice.

Cheers!

How to make tequila chicken
Making tequila chicken
Tequila Chicken

Find our other tequila-based recipes here


Categories
Guide

The Tequila & Mezcal Fest 2018 – Preview

This weekend is the UK’s biggest tequila festival. Now in its 5th year, The Tequila & Mezcal Fest has cemented itself as one of, if not the most, important events for Tequila & Mezcal in the UK.

New tequilas, old tequilas, plenty of mezcals, some other agave products, and a lot of fun. If you haven’t bought your tickets for the festival – buy them on their website here.

They are £20 per session with 4 sessions over Friday 4th-Sunday 6th October, at the OXO Tower Bargehouse, London.

If you want a chance to try tequila from the likes of –

  • Patron
  • Casamigos
  • Los Altos
  • Avion
  • Fortaleza
  • Herradura

And Mezcal from –

  • Bruxo
  • Gem & Bolt
  • Mexicat
  • Pensador
  • Mezcal Union

Plus a whole bunch more, then you’ll want to attend.

On the trade day we had the chance to get a preview of this year’s festival and speak to some of our partners and champions of the tequila world.

It’s always nice to see familiar faces and some new ones. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of them on The Tequila Shop soon.

Some of our favourites bits to look forward to at the Tequila Festival:

The Patron Room Takeover

Food from Cafe Pacifico

Dancing and Mariachi Bands!

Seminar: Saturday Afternoon 14:00-14:45 The history of The Margarita by Patrón Tequila.

Seminar: Saturday Afternoon 15:00-15:45 “Who the f*”! is Tequila Fortaleza?

Seminar: Saturday Evening 19:30-20:15 CUERVO – ‘The Tequila Quarter Masterclass’

Seminar: Sunday Afternoon 15:15-16:00 The Mezcal Queens: The important role of women in the Mezcal Industry

Tips for the Tequila Festival

  • FOOD – There are food options there but eat beforehand too, there is a lot of drinking. 
  • WATER – There are also water points but also take your own bottle to stay hydrated.
  • Spittoons are provided and will be useful after a while of drinking tequila! 
  • Go to a seminar, they are led by industry leaders who are seriously passionate about tequila and mezcal.
  • Have fun, talk to people, learn about the products, there is nothing else like this in the UK
  • If you’re there on Saturday afternoon, look out for us, come say hi or just enjoy the tequila vibes. 

Here are some pictures from the trade day, we’ll be adding more after the weekend. Also follow us on Instagram and Twitter for updates from the day.

The Tequila & Mezcal Festival 2018

Where: is at the OXO Tower Bargehouse in London.

When: Friday 5th- Sunday 6th October 2018.

Price: £20 per session. You can buy tickets on their website here.


Further reading

What is Tequila?

What is Mezcal?

Categories
Reposado Reviews

Review | Patron – Reposado

We have a soft spot for Patron’s Reposado at TTS. It was the first premium tequila I ever tried and it changed the game. But that was a long time ago and I have drank a lot more tequila since. That said, Patron Reposado is still in our house selection.

patron reposado tequila

Patron’s Reposado is made from 100% Blue Agave from the Los Altos Highlands in Jalisco. It has been aged in oak barrels for 6 months. It is 40% ABV (80 proof) and costs around £50.

Presentation

Each bottle of Patron is hand made, numbered and signed and is mottled in a way that makes it feel more authentically handmade though machines shape the bottle. A satisfying cork top and traditionally styled, familiar labelling make the Patron bottle a welcome sight. However given the premium status of Patron, I would have liked something more premium than a sticker for it’s labelling.

tequila colours

Colour

For reposado it is lighter than others, much closer to a Joven that expected, which goes some way to explain the rest of the experience. It is a pale golden colour and when poured is a watery consistency.

Aroma

Leaving it to come to room temperature, the aroma of the reposado is sweet, vanilla and agave. The agave possibly a little dirty and earthy. The alcohol evaporates quickly as it warms and the aromas become bolder, with more of the cooked agave coming through to a spicy, white pepper and black pepper scent. There is some citrus, sour apple and dairy tones too. On bringing to the lips, the alcohol can be overpowering as it evaporates, at 40% that is not surprising though other tequilas can mask this better. 

Flavour

The first feel in mouth is peppery and alcoholic as expected and very strong cooked agave. Again as expected given the lighter colour. It is tingly on the tongue but not too strong. The intensity of the agave is quite full and catches the nasal senses taking the flavour into the nose.

Held in the mouth it feels clean though not to be held for too long, its a “sip & drink” rather than a “sip & savour” tequila. The sweetness comes though once you swallow, along with the vanilla and further agave. The bottom end of the flavour and aroma remains peppery with more butter and citrus. The finish isn’t clean and it isn’t dirty, it’s in between. Perhaps a little too peppery, lasting longer than required, however not unpleasant.

patron tequila

Experience

It makes for a good experience, perhaps more from the name that the tequila, for sipping there is better however it is enjoyable to open a Patron bottle, pour it from a traditional “handmade” bottle and enjoy the taste. It is a tequila we always have stocked and I recommend it as a gift to people just starting in their tequila journey. I would happily drink this at any occasion, sipping, shooting or mixing.

The Margarita Test

We put all of our tequila through the Margarita test.

The Patron Reposado is our go to for a margarita. It mixes very very well and the smoothness is accentuated in a margarita. The sweetness of the vanilla shines, there is a little nuttiness and the 6 months resting takes the edge off compared to a blanco. It is not complex enough to complicate the cocktail and not simple enough to be overpowered.

It passes. 

patron tequila bottle

What we say… 7/10

Patron Reposado is a premium though not too premium, pale yellow tequila. It is light and clean though more peppery than necessary and has has sweet vanilla and butter aftertaste. It is a nice bottle with a good, not great price. It is brilliant in a margarita and perfect for a “do it all” tequila, good enough for sipping, shooting or mixing.

For the money, there are better quality reposados certainly, however there are few that are as widely available and socially regarded. If you want to like tequila, Patron Reposado is a good starting point. If you already like tequila, you will have tried this and have your own opinion.


Categories
Reviews Tequila

Top 10 Tequilas 2018

Sampling lots and lots of tequila every year is a hard job, but someone has to do it. That’s why I have nominated myself. After numerous tasting sessions, these are our top 10 tequilas in 2018.

This list has been compiled for 2018, it includes some classics, some new ones and some usual ones.

All very good tequilas for their own reasons.

There are some Blancos, Reposados, Anejos and Extra Anejos (read about different types of tequila). Some not even from Mexico (sort of)! I hope to have explained these and provided some guidance if you are looking for good tequila.

In case you wanted to know about my palette, I eat a lot of spicy food, like sweet things, and have been drinking tequila for many years. While friends were drinking beers and gin and tonics, I was drinking tequila and orange juice. I don’t like mustard, strong ginger or nutmeg. I also appreciate value for money, something expensive doesn’t means it’s good. I appreciate provenance and fun. Tequila should always be fun. Hopefully this adds context to my choices.

I should say that this is only the top of what we have tried and what is available to export to the UK. We know there are many more tequilas in the US and Mexico that are not exported and while we do intend to drink all of them at some point in our life, we haven’t yet, so for fairness, this is for the non-mexican market.

top 10 tequilas

TOP 10 TEQUILAS FOR 2018

1. Don Julio 1942 – Extra Anejo

The Perfectly Balanced One

In the Don Julio 1942 there is a great balance of strong cooked agave, vanilla, caramel, butterscotch and chocolate. It is an expensive tequila in a nice bottle and is premium, great for money and pleasurable to drink.

If you have never tried premium tequila, you will not recognise this. It’s something a little different to the usual.

don-julio-1942
The Perfectly Balanced One

2. Clase Azul – Reposado

The Rich One

Although Clase Azul produce perfectly reasonable Anejo and an Ultra Anejo, you get great value for money and easy drinking of the reposado, so we give it top marks.

Similar to the Don Julio 1942, it has strong vanilla and caramel with some honey and more woody notes, making it a rich tasting tequila. It also has a beautiful bottle which will look great on your cocktail bar/cabinet/trolley.

clase-azul-reposado
The Rich One

3. Gran Patron Smoky – Blanco

The Smoky One

I’ve been waiting for this tequila for many years. In some ways the Gran Patron Smoky could be classed as a mezcal as it’s roasted in an earthen pit. But as it uses Blue Agave like the rest of the Patron range, it is classed a tequila. It is delicately smoky on a sharp raw agave blanco.

Usually a blanco tequila is unaged, has sharp tendancies so it is unusual, and surprising to have the smoke flavour come through.

Bring on the agave experiments!

gran-patron-smoky
The Smoky One

4. Fortaleza – Anejo

The Prodigal Son

When Sauza, the house of the Father of Tequila, Don Cenobio Sauza, was sold to Beam Suntory, a piece of tequila history was changed forever. That was until his great-great-great grandson Guillermo, decided to breathe new fire into the old distillery and create Fortaleza.

This tequila is strong on agave, sweet and oaky with a long finish.

Plus, the label looks pretty cool.

fortaleza anejo
The Prodigal Son
(produced by the son of the great Don Sauza)

5. UWA – Anejo

The Scottish One

Yes you read that right, Scottish. As in 5,000 miles from Mexico. Perhaps my British bias is at play but whether it is or not, this is a good tequila with some added novelty.

Some oak is imparted from the Speyside barrels, it is peppery and strong, alcoholic and not short on character. Whiskey enthusiasts will enjoy this, alcohol enthusiasts will enjoy this, tequila enthusiasts will enjoy this. Scottish tequila!

This is a gimmick that’s worked out pretty well.

The Scottish One

6. Tapatio Excelencia Gran Reserva – Extra Anejo

The Single Estate Hero

Many tequilas are made from agave grown by farmers who sell their plants to different distilleries. Therefore, it is something special when a distillery owns its own land, agave and distillery. This means the product is protected by the same ethos from soil to lips.

This Extra Anejo from Tapatio Excelencia Gran Reserva is spicy, oaky and has an extra long finish that makes it one to remember.

The Single Estate Hero

7. Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia

The Redeeming One

Jose Cuervo is both loved and reviled in the tequila world. We wouldn’t have tequila without them but then tequila wouldn’t have such a bad reputation either.

The Reserva de la Familia is 100% Agave unlike the mixto Especial we all know.

It is oaky, strong, a little fruity and with some smoke. The bottle is charming and if you forget about the past, this is top quality tequila. I expect the 250th Anniversary Edition from Jose Cuervo is better, but I haven’t tried it, yet.

jose-cuervo-reserva-de-la-familia
The Redeeming One

8. Casa Noble – Anejo

The Chocolatey One

Yes, chocolate and tequila. Casa Noble has a reputation for having a chocolate aroma and flavour and in my opinion the Anejo is the best.

Sweet, smoky and agave strong, a classic bottle and as smooth as its ex-co-owner, Carlos Santana. We enjoyed the Casa Noble Anejo very much.

casa-noble-anejo
The Chocolatey One

9. KAH – Extra Anejo

The skully one

First the skulls draw you in, then the tequila keeps you coming back. KAH Extra Anejo is undoubtedly peppery as is most of the Kah range. There are hints of cigar smoke, wood and spice that makes this stand out a bit from my other picks as they are all sweeter and smoother but the KAH Extra Anejo is a kick to the senses, in a good way.

kah-tequila-extra-anejo
The Skully One

10. Casamigos – Anejo

The Handsome One

It was almost inevitable that a Casamigos tequila would be on this list. George Clooney and Randy Gerber’s foray into tequila had my scepticism on overdrive. It took a long time to even try it, but when I did I was surprised.

It is not the best tequila but it is good. Just good enough to be on this list. This is partly due to the headline exposure that Casamigos has done for tequila. Its $1 billion buyout by Diageo turned more than a few heads and is a great story for tequila. The Casamingos Anejo flavour is alcoholic, peppery with some sweetness.

casamigos-tequila-anejo
The Handsome One

Hope that top 10 tequilas for 2018 gives you a good starting point to go on for the remainder of this year. And check back in a few months for our 2019 list!



Categories
Guide

Top 10 Tequila Bars in the World

The popularity of tequila is increasing every year and that means we get to enjoy more and more tequila bars opening up all over the world.

Tequila is the hottest spirit at the moment and we want to enjoy its agave goodness in cool, hip, and trendy establishments. 

The wider the tequila and mezcal range the better in our opinion!

But we also appreciate some stylish decor, good vibes, and friendly service. 

We have our research and inspiration hats on today as we seek out the top 10 tequila bars in the world. 

These are the tequila bars we are looking forward to visiting as soon as we can get there. 

Top 10 Tequila Bars in the World

1. La Capilla De Don Javier– Tequila, Mexico

One of the most highly rated bars in the actual town of Tequila in Mexico (yes, Tequila is a town of which the drink is named after!). It has been going for over 80 years and is a no-frills decor kind of establishment. Think plastic chairs, rustic paintwork, and a homely vibe.

La Capilla is famed for its tequila, lime and cola cocktail. However, it also stocks a range of lesser known tequila and mezcal brands.

Cross street is Juarez/Hidalgo, Tequila 46400, Mexico

Bodega Miami Tequila Bar

2. Bodega Taqueria y Tequila – Miami, US

A two-storey bar housed inside an old automobile garage and behind a taco restaurant in Miami. 

The decor of this restaurant looks incredible, think modern Mexican hipster chic. You walk through what looks like a toilet door in the taco shop to come out into the tequila bar and club. 

They have a great range of tequila and mezcal, plus the tacos are highly rated!

1220 16th Street, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA bodegasouthbeach.com

3. Cafe Pacifico – London, UK

This is one of the first tequila bars in London, founded in 1982 in Covent Garden. This bar and restaurant has a great selection of tequilas, and serves delicious classic Mexican food favourites along with some Tex-Mex. The atmosphere is said to be party-like, and the decor is fun. 

5 Langley Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9JA, UK cafe-pacifico.com

4. Mesa Verde – Melbourne, Australia

Located on the 6th floor of Curtin House, right in the centre of the CBD of Melbourne, Mesa Verde is a Mexican bar and restaurant boasting one of the largest collections of tequila and mezcal in Australia.

They are avid fans of all things agava and think nothing of getting creative with their cocktail offerings. The cocktails are created with unique salt flavours to match, and they offer agave flights so you can sample a range of tequilas.

The decor is old school with lots of wood panelling and leather booths. At the weekends a DJ provides the soundtrack and the atmosphere gets lively.

Level 6, Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia mesaverde.net.au

5. Pare de Sufrir Mezcaleria – Guadalajara, Mexico

Pare de Sufrir is a reputation for being a the spot in Guadalajara for mezcal and madness. The name translates to ‘stop the suffering’ – make of that what you will!

They source small batch mezcals from master mezcaleros from all over the country, some even deliver they’re products directly to the bar. The staff are knowledgeable and happy to share their mezcal insights with customers. 

The decor is a bright funky and fun Mexican style with large wooden bar and a giant mural of a bus on the wall. The atmosphere is late-night loud with plenty of dancing.

Argentina 66, Col. Americana, 44160 Guadalajara, Mexico Pare de Sufrir Facebook

6. Tonteria – London, UK

Here, at Tonteria, your tequila can be delivered to you via miniature train. That alone deserves inclusion in our list. We love a train gimmick here to The Tequila Shop.

Tonteria has a dark, sexy, high-end vibe in London’s upmarket Belgravia area. They stock an impressive range of tequila’s including a rather eye-wateringly expensive Reserva de Alma worth £5,000! Not surprising given the celebrity clientele snapped leaving this bar.

It’s a cosy spot for tequila and tapas, and at 11pm they bring out the dancers and performers. 

7-12 Sloane Square, Belgravia, London SW1W 8EG, UK tonteria.co.uk

7. Mezcalogia – Oaxaca, Mexico

With an extensive mezcal menu, this bar offers both branded and non-label mezcals. Ask the staff for recommendations based on your favourite flavour profiles and they’ll be happy to find the best one for you to try.

The decor is dark and trendy with a laid back vibe. The owners are part of a lineage of mezcaleros and know this spirit inside out. 

Calle Garcia Vigil 509, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca City, Mexico Mezcalogia Facebook

8. 400 Rabbits – Austin, Texas

This bar in Austin is named after the Aztec myth of the goddess of agave, Mayahuel, giving birth to a swathe of rabbits who after being nursed on pulque they spread throughout Mexico sharing the experience of intoxication.

The decor is masculine art deco style and the menu includes a grand selection of tequila, mezcal and sotol. Try the Agave Flights for an all-round experience of their offerings. 

The food looks pretty good too!

5701 Slaughter Lane, Austin, Texas 78749, USA 400rabbitsbar.com

9. The Barking Dog – Copenhagen, Denmark

They call it a modern take on a pub, or a cocktail pub, if you will. The idea behind this bar is to provide something cosy and relaxing like a pub but serving good quality beverages. 

The Barking Dog serves tequila cocktails, an agave flight, and a good range of mezcal.

Sankt Hans Gade 19,  2200 Nørrebro København (Copenhagen), Denmark thebarkingdog.dk

10. La Biblioteca de Tequila – New York City, USA

This stylish New York bar boasts one of the largest collections of tequilas, mezcals, and agave spirits. 

The bar is a cosy space reminiscent of a library but instead of books the place is filled with bottles. 

Guest can also rent a private tequila locker to store bottles for up to six months, during which times they can present their ‘library card’ whenever they want access.

622 Third Ave, Manhattan, New York 10017, USA drinklabiblioteca.com


Those are our top 10 tequila bars in the world. Let us know which is your favourite.


Top 10 Tequila Bars in the World
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Categories
Bar Recipes Reposado Tequila

Recipe | Spicy Grapefruit Margarita

The Spicy Grapefruit Margarita brings together a bitter-sweet and spicy drink. It’s a great variation of a classic margarita, everyone’s favourite tequila cocktail.

The Spicy Grapefruit Margarita is perfect with barbecued meat and roasted veg on a cooler summer evening. But then, any time is margarita time in our household! 

The mellower taste of Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado doesn’t fight with the bitterness of the grapefruit and compliments the chilli warmth that comes through the salt/chilli rim.

There’s a warm chilli kick to finish that will have you reaching for more.

Spicy Grapefruit Margarita

SPICY GRAPEFRUIT MARGARITA (SERVES 1)

INGREDIENTS

50ml Jose Cuervo Tradicional® Reposado

25ml Fresh Lime Juice

1 tsp Agave Syrup

1 round slice of Jalapeño Pepper

50ml parts Grapefruit Juice

3 pinches Salt

1 pinch Mild Chilli Powder

Lime wedges

Small grapefruit or lime wedges for garnish (optional)

Extra round slice of Jalapeño for garnish (optional)

METHOD

1. Shake together Ice, Jalapeño segment and all liquids including syrup

2. Prepare a salt and chilli mix in a small dish

3. Wet half the rim of the glass using a lime wedge

4. Dip this wet rim in the salt and chilli mix

5. Put the extra piece of jalapeño in a glass and fill on top with ice

6. Strain the contents of the shaker into the glass

7. Garnish with grapefruit or lime wedges if available

Salud!

Adapted from : Cuervo

Read more recipes here



Categories
Guide Tequila

What is Tequila?

Tequila is many things to different people. Something to savour, something to avoid, something to drink quickly, something to drink slowly or even a place to live.

Here, when we ask “What is Tequila?” we are talking about a alcoholic spirit made in Mexico. A spirit made exclusively of Blue Weber Agave, a plant native to the region. A spirit that is known and loved all over the world. 

The plant

The Blue Agave plant can take 12 years to grow and mature. This plant is cultivated, harvested, roasted, macerated, fermented and distilled… to create the alcoholic liquid we call tequila.

This is the same for mezcal, so tequila can actually be considered a type of mezcal.

Like champagne, to be called tequila, it must follow some rules and regulations. Tequila (and Mezcal) is a protected product of Mexico.

General guidelines for Tequila

  • Must be produced in designated districts of Mexico
  • Must only use Blue Weber Agave
  • Must be a minimum of 51% Tequila spirit
  • Must be bottled in Mexico
  • Must be made by a recognised distillery

These are just a few of the many rules but demonstrate that tequila is not just another alcoholic spirit.

Tequila Taste?

Tequila has a distinct flavour compared to other spirits. It carries the unique flavour of the agave plant. Tequila can be described as follows:

  • Peppery
  • Boozy
  • Smoky
  • Spicy
  • Herbal 
  • Woody
  • Floral
  • Dark Caramel
  • Vanilla
  • Sharp/Astringent
  • Dry
  • Top of the throat warmth

Types of Tequila

Tequila, when it has just been distilled, is clear and transparent in colour. It is the truest, unadulterated taste of fermented agave. When this is bottled, it is called “Blanco”.

Tequila can then be rested, much like whiskey, in barrels, usually oak, usually American bourbon, to create the remaining varieties of Tequila – Joven, Reposado, Anejo and Extra Anejo.

Each of these varieties of tequila start as a Blanco and are rested for different periods of time.

  • Blanco – 0 months resting time
  • Reposado – 2-12 months rested
  • Anejo – 12-36 months rested
  • Extra Anejo – 36+ months rested

Other types of Tequila

  • Joven – a blend of Blanco and Reposado/Anejo
  • Mixto – a blend of 51% Tequila and 49% Other Alcohol

The mixto variety of tequila is usually the type of tequila that the majority of people tried in their student days, it has been known to give hangovers and is responsible for putting some people off tequila for life. The bad hangover is usually down to the other ‘cheap grain alcohol’ that is used. 

Cheap usually means killer hangover.

Remember, tequila has so many varieties, flavour profiles and uses (sipping, shooting, cocktails). If you give tequila a chance you will probably find the ideal one to suit your tastes. 

We hope you now understand a little more about what is tequila.

Please browse the site for further information and inspiration on your tequila journey.


what is tequila

Categories
Bar Blanco Recipes

Recipe | Tequila Sunrise

The Tequila Sunrise will always be the cocktail that changed tequila for us. It’s a classic fruity cocktail that takes us back sunny holidays by the beach feeling like the world was a wondrous place.

Before we used to to think of tequila as just a shooting spirit, but mixing it with orange juice and sweetening with grenadine, tequila became something glorious.

Tequila sunrise was invented in the 1970s in the USA and became a bit of a rock’n’roll drink thanks to the Rolling Stones and their entourage.

The sunrise element of the cocktail is thanks to the grenadine being a heavier liquid than the orange juice so as you carefully pour it in it sinks to the bottom in a gradient creating the striking sunrise look. 

Tequila sunrise is a simple and easy to make cocktail that looks impressive and ideal for throwing together at summer time gatherings.

The Tequila sunrise is a staple at the bar and actually inspired my favourite drink of choice –  tequila and orange juice filled high with ice. It tastes amazing on a cool day, easy to relax with, very easy to refill.

We recommend using Patron Reposado tequila for it’s smooth flavour profile that complements the orange juice. But you can use any of your favourite tequila’s. 

HOW TO MAKE TEQUILA SUNRISE (SERVES 1)

INGREDIENTS

50 ml Patrón Reposado Tequila
120 ml Fresh Orange Juice
15 ml Grenadine Syrup
Orange slice, for garnish

METHOD

1. Fill a high ball glass with ice.

 

2. Pour over Patron Reposado tequila and orange juice.

 

3. Gently pour over the grenadine, it will slowly fall to the base of the glass.

 

4. Garnish with slice of orange.

Note: We don’t recommend using a straw with the Tequila Sunrise as you will get a mouthful of grenadine! Stir the ice as you sip.

Picture source : Patron 

Patron - Tequila Sunrise

Read more agave recipes here or read about tequila here.

Enjoy! 

 


Categories
Guide Mezcal

What is Mezcal?

What is mezcal? Mezcal is an alcoholic drink distilled from the agave plant. The term ‘mezcal’ itself  essentially means ‘oven-cooked agave’.

Mezcal has been a popular beverage in Mexico for hundreds of years although the exact origin is not determined. We do know that before the Spanish colonised, the agave plant had sacred status in Mexico.

Unlike tequila which is made exclusively from the blue agave plant, mezcal can be made from any of the 30+ varieties of agave.

Another difference to tequila production is that mezcal tends to be produced on a smaller scale, often within families in small batches.

In Mexico there are around 9,000 mezcal producers making around 6 million litres of mezcal for about 150 brand names.

The majority of mezcal is enjoyed in Mexico but the largest export destinations are the USA and Japan.

There are many different types of mezcal, some of the most popular types are agave used for mezcal include tobalá, tobaziche, tepeztate, arroqueño and espadín.

Mezcal is produced in nine areas of Mexico; Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Michoacán, Puebla and Oaxaca, the latter of which produces around 85 percent of all mezcal made.

Mezcal is made traditionally by harvesting the agave plant when it is close to reproduction, the plant is roasted underground in pits lined with charcoal and wood. The juice is fermented then distilled in clay or copper pots.

Much like tequila and whiskey, mezcal picks up the flavour of its container as it distills.

Unlike tequila, mezcal is rarely mixed in a cocktail, rather it is made to be sipped, much like a whiskey. Although we’re sure this will change as the popularity of mezcal spreads.

Similarly to whiskey, mezcal tends to have a deep, earthier, and smokier flavour than tequila.

Generally, due to the lengthy production process, mezcal tends to be more expensive than tequila. As it is hand-crafted, Mezcaleros (mezcal craftsman) have to wait 10 years for an agave plant to reach maturation. It’s certainly worth the wait!

If you want to try something a bit different and enjoy smoky notes in your spirits try some mezcal. 

Make like the Mexicans and sip your mezcal served at room temperature. We like this brand of mezcal at the moment.

And remember, tequila is a type of mezcal, not the other way round!

Hopefully this helped answer your question what is mezcal?!


Categories
Tips

How to Avoid a Tequila Hangover

We spend a lot of money when drinking. Then we spend a lot of time recovering from drinking.

I’ve heard it many times – people feeling an epic hangover after a night drinking tequila. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you choose the right tequila you shouldn’t be getting a hangover. Not unless you’re over-doing it.

Why you get a tequila hangover

I challenge that you probably either drank too much or, more likely, you drank cheap mixto tequila like Jose Cuervo Especial. This means that the tequila you drank, a mixto, is not 100% “100% Blue Agave” tequila, it is 51% Blue Agave Tequila.

To be a true tequila, the spirit has to use 100% Blue Agave. However to use the name ‘Tequila’, the spirit doesn’t have to be alcohol made only from this premium agave plant.

Tequila distilleries will often use other sugars to finish off the tequila, similar to how other spirits are made. It is cheaper for them to do this but the result is that it produces a much less pure spirit. These sugar-based alcohols create a spirit than is more likely to cause a headache. It’s like mixing a bottle with half nice tequila and half cheap cheap cheap vodka – your head doesn’t stand a chance.

Different countries allow tequila to be classified in different ways. In Mexico, only the spirit using the blue agave plant is considered to be a tequila.

How to avoid a tequila hangover

To avoid a tequila hangover – stick to 100% Blue Agave tequila. Check bottle labels and check that it says it uses ‘ONLY 100% Blue Agave’. If it doesn’t have these words, then give it a miss.

More expensive tequilas will be more likely to be 100% Blue Agave and avoid that headache – pay the extra for a better quality tequila to avoid a tequila hangover. We like this one – Casamigos Blanco Tequila

You’ll thank me later.

Hope that helps how to avoid a tequila hangover.

How to avoid a tequila hangover

Categories
Tips

Best Tequila for Margaritas

As we mentioned in our how to make the best margarita article, we found that, in our opinion, the best tequila for margaritas is the Calle 23 Blanco.

You could do what we did and make several (rounds of) margaritas to come to this decision. But we have tried to save you the time and get right to drinking wonderful margaritas and not concerning yourself with whether you have the best.

best tequila for margarita

Best Tequila for Margaritas

The Calle 23 is a beautifully clean tequila that goes perfectly with the margarita.

Our readers are all over the world and have varying budgets. We felt it was important that we chose a product for our best tequila for margaritas recommendation, that is accessible to most. It’s easy enough to buy in a shop or online, and not too expensive.

After all, a margarita is a cocktail which means you are using several spirits. The more expensive, more complex tequilas are not necessarily better as the addition of other ingredients can mask the nuance you’ve paid all that money for.

But that doesn’t mean you should use a cheap mixto tequila. If you want to avoid a tequila hangover and enjoy your drink use a good 100% blue agave tequila. You want a good quality tequila for your magarita, not necessarily the most complex flavour, but a nice clean, fresh taste to enhance the cocktail enjoyment.

Stick to Blanco and Resposados tequilas for your margaritas, use Cointreau and fresh lime juice, and dance the night away.

What do you think is the best tequila for margaritas?

best tequila for margarita cocktails