Our man on the barstool takes the fear out of tequila, one sip at a time.
One Tequila. Two Tequila. Thee Tequila…floor.
No one word in the drinking lexicon sparks such fear among party-goers as “Tequila”.
Take any table of festive, happy-go-lucky revelers and suddenly drop the “T-word” on them and you’ll be met with suddenly silent, deer-in-the-headlights toddlers. I guess that’s because people almost never say, “Let’s delight in a haste of tequila” or “Let’s lovingly bathe in a sortie of tequila”. They always open the suggestion as, “Hey! Let’s DO some tequila!” The inclusion of the word, “do” seems to convey effort, as in doing laundry...stunt laundry. I think this also has to do with some of the myths that surround the culture of tequila.
The main myth is that tequila makes you do crazy things. Actually, it doesn’t. You’re probably already a little off kilter in the first place, you silly person. It’s all in your head, so to speak. Tequila, like every other liquor, contains ethanol. If you need that broken down for you, ethanol equals alcohol. Too much of that juice has an effect on anyone. If you’re in the mood to get rowdy and slam a bunch of shots, chances are that rowdy is what will occur. But before you blame me for taking the wind out of your four sheets, you’ll forget all about this by the time you get to the shots. And before the evening is over, you’ll be acting like raging conquistadors…again.
Another common misconception is that tequila is made from cactus. Tequila is made from the agave plant. The agave is more like a yucca plant, which is the thin-leafed, pointy thing that your parents put all over the yard back in the ’70s to keep you from riding your Big Wheel through the flower beds. Out of the 180 varieties of agave, only the Blue Agave is used for producing tequila. All Mexican tequila is made from this by law. And we certainly don’t want to be on the wrong side of that.
Over the weekend, I jumped took a seat at the chance to partake in a mucho grande tasting of a couple of favorites from Casa Herradura, located near Guadalajara, Mexico. Herradura was started up by Felix Lopez in 1870 and remained in the family until the 1960s.
To this day, the distillery produces 100 percent Blue Agave tequila that’s sold in 136 countries. The most important to note of these being Mexico, where their El Jimador labeled tequila is the Numero Uno selling brand. That said, it’s gotta be pretty good stuff.
Tequila El Jimador 100% Agave Reposado, as it’s formally named, is an 80-proof SIPPING tequila. “Reposado” means that it’s aged. Precisely, it’s aged in oak barrels for two months. It’s really smooth-palated liquor with citrus and caramel hints hiding within the obvious tequila flavor.
This is the brand that I keep handy in my home bar if guests drop in. It’s very good—and it won’t break the bank. Have it straight up or with the mixer of choice. You’ll be pleased either way.
Casa Herradura also makes a double-distilled Herradura Tequila Anejo. The Anejo badge means that it’s aged at least a year. This one is kept maturing for 25 months. Like El Jimador, it’s 100 percent agave and it’s 80-proof. The fact that it’s twice distilled and aged longer stands to make it silky slick. Some people tasted banana and buttery notes in this label. I definitely got fruity from it. Caramel surely comes through from the oak aging. It has a plethora of flavors, as El Guapo might say. It’s definitely above-par in the company of mid-range brands. It also has a horseshoe on the label. So, buy a lottery ticket when you pick up a bottle.
See? That didn’t hurt at all. So, calm down and tipple in a furnishing of tequila.