Respect for Tequila
by Sheila Swerling-Puritt
Tequila is the Rodney Dangerfield of distilled spirits: It doesn't get any respect – not enough, anyway. When the occasional friend screws up their face and tells me about their first encounter with a Margarita, it's really about too many of them, made with Mixto and loads of sugar, gulped back in the hot sun. No wonder they abandoned what is a wonderful spirit.
For true Tequila enjoyment, stick with those bottlings made of 100% blue agave. The plant is a member of the lily family – not a cactus – and takes almost a decade to reach maturity. It may cost more than Mixto (51% blue agave) but it's worth the price. Tequila is from an officially delimited region in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. If you visit Guadalajara it is definitely worth the time to drop in to some of the nearby distilleries.
Unaged blanco (silver) has a distinctive delicious agave flavor and is great in mixed drinks. Reposado has a little barrel aging and can be enjoyed neat or in cocktails. Añejo has spent more time in the barrel, which gives it a golden colour. It's meant to be used as you would a cognac or good single malt. When you're shopping for Tequila don't be fooled by fancy packaging. A nice bottle doesn't guarantee a pleasant drink. Our shelves only hold a modest variety of Tequilas, but fortunately the list seems to be growing.
Enjoy your Tequila with food. Its bright lively flavour complements your dishes. It also makes a nice change from vodka in your martini.
A delicious surprise was my recent introduction to the exceptional smooth taste of Tequila Tromba, introduced to our market by a Toronto native Eric Brass, who fell in love with tequila while on an exchange program in Mexico. His tequila was launched in 2010. Their Master Distiller is Marco Cedano and the distillery is located up in the area of Arandas. They make a Blanco, Reposado and Añejo. Sorry, Ontario is the only province where Tequila Tromba Blanco is available for now. It's also available in Australia, where Brass's partner hails from. I'll let you know as soon as I hear when it has listings in the rest of Canada.
I fell in love with his Tromba Verdita (could this possibly be the best tasting health food)?
- 750 ml pineapple juice
- Juice from one fresh squeezed lime
- 1 large handful of cilantro (stems and leaves, no roots)
- 1 large handful of mint (stems and leaves, no roots)
- ½–1 jalapeño pepper (if you want spicy don't remove the seeds)
- First place cilantro, mint and jalapeño into the blender with the pineapple juice and lime juice.
- Blend all ingredients well.
- Balance out the sweetness/acidity and heat.
- Blend all ingredients again until mixed well and then double strain into your glass bottle.
Always keep your Verdita refrigerated in between uses.
- 2 oz. Tromba Blanco (chilled)
- 2½ oz. Verdita Juice
Place the Verdita juice in another glass and drink as a chaser with your tequila.
Blood Orange Margarita
It's great now that you can find blood orange juice all year round in the grocery store refrigeration juice section.
- 1½ oz. Tequila Tromba
- ½ oz. Cointreau
- ½ oz. simple syrup
- Juice of 1 lime
½ oz. blood orange drizzled on top of drink
- Shake all the ingredients well with ice.
- Pour into a lowball glass over ice.
Images © 2012 Tequila Tromba
My focus group at George Brown College in Toronto tasted these first neat and then with a little fresh lime:
Cabo Wabo Reposado
Nose: earthy, smoky, floral, ginger
Taste: spicy, tropical fruit, peaches, caramel, citrus
Finish: soft and smooth
Don Julio Blanco
Nose: crisp agave aromas, blended with hints of lemon, lime, grapefruit notes
Taste: slightly sweet and agave flavour
Finish: touch of black pepper, herbaceous undertones
Don Julio Reposado
Nose: cooked agave and honey, slight smokiness
Taste: hints of dark chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon
Finish: warm with essence of dried fruit
Gran Centenario Reposado
Nose: light fruity, agave,
Taste: spicy, minty, raisins, caramel
Finish: well balanced, slight warm sweet finish
Maestro Dobel Diamond
Colour: an aged tequila that looks like a silver due to special filtering, but is comprised of Reposade, Añejo and Extra-Añejo tequilas.
Nose: baked agave, coffee
Taste: vanilla, butterscotch and nutmeg
Finish: honey, smooth, very well balanced
Tequila 1800 Silver
Nose: slightly vegetal, smokey, hint of agave
Taste: citrus and slightly sweet
Finish: smooth but watch out for the high alcohol kick on the finish
- 2 oz. CABO WABO Reposado
- 2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 oz. triple sec.
- Combine ingredients, shake over ice and strain into cocktail glass.
- Garnish with slice of fresh lime.
Option: salt the rim of the glass.
For more information, you can contact Sheila at email@example.com.