Sway of Tequila

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

-Sweet, sweet reposado.-

Back when I was in Mexico I was drinking a lot of tequila. I was on vacation, escaping the reality of the fire, and just trying to enjoy not having responsibilities for seven days. This, along with all drinks being included as part of the vacation, led to me being able to drink a lot of the stuff. Whether it was morning, noon, or after I'd taken some Benadryl and someone still insisted I go drink with him anyways I was putting away tequila like no one's business.

Which is fine. I love tequila. This is a rare notion because so many people develop aversion for it due to hazy twenty-first birthday memories punctuated by the acrid odor of lime and bile.

Yet tequila isn't a flat, one-dimensional liquor. The subtleties in flavor and variety in composition are as varied as any wine or sake. From the species of agave used, to the aging, distilling, and terroir each tequila is distinct. Oak aging imparts flavors of butter like what you find in a smooth Chardonnay. The bolder, harsh flavors of tequila blanco may be preferable for cocktailing, whereas a maple-colored añejo's subtle flavors require your full attention.

Tequila is as complex as any other type of alcohol and therefore should be tasted, compared, and enjoyed just the same. During the tour of the markets in Zihuatenejo I was effervescent at the thought of tequila tasting. I floated down the worn cobblestone streets searching until I found a high end tequila shop.

Tall oak shelves stretched to the ceiling from the terra cotta tiles, and bottles of all designs lined the shelves like a Wonderland dispensary. A sweet smell permeated the air that was redolent of wet stone and pears, so thick it melted on your tongue.

As I and a few fellow bloggers perused the different tequilas a gentleman in fine hemp shirt, slacks, and dapper leather sandals approached us. Soon he swept us away to a small bar counter and proceeded to guide us through a tasting of some of the finest tequilas they had.

One blanco was light with the taste of hay and apples. Next, a heavy bodied añejo whose molasses color matched its wildflower honey taste. Each and every sip was defined and distinct leaving it impossible to simply regard it as as JUST tequila.

However, it was when he poured the Clase Azul that I fell in love. An multi-award winning tequila, this particular reposado possessed little of the smoky flavors that comes from roasting the agave hearts that one expects in all forms of tequila. Rather its strength lied in softer flavors and their almost brutal pronouncement - soft butter flavors washed over and soon were swept away by berries. It finished sweet with the taste of cream. Light and refreshing.

-What? I like pretty things.-

Of course, I would be lying if I didn't say I was enchanted by the decanter. The curvy ceramic shape and design was created by a local artist in Zihuatanejo, and each bottle is hand painted. While you may have put up empty Captain Morgan bottles up in your dorm room as "decor" this decanter has actual artistic and practical value once the reposado was long gone; a characteristic vase or water decanter to sit in a guest bedroom for example.

I was sold and purchased a bottle then and there. I was proud of my purchase. Other food bloggers soon followed suit, between four of us we were unanimous in our decision. This was a tequila to be proud of and cherished in one's liquor cabinet, saved only for the most honored of guests and as panacea to the worst of days.

Now, I still have a bottle or two of more common tequila in my home, one for mixing, another for more common sipping, but this still sits as the prize possession in my cabinets. For anyone who is still afraid of tequila this is the one that will sway your prejudice and make you take pride in your tequila.

-100% Pure Win-

Have a favorite tequila or tequila story? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.


  1. One of my favorite tequilas was also discovered in Zihua (perhaps at that same tequila shop).


    I'll admit, I was sucked in by the label, but the tequila itself is very good with a nice earthy, spicy, caramel thing going on.

  2. you definitely called me out on the 21st birthday-born tequila aversion..

  3. Hi,

    No, you would'nt like to hear about my -only- tequilla story... believe me.
    I loved the bottle, though. Really pretty!

    Love from Lisbon

  4. There's a restaurant in Chicago that makes a mojito with tequila instead of run. It's outstanding.

  5. In my younger days, I really liked tequila, too. Not as a vehicle for getting hammered (remember tequila poppers? *shudder*). But for the taste. In margaritas, or shaken with a bit of lime and served up like a martini, or just sipped plain. Good stuff. Cazadores and Chinaco were two of my faves. Have you ever tasted sangrita while sipping tequila? Next time you're in MX, give it a try. Addictive.

  6. It is my senior year of college. Do I even need to go on?

    I have more tequilla stories than I care to think about but, the one that comes to mind is the Martguerita contest of Cinco De Mayo 2008. Sophomore years are notorious for bad decisions (and come to think of it, so are freshman, junior and senior years but, I digress). One of my roommates is of Colombian/Puerto Rican heritage and she made it clear she would teach me how to do Cinco De Mayo right (even though she is technically not Mexican,again, digression). We took our six other roommates and four of our boyfriends and went to a whole in the wall little Mexican resteraunt. This place was as legit as you can get and their tequilla was lethal. We ordered three rounds of margerita's and three rounds of tequilla shots and the game was that you had to suck down these 4.0 oz margerita's then shoot a tequilla shot and keep going until someone finished first (in the hour) and then they would be comped by the rest of us. The boyfriends finished in no sweat, as did three of our roommates but I do not remember any of this. It was all told to me. I blacked out after margerita number two and my boyfriend carried me home :)

    Oh tequilla...you know that saying really is true.
    One Tequilla
    Two Tequilla
    Three Tequilla

  7. Tequila fairytale!

    I love tequila. I sip it from shot glasses, as I really prefer the tequila to not go up my nose. Not a good party trick!

    Thanks for the wonderful post, and thanks also to comments who've left wonderful little tequila tips. :)

    *toasts with shot glass*

  8. I love this tequila as well. My husband and I bought some on our honeymoon a few years ago, and we keep it hidden in the cabinet so we can secretly enjoy its deliciousness and not have to share. Because it is so amazing.
    Question though: Do you know if you buy this in the states? If so, I would be more likely to leave the beautiful bottle out and share with some lovely guests. But if not, then it stays hidden away for only us to enjoy...

  9. Ari - High end liquor stores usually have it. Though, surprisingly, I have found it at Bevmo (though for a higher price than what I paid in MX, and furthermore, they always seem to be out, but usually have Clase Azul Plata).

  10. My favorite is Patron Coffee Flavored Tequila. I thought it sounded disgusting until I tried it.

  11. A favorite at our house is Tres Generaciones Anejo. We also discovered Cabo Wabo when we vacationed in (where else?) Cabo. Have you ever been to Tres Agave in SF? They make awesome Margaritas with Agave Nectar!

  12. Have you tried Agua Azul? Handcrafted ultra-small-batch tequila made by St. George Spirits in Alameda (makers of Hangar One and Absinthe). http://tastetequila.com/?p=238 Amazing. Get thee to their tasting room with a quickness!


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