Stumbling head first into Cinco de Mayo (at least that’s me after taste testing for this post) is a great opportunity to share some distilled liquor treasures from Mexico. Yes, yes, tequila is on the list. But there are many horizons to reach for beyond tequila. Take this as an opportunity to cross the border and try something new. You might find a new favorite and if nothing else, certainly impress your hipster foodie neighbors!
Tequila, love it or hate it, there’s a good chance it makes you think of some outrageous night from many moons ago. I’m sorry, enough about me. Tequila is actually a city in Guadalajara and the surrounding areas are where this liquor is primarily derived. Although there are different methods of production, tequila can only be made from blue agave plants.
Good Lord, times have changed since the shot-glass-around-my-neck-days at Squid Row. Did you know that Riedel actually makes proper crystal stemware for tequila? I’m a huge fan of sipping tequilas like Casa Dragones. Served well chilled, it’s delightful.
If you’re not up for sipping it neat, this Tequila Gimlet made with Casamigos is perfection. I swear my purchase had nothing to do with George Clooney (ok, well maybe a little). Casa Amigos was on special at Von’s – how could I refuse??? It was like George wanted me …to buy his tequila. I’ll even toast to his new class-act fiancée. Salud!
Mezcal is made from the heart of the maguey plant, a native Mexican agave. Although I’d like to go all Goop on you and hail it as a new discovery, they’ve been making Mezcal in Mexico for 200 years. I like it; it’s a tad smoky. It’s easy to track down, this Mezcal from Bev Mo! is awesome.
But if you really want to feel cool, you’ll try…
Bacanora! Bacanora has been produced for over 300 years in super traditional ways from the State of Sonora, Mexico. It is made from the agave yaquiana plant. This agave has to be 6-7 years old before the leaves are removed, the core is toasted and then cooked in underground pits made from volcanic rocks in the region. There’s not a lot of Bacanora around, or even many producers, so this one is pretty special. If you like tequila and mezcal, this should be on your wish list.
Distilled mainly from in the Chihuahua region, Sotol is a distinctive tequila-like liquor in a class of it’s own. Made from the Desert Spoon (or Sotol) plant, this is a departure from the traditional agave family. The Desert Spoon is an evergreen that takes more than twelve years to mature before harvest. Sotol has a flavor that is floral and grassy. Serve this up and it will score even more points than having a Kinfolk magazine on your coffee table.
Hi-Time has a variety of Sotol offerrings from Hacienda de Chihuahua (Plata, Reposado and Anejo). If you’re in the OC area go grab a bottle or two (and if you’re not, don’t worry they ship!).
Ok chicos, it’s time to start pouring. Who’s in?