Tonight I had the great pleasure of attending the Northwest Spirits and Mixology Show, held at the Jupiter Hotel in Portland, Oregon. I hob-nobbed with several celebrities in the bartending and distillery realms and had a chance to sample their wares. Now, I never pretended to be a mixologist, because that requires some specialized study and some awe-inspiring hand-eye coordination. However, thanks to the three years I’ve been chasing Bloody Marys, I fancy myself something of a cocktologist. That is, until I met the nice men at the El Jimador booth, who taught me several tequila facts.
1. Tequila comes only from certain regions in Mexico, where it undergoes a rigorous distilling process. It is made only from Agave Azul, or blue agave.
2. “Tequila” from other areas is actually called Mezcal. It can be made from any of 250 species of agave, and its production is not well regulated.
3. If you find a worm in your tequila, that’s a sure sign it’s Mezcal.
4. Tequila and Mezcal come only from Mexico. They are not produced in any other country.
5. Blanco refers to tequila that is newly distilled. Resposado means that it has “rested” for 2 months. Anejo tequila has been aged for 1 year.
6. The latest fad is to take anejo and age it some more, up to 4 years, in a barrel that used to contain something else, like bourbon.
7. Besides making a dynamite Bloody Mary, tequila is fantastic in a Jalisco Horchata. Take a shot of your favorite tequila, lots of ice, 1/2 oz of simple syrup, and 2-3 ounces of rice milk. Shake well. Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.