Eduardo Gomez, the founder of Tequila & Mezcal Fest, the biggest Tequila and Agave spirit festival in Europe, has some tips for those who’ve only ever considered tequila as a shot…
“Tequila is a spirit with an incredible heritage and distinctive flavours,” Eduardo says. “It can be as fine a spirit as whisky or rum when enjoyed correctly.”
But, as with any new interest, a little knowledge goes a long way and Eduardo is keen to share his passion for tequila and all things Mexican.
“Tequila is distilled from the Weber Blue Agave plant. Other spirits, such as mezcal, are produced from other varieties of agave. And, as with Cognac or Champagne, location determines authenticity and tequila can only be produced in Mexico,” he says.
“Tequila can be classified as 100% agave or mixtos. While the former is distilled entirely from Weber Blue Agave and has a more upfront, bold flavour, in mixtos only 51% of the sugars must come from the agave plant. The remaining 49% can come from other sources like grain or sugarcane, which endows the tequila with a more subtle flavour.
“While the more familiar white expression (referred to as silver or blanco) is a young spirit, tequila can be aged for anything from a few months through to many years. Doing so results in a darker tequila, and the type of barrel it has been matured in helps it develop complex flavour notes just like those found in whisky, bourbon or cognac. These aged tequilas are known by different names, depending on the ageing period: Reposado is aged for between two and 12 months; Añejo sits in the barrel for one to two years; and Extra Añejo is aged for a minimum of two years.
“If you want to explore tequila’s true taste, the best way is to sip it tequila neat, or even on the rocks, just like they do in Mexico. Try pouring it in a wine glass to help the flavours develop and then swirl the glass before nosing it gently. Finally, sip it slowly and enjoy tequila’s earthy agave notes.”
It will come as no surprise to hear that tequila mixes incredibly well in cocktails. While most of us have enjoyed a Margarita, why not try something different, like a Paloma, one of the most popular drinks in Mexico – or even try swapping out whiskey for tequila in an Old Fashioned.
If you’re in London, then Patrón Tequila has drawn up a shortlist of its favourite bars, along with their signature tequila cocktails:
- Picanté de la Casa at Soho House: This spicy margarita is the most popular cocktail on the Soho House menu across Europe and is available in every Cecconi’s restaurant.
- The Paloma at Playa, Marylebone: The Paloma is one of the classic tequila cocktails. If you would like to make your own simply pour 50ml of Patrón Silver tequila with 90ml of grapefruit juice, and 15ml of lime into a highball glass. Add a pinch of salt, stir, top up with ice and garnish with a twist of grapefruit peel.
- The Patrón Anejo Old Fashioned at Hovarda: This is a perfect tequila twist on an all-time classic: simply substitute whiskey for tequila in your favourite Old Fashioned recipe – and if you don’t have a favourite, why not try Phil Huff’s version?