When you’re passionate about tequila, celebrating the spirit and studying it go hand in hand. That’s why Olmeca Altos founders Henry Besant and Dré Masso created the Tahona Society with master distiller Jesus Hernandez in 2010. Knowing more about the ancient art and culture of tequila gives bartenders a deeper love and respect for the spirit they can pass on to guests.
Tales of the Cocktail asked me to find out more about the Tahona Society and tequila education for bartenders.
The Old Fashioned is the original cocktail … but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying a bunch of variations on the drink. Using the same ratio as an Old Fashioned only with different spirits is a great jumping off point for creating your own cocktail. (My book goes into this in detail!)
Here I’ve taken tequila and paired it with agave syrup (a natural partner, since tequila is made with agave) and grapefruit bitters (grapefruit and tequila are also BFFs).
1 1/2 ounces tequila reposado
1 teaspoon agave syrup
3 dashes grapefruit bitters (I used DIY grapefruit bitters)
Pour the agave syrup and bitters into an old-fashioned glass and stir with a bar spoon. Add ice, then pour in tequila and stir. Optional: Garnish with slice of grapefruit.
Photo by Jackson Stakeman
In honor of Thanksgiving, I got together with Savvy Housekeeping for a turkey-day-appropriate cocktail: the Cranberry Margarita! Aside from the gorgeous, deep red color, this drink has a refreshing tartness that is just the thing for a holiday built around heavy savory foods.
We used 100% cranberry juice for that true cranberry pucker. However, if you like things a little sweeter you can either add a little simple syrup (or agave) or you can use sweetened cranberry juice cocktail. Hey, this could even be a job for cran-apple, cran-raspberry, or another cran-juice.
1 1/2 oz cranberry juice
1 oz tequila
1/2 oz triple sec
Shake ingredients over ice, then strain into a cocktail glass. Spear fresh cranberries for garnish.
Familia Camarena sent me some tequila to review, along with a cute little cocktail tool kit. All I could think when I saw it was “Margarita time!” But all the summer fruit around made me want to get a little more creative than that. Since I couldn’t get Margaritas off my mind, I mixed up some Cherry Margaritas. I made this a little strong, since I like to taste the tequila and this is nice tequila. You can adjust the tequila and lime to your tastes.
(After the recipe, I’ll give my thoughts about Camarena Tequila.)
12 cherries (pitted)
1 ounce light agave nectar
2 ounces silver tequila
1 1/2 ounces fresh lime juice
Muddle the cherries and the agave nectar at the bottom of a shaker or mixing glass. Add the tequila and lime juice along with ice and then shake vigorously. Strain into rocks glass with fresh ice.
Michelada from T Magazine
Margaritas are the usual go-to cocktail for Cinco de Mayo. But if you’re looking for a different kind of Cinco de Mayo drink, here are a few fun ways to celebrate.
Michelada ~ Perfect for sipping all afternoon, this is a spiced beer cocktail that goes well with Mexican food.
Beer and a Smoke ~ Here’s another beer cocktail, only this one’s made with smoky mezcal for more oomph.
Rhubarb Rita ~ Rhubarb is in season, and it’s a great buddy for tequila. Slightly tart with a hint of sweetness, this is a refreshing Spring twist on a Margarita.
El Guapo ~ You can use tequila or mezcal in this spicy cousin to the classic Margarita. Bring on the heat!
Cilantro Tequila Lime Spritzer ~ If you want something light, this herbed spritzer will do the trick. Add jalapeño slices for a little kick.