If I had only one wish it would be to crash land on a deserted island with only jalapenos and blue agave plants.—
Tom B. Taker (@shoutabyss) April 17, 2012
It was a simple request.
“You want us to watch for anything special when we hit the thrift stores?”
“Sure. A glass boot.”
(laughing) “Yeah, right. Be serious, you ass!”
“I am being serious. It’s a boot, made out of class, maybe two feet high. My parents had one. I remember it had a German beer label on it. You drink beer from it. I always wanted to do that.”
They came back with a set of of little tiny glass cowboy boots. Not exactly the same, but yee haw. Let’s fill that son of a bitch with some tequila! I think that’s perfect glassware for the Abyss.
Ask me to name some songs about tequila and I can think of a few without even trying.
- Tequila (the song with only one word) – The Champs (if you look you can find the lyrics online)
- Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffet
- Jose Cuervo (you are a friend of mine) – Shelly West
- Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off – Joe Nichols
- 10 Rounds With Jose Cuervo – Tracy Bird
Make no mistake about it. On the deserted island I’d want real tequila. Accept no substitutes. Not even Tia Tequila. And don’t get fooled by Jose Cuervo, either. The regular version of Jose Cuervo is a blend. That means only 51% of the alcohol content comes from the sugars of the agave plant. The rest comes from “less expensive” sugar sources. Them thar’s fightin’ words, gringo.
There’s a tequila-like beverage called Tarantula that I’ve been known to have encounters with. (Why can’t I simply just drink it like everyone else?) But that’s not 100% agave tequila, either. But I can sure drink that stuff, laws yes. Tarantula Azul tequila-based citrus liqueur. And me loves it.
19 years of living in San Diego and making booze runs across the border gives one a deep love and appreciation of tequila. And Kahlua, too, but that’s another story. True story: I once passed out on the dance floor of Hussong’s Cantina in Ensenada, Mexico. Believe it or not, I even lived to tell the story. I love Baja.
When it’s time for a mixed drink, like a margarita, only the real stuff will do. Do not use that blended shit. The various types of tequilas may surprise you. It’s more complicated than you’d probably ever guess. There are types called blanco, joven, reposado, añejo, and extra añejo. These types are generally differentiated by color, age, blending and process.
A typical reposado, like Sauza Hornitos, is described as “100% puro de agave.” Wikipedia says a reposado is “smoother, subtler, and more complex” than the harsher, bolder flavors of a blanco.
In my home, Hornitos is just fine for mixing. Some people extol Patron, and I’ve given it a try, but I don’t see how it is worth the higher price. My taste buds are apparently not that sophisticated.
When you think tequila, you likely think about shots or margaritas. Perhaps in America the margarita might be the #1 tequila drink. In Mexico, however, something called a paloma dethrones the margarita.
The paloma is the drink we discovered last week during our free dinner fiasco. And what a discovery it turned out to be!
Wikipedia describes a paloma as “a tequila-based cocktail, most commonly prepared by mixing tequila with a grapefruit-flavored soda such as Squirt or Jarritos and served on the rocks with a lime wedge. Optionally, the glass may also be rimmed with salt.”
The paloma might not be as trendy as a mojito but don’t count it out until you give it a try.
It’s delicious and easier to make than a traditional margarita. Admittedly I’m still a newbie but I’ve yet to hear anything about a blended paloma.
The grapefruit juice is the key ingredient. If you hate grapefruit juice then your love affair with the paloma is probably dead even before the first date. A writer for the Washington Post wrote, “[g]rapefruit flavor mixes perfectly with tequila, better than lime juice alone.” Check out the Washington Post link for a paloma recipe, too.
My impression is that a typical paloma in Mexico is made with Squirt or what my bartender last night called Jarritos. The first paloma we tried last week, however, was called “skinny.” Grapefruit juice and seltzer water replaces the Squirt. Soda contains a lot of sugar, so switching it out is enough to earn the skinny appellation.
We’re still perfecting our home recipe trying to find the sweet spot of flavor. Fortunately even near misses are still delicious. Last night I had the Squirt version of the paloma while we were out, and when we got home, purely in the name of science, I filled my boot with the skinny version for comparison. I liked them both but I think skinny wins.
Next time you’re in the mood for tequila try to resist the urge to run with the herd and knee jerk a margarita. Instead, try something new and give the paloma a try. It’s a delicious twist on an old friend.