Category Archives: Events

M.A. “Mike” Morales to Judge Monterey Tequila Fest

2014 Monterey Tequila Fest

As if we aren’t busy enough lately, we’re expecting to be even more busy as M.A. “Mike” Morales has been asked to judge for the Monterey Bay Tequila & Cusine (Monterey Tequila Festival) this year.  Actually, that means Lisa needs to film more vines and post more updates to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter while Mike has to drink more tequila.  It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it!  If you plan on being in or near Monterey, California, this October, be sure to plan to attend this festival.

Tequila Aficionado is happy to be part of it!

monterey baySAVE THE DATE

6th Annual Monterey Bay Tequila & Cuisine

October 11, 2014

Monterey Hyatt Regency

Join them on Facebook

Agave, art, auction, brand ambassadors, chefs, cuisine, culture, elegance, enthusiasts, mariachi, after-party social y mas!   Are you ready for a first-class agave experience? Join us at the sixth annual MBTC taking place on Saturday, October 11th , 2014 at the newly remodeled Hyatt Grand Regency Ballroom nestled on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula.


Friday, October 10, 2014:

Agave Awards and Sponsor Dinner (Invitation Only & VIP All Access)

Saturday, October 11, 2014:

3:00 – 5:00 p.m. –  Auction and Tapas Reception – Come get a sneak peak at the agave-inspired silent auction, benefiting Rancho Cielo.  Enjoy live Mariachi and tapas that will surely satisfy the palate!

4:00 – 5:00 p.m. – Early entry for VIPs

4:00 – 5:00 p.m. – Tequila 101 for VIPs

5:00 p.m. – Doors open to the general public

5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Main tasting | food | entertainment

9:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. – After Party Social – Continue the fun at the MBTC After Party Social and dance to the sounds of live drummer-percussionist, D-Rock Drums from southern California, collaborating along side local DJ Noel Saucedo.  A must attend!

 

Tickets for the much anticipated sixth annual MBTC are on sale now!  Be sure to purchase early – tickets sell out each year.  Depending on availability, tickets may be available at the door day of the event.  Group discounts are available.  If you are joining us with a group of 8 or more, please email cyo.events@gmail.com for more information on discounted rates.  We also offer a Designated Driver discount.

Ready For A Taste of Old Town?

taste of old town banner lg

 

taste of old town, san diego, herradura

Many were disappointed with the moving of the Spirits of Mexico festival to a new venue this year.  Old Town San Diego businesses have always benefited from this event and most came to look forward to the annual visit from aficionados of agave spirits.  Rather than be put off, the Mexican restaurants and tequila bars of Old Town have put together their own event that is sure to delight.  The new Taste of Old Town event, presented by Tequila Herradura, will debut on Thursday, Sept.18, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Taste of Old Town will give food and spirit lovers the chance to blaze through the streets of Old Town sampling selections of spirits and beer paired with culinary specialties from 15 participating restaurants.

Produced by the Old Town Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Tequila Herradura, Taste of Old Town tickets are $30 if purchased in advance and $35 on the day of the event. A ‘food only’ ticket is available for $20. Most restaurants will offer samples of a signature dish, alongside a spirit or beer brand sampling its product.

“We have had similar events in the past but this year’s Taste of Old Town is sure to knock your socks off,” said event chair Chuck Ross of Old Town Family Hospitality Corp., the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Fiesta de Reyes. “All the restaurants have stepped up and are serving either specially created dishes for this event, or their signature favorites.”

TOOT1At the Fiesta de Reyes restaurants, Casa de Reyes will be serving a taste of one of their most popular dishes ‘Mar y Tierra,’ which is a prawn stuffed with crab, spinach, mushrooms and wrapped in bacon. Barra Barra Saloon will be serving mango sea bass ceviche in a mini martini glass and mini portions of Chile Colorado, which is pork simmered in a rich red, dry chili sauce. The Cosmopolitan Restaurant has created a mini short rib slider skewer, exclusively for Taste of Old Town.

Café Coyote will be serving its ‘Famous Cafe Coyote Carnitas Taco,’ featuring tender pieces of pork slow cooked in Mexico’s traditional style, topped with guacamole, salsa fresca, onions, cilantro and lime.

Miguel’s Cocina is planning to serve its ‘Camarones Jalisco,’ which is jumbo shrimp stuffed with Monterey jack cheese and rajas, wrapped in bacon and grilled, then topped with its famous jalapeño white sauce.

taste of old town

Old Town Mexican Café will spotlight its carnitas and pollo asado street tacos, topped with grilled onions and guacamole salsa. They will also be serving up ‘Chocoflan,’ a homemade flan glazed with tequila on top of moist chocolate cake.

Other participating restaurants include Alamo Mexican Cafe, Casa Guadalajara, El Patio, Fred’s Mexican Café, La Piñata, Old Town Tequila Factory and Rockin’ Baja Lobster. In addition, Cold Stone Creamery and RUST General Store and Bistro will be offering free samples as well.

Participating spirits include 1800 Tequila, Azunia Tequila, Casamigos Tequila, Corralejo Tequila, el Jimador, Espolón Tequila, Frida Kahlo Tequila, Grand Leyenda Premium Organic Tequila, Herradura, Milagro Tequila, Roca Patron and Tequila Cazadores, and Tres Agaves.

Visit here for more information and to purchase tickets.

 

 

 

Free Tasting of Peligroso Tequila Tonight!

la fogata, san antonioEducate Your Palate

Get Back in the School Spirit: Test Your Taste Buds with Peligroso Tequila

Peligroso Tequila Featured from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm , Saturday, September 13th

Summer is drawing to a close and tequila class is in session! Following in the back to school spirit, La Fogata is once again schooling their guests in the nuances of tequila during a free tasting on La Fogata’s patio. Who knew learning could be so fun and delicious??

peligroso, la fogata, tequilaBased on their past experience with the drink, most people tend to shy away from tequila. While “one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor” might have been something you were used to hearing in college, thankfully both tequila and you have grown up. Top shelf tequilas are made with only 100% agave and are distilled to perfection, removing any impurities that would cause a pounding headache the next day. The cheaper tequilas may have also been mixed with sugars or other additives, making them more likely to give you a hangover. The pure, grown-up version of the spirit gives you all the fun and flavor, minus the hangovers.

Forget everything you know about tequila and let the masters at La Fogata educate you. When drank straight up, tequila is meant to be sipped and savored like a fine scotch or bourbon, rather than taken as a shot. Swirl the tequila in the glass, take a small sip and swish the liquid around your mouth for a few seconds, allowing your taste buds to pick up on the tequila’s unique flavors. Swallow, enjoy and repeat—no salt or lime required!

peligroso, tequila, la fogata, san antonio, mexican restaurantThe free tasting table will feature the premium tequila served both straight up and mixed in one of La Fogata’s award-winning margaritas. The tasting table will be open on La Fogata’s main patio from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 13. But if you can’t make the tequila tasting, don’t worry:  La Fogata is featuring Peligroso throughout the month of September, so you have the opportunity to try the tequila by ordering it in your favorite drink at La Fogata.

Featuring longtime favorites alongside all-new cocktails, aperitifs and margaritas inspired by member of La Fogata’s “extended family”—its most loyal guests—the restaurant’s new drink menu is the perfect way to expand your drink palette while exploring tequila flavors. Enjoy a fabulous night at La Fogata on Saturday, September 13th, and before you head to your table for an amazing meal, be sure to stop by the tequila tasting table to learn more about Peligroso.

For more information on La Fogata, visit www.lafogata.com or call 210-340-1337.

About La FogataOffering authentic Mexican cuisine made with fresh ingredients from traditional recipes, La Fogata has made its mark on San Antonio with fabulous food, welcoming staff and a lively, upbeat atmosphere that never fails to deliver a smile. Known for its award-winning margaritas, fire-roasted salsa and its terrific outdoor dining on patios filled foliage, fountains and mariachis, the restaurant encompasses almost three city blocks and is considered the place to take out-of-town visitors, the spot to celebrate special occasions and the place to go when you want an authentic Mexican meal without ever leaving San Antonio. Founded in 1978, the restaurant’s mission is to create happiness. La Fogata is located at 2427 Vance Jackson Rd., just 12 minutes from downtown San Antonio. For more information, visit www.lafogata.com.

 

Announcement provided by request and does not represent the opinion or endorsement of Tequila Aficionado in any form. 

The Texas Bar & Nightclub Alliance Convention

What’s New

The Texas Bar & Nightclub Alliance Convention successfully launched its first annual event at the Radisson Hotel & Suites in downtown Austin on August 10-11, 2014.

Primarily a show that serves the spirits industry (or trade) in Texas, for us at Tequila Aficionado Media, it was a chance to visit with new brands, products and services trying to break into the challenging Texas spirits market.

In this clip, Michael E. Klein, a spirits entrepreneur and long-time Austin businessman who spearheaded the formation of the alliance, explains its purpose.

What follows are some of the highlighted products that you should watch out for on Tequila Aficionado Media, in Texas, and beyond.

Briscas Mezcal2014-08-11 15.09.09

In the current booming mezcal market, more and more brands are appearing under the traditional higher alcoholic proofs that more established mezcals are known for.  Briscas is a refreshing libation that refuses to be confused with other gateway mezcal brands.

Ricardo Gonzales, Sales & Marketing Director for importer Moreno Spirits, gives us a quick rundown of the small batch espadín Briscas Mezcal.

Juan Moreno, President & CEO of Moreno Spirits, explains how bringing Briscas to market was a journey of discovery for himself and his family.

Surprises

The Texas Bar & Nightclub Alliance Convention was not without surprises for us at Tequila Aficionado Media.

Jason Kosmas, co-founder of the 86 Company.

Jason Kosmas, co-founder of the 86 Company.

Austin resident Jason Kosmas, co-founder of the celebrated The 86 Company responsible for a brilliant line of spirits with exacting quality like our Brands Of Promise(TM) Overproof Silver Medal winning Tequila Cabeza, made an appearance in support of the event.

tbnca

L-R: Mike Morales, Jason Kosmas, John Rivers

Also exhibiting in grand style was John L. Rivers IV (a.k.a.: Juan Rios), Managing Director of Julio Cesar Chavez Tequila, a new offering from the illustrious former boxing champion.

Not only did he share with us some of this fine sipping tequila and listed its current markets, but also an exclusive photo of a super piña in the champ’s agave fields.

[Spoiler Alert!  At press time, we had not notified John about our verdict of Julio Cesar Chavez Tequila’s review on a future Sipping Off The Cuff(TM), but we let the cat out of the bag, here….]

Mixing and Matching

2014-08-11 16.02.19One of the more exciting and refreshing combos we discovered at the Texas Nightclub & Bar Alliance Convention was between Pablo Madrigali, Brand Manager with Mexcor International and Lucy Corona, co-founder of Slim Ritas, the 100 calorie fresh juice margarita mix.

Mexcor, a family owned business based in Houston, TX, has been the importer of crowd pleasing tequilas at reasonable prices from Destiladora del Valle de Tequila (NOM 1438)  for several years, including El Reformador, Cava de los Morales and Agavales.

Lucy Corona is a dynamic and spirited mother and business owner whose dream after giving birth to her children was to enjoy a satisfying and natural margarita.  So she made them herself!

Here, Rob Corona explains the birth of SlimRitas.

Here, Pablo gives a bit of Mexcor’s and Agavales’ history, and how he and Lucy joined forces.

One To Watch

2014-08-11 14.35.19 michael kleinMichael E. Klein has handed the reigns of planning future conventions to the team at San Antonio based SMC Events, and it looks to expand the tradeshow’s reach even further with more products and services participating.

Judging from the contagious energy coming from the booths of other exhibitors at the first annual Texas Nightclub & Bar Alliance Convention, the promise of bigger yearly events looks to be a sure thing.

The Roca Patron Road Show

The Roca Patrón launch party invitation.

The Roca Patrón launch party invitation.

 

Roca Patron Hits The Road

All across the country, in carefully selected cities where the beautiful people roam like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami, and San Francisco, the Patrón PR machine (which spent a reported $34.1 million in measured media in 2013), is rolling out its new Roca Patrón line of tequilas.

Here in Tejas, on August 11, 2014, at the famed Brazos Hall in Austin, Tequila Aficionado Media was invited to the head of the line and behind the braided rope to be one of the first to try this new offering from Planet Patrón.

Once Inside…

The Brazos Hall was entirely furnished with wooden Roca Patrón branded furniture, fixtures, barrels and props, along with its own stage where a dynamic digital screen replayed a two minute silent video that was programmed to pulsating club music at deafening decibels.

 

 

Besides coming with its own publicity campaign that includes a stylized knockoff of their familiar bottle, projecting the Patrón name and iconic bee symbol onto the walls and some snappy slogans on ads and cushy sofa pillows, the entire experience is designed to embed a feeling of Old World rustic tequila-making with a modern twist.

The Process

El Tesoro's tahona, still in use.

El Tesoro’s tahona, still in use.

What makes this new addition to the Patrón portfolio any different from its usual ho-hum juice?

Roca Patrón (a Spanish corruption of the English word rock) is made exclusively using a tahona or volcanic stone wheel to macerate agave piñas to extract its juice.  Until the invention and adoption of more efficient and less labor intensive shredding machines, this was once how all tequilas were produced.

In this clip, Patrón Quality Director, Mario Chavez, explains why they settled on a 90 proof blanco and reveals some of the details in the pre-planning of the Roca line.

Mario explained that the tahona has always been part of the tequila making process for regular Patrón which they blend after distillation with juice that has been shredded.  This method was made famous by Tequila Siete Leguas, Patrón’s original producer, and eventually pilfered by Patrón.  For Roca, however, no blending occurs.

 

2014-08-11 19.12.58

L-R: Mike Morales, John Rivers of Julio Cesar Chavez Tequila, Mario Chavez. Patrón Quality Director, Mario Chavez, was so animated and excited about sharing Roca Patron that we couldn’t capture a still photo of him! Special thanks to Greg Cohen for inviting us to a great party!

 

Francisco-head-shot

Francisco Alcaraz, Patron Master Distiller

In his passion, Mario was sure that there were no other tequilas produced exclusively using a tahona.  I reminded him of the sought-after Fortaleza brand which he acknowledged, and Suerte, which he had never heard of.  But, why would he?  He is so engrossed in his own line that it figures that he would be oblivious to any other ones.  An honest, and forgivable, mistake.

Several distillers/chemical engineers are associated with the Roca line.  It’s refreshing to see a new face representing Patrón besides Francisco Alcaraz, their long time Master Distiller.

Cocktail Worthy

The Roca Patrón website has plenty of signature cocktails, but for each of the other 40 odd launch cities including Austin, original recipes were created by hired hot mixologists.

As previously pointed out in our reviews of Cabeza, Tapatío 110, and the entire Dulce Vida line, overproof tequilas shine in cocktails and Roca Patrón is no different.

Both myself and Mario agreed, however, that for a purist, a tequila the caliber of Roca

Lutfy Flores, David Alan, Carolyn Gil, Brian Dressel, Joyce Garrison, Patrón's guest mixologists.

Lutfy Flores, David Alan, Carolyn Gil, Brian Dressel, Joyce Garrison, Patrón’s guest mixologists.

Patrón would be much better served either neat, or simply on the rocks.

The Break Down

For the sake of transparency, we were served Roca Patrón on tap at room temperature in branded champagne glasses.  (Don’t be fooled by the lit-from-behind liquid lines viewed through false tequila barrel tops.  Patrón invented the art of visual illusion for these events.)

Patrón reps that evening admitted that it was not the best way to taste test tequila, but considering the amount of guests invited to the launch, it proved more cost effective.

Due to the darkness of the Brazos Hall, observing Roca’s color was next to impossible.

Roca Patrón Silver–90 proof

The new Roca Patrón line.

The new Roca Patrón line.

At first sniff, instant piedra (tahona, rock) with barely any hint of alcohol.  The nose gives no warning for what’s to come, however.  Extreme agave on the entry, so brace yourselves.  Light to medium finish that lingers on the palate, not down your throat.  On the second intake, more sweetness is evident.

Roca Patrón Reposado–84 proof

Instant butter on the nose to go along with the wood notes, vanilla and caramel.  Mario confessed that his wife is even able to pull some pineapple and pear on the entry.  Both were slightly noticeable, again with very little to no alcohol.  Aged in American oak barrels and guaranteed to coat your palate.

Roca Patrón Añejo–88 proof

Aged 14 months, mas o menos, there is evidence of dried fruit, nuts and some citrus.  Again, very little if any alcohol was present in the nose.  Very easy finish, but not as memorable as the reposado even though it, too, will coat the palate.

The Verdict

Both at the event and in digital print, Patrón reps and officials have admitted that there has been a gradual decline in demand for its tequila in the United States.  Consumers and industry professionals alike have dismissed it as a brand that rests on its colorful past and deft marketing.

Whether this trend has been due to the rise of mixologists and their demands for better and more artisanal ingredients for their cocktail creations, a more sophisticated and educated consumer, or focusing on its ravenous rise to dominance in the overseas Duty Free market, Roca Patrón is their bold statement to these allegations.

Despite Patrón’s attempt to backpedal into the current craft tequila craze with Roca, it is still a mass produced tequila targeted to their own particular customer base–

Those willing to spend anywhere from $69, $79, and $89 for silver, reposado, and añejo expressions.

Don’t expect to see these prices drop, either.  Patrón was one of the only tequila producers that refused to roll back prices during the recession even though consumers were trading down to cheaper brands.

In the end, those faithful Patrón followers who enjoy the Gran Patrón line (Platinum, Piedra, or Burdeos), but not the heady price tags, will appreciate Roca Patrón’s assertive flavor profile and less aggressive cost.

As for the Patrón Road Show…

It was an elegant, eventful, and enlightening affair.  Like watching Cirque du Soleil but without the embarrassing costumes.

***

Watch for a future Sipping Off The Cuff(TM) featuring Roca Patrón, coming soon!


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