Category Archives: Education of a Tequila Drinker

The Diffusor in Tequila Production: Are They Cheating?

The Diffusor in a Recent Twitter Conversation:

A thought provoking question was asked via Twitter about the use of diffusors in tequila production.

For the uninitiated, diffusors are used to efficiently extract the starches from harvested agave piñas that are subsequently cooked and distilled to make mass produced tequila.  To purists, its use is blasphemy because it strips the tequila of character and results in something akin to vodka.

Furthermore, its use is usually kept under wraps by those distilleries who would prefer to let their marketing departments lead you to believe that they still produce tequila the “old fashioned way” without shortcuts.

Case in point is this following Twitter conversation:

 

Click on any of the links within the Twitter stream to follow, favorite, retweet, quote or respond.

More Questions Than Answers

Now, not only are we left to wonder who’s zooming who on whether or not Herradura uses a diffusor, but we feel the need to question the reasons for using a diffusor, who has been known to use it in the past and who may still be using it to eek out the most juice from their agave.

Follow the link below to one of the most thorough crash courses on tequila diffusor technology.

 

muchoagave.com, diffusor, tequila, tequila aficionado

 

 

Link: http://www.muchoagave.com/the-difusor—there-may-be-too-much-agave-in-your-tequila-or-mezcal.html

And this link on revealing tequila trends written in 2012 by freelance spirits writer, Emma Janzen.

 

Additional discussions on Linkedin proved informative:

  • International Business Manager at Jorge Salles Cuervo y Sucesores S.A. de C.V:

    Eventhough I do not like that Diffusers are used, I think that using it is not cheating. It is a new way to produce Tequila, that is approved by law and obviously will do no harm to whom may drik it. Any way the consumer that drink Tequila that has been produced with a Diffuser are aiming at a Low Cost and Low Quality product that cannot be compared to one that has been elaborated in a traditional method, which will give a much better flavour and quality.

  • Owner/CEO at Corazon Azul Spirits, LLC.

    Jorge Antonio Salles is right on his answer, the use of Diffusers in the production of tequila will just yield a lower quality product in very large quantities but it is not cheating, although they are not largely used in the industry, only the big producers due to the cost and operation are able to buy them and put them into production, however they do also produce a product called innulina which is the sugar extracted from the Agave pine and recent studies claim this product as a weight loosing agent and reducer of sugar levels in the human system thus reducing the chances of developing diabetes.

  • Distilled Spirits Head Dragon and Broker / Marketer / Sipper of Artisanal Spirits

    Nice bust on Herradura. LOL! :)

  • Tequilero at http://tequilaconnection.com

    While visiting Herradura in 2012, I asked the question. I believe the reply was yes, they were using the diffuser to produce their Pepe Lopez brand. They export a lot of it.

  • Chief Executive Officer at Tequila Aficionado Media

    They have also been known to use it on El Jimador, and have since stopped using it on Herradura.

    Some purists still believe they do, however, when old Herradura is compared to modern (Brown-Forman) Herradura.

  • Gerente General en Luna Spirits SA de CV

    In my opinion when the distillers used diffusers they are Cheating on self, why? One thing is the letter of the law and other is the spirits of the law.
    When the distillers use a difusser, they accomplish the letter of the law despite to be an approved method to distill, but its only proposal is obtain more quantity of alcohol, the quality is secondary and this kind of producer need to “adjust” the flavor with external agents (advocantes), approved method too, but in my opinion, they are not part of the natural process.
    When the distillers use a pot distill, they do it as flavor quest, to obtain the best profile possible with the natural components of the fermented agave juice, adjusting distill conditions, they follow the spirit of the law. And the quality is their first goal.
    In my opinion the secret to do a real tequila is: Work in the process be careful and responsible, like you are the owner of the distillery and obtain a product with a exceptional quality, assuming you the final consumer role.

  • Chief Executive Officer at Tequila Aficionado Media

    Beautifully said, Don Modesto!

 

 

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David Suro’s Amazing Tequila 101

little rock, food, podcast, videoSpecial thanks to www.lrfoodcast.com for providing such a great video of David Suro’s presentation and staff training on tequila at Local Lime in Arkansas.  This is one of the best Tequila 101s we’ve seen yet! 

A brilliant businessman, Suro-Piñero has made it his life’s mission to preserve and promote the tequila industry, a surprisingly complex industry that is in danger of losing so much of its heritage. In this presentation, Suro-Piñero details the process of tequila-making, from planting agave plants to the final distillation and aging. He also talks about the challenges facing the tequila industry and what needs to change to keep tequila from wasting away. ~ Little Rock Foodcast

Tequila 101

In this comprehensive video presentation, David Suro-Piñero, owner of Siembra Azul tequila, presents on the history and current state of the tequila industry at Local Lime restaurant in Little Rock, Arkansas.  We at Tequila Aficionado highly recommend this video to anyone who enjoys good tequila or wants to learn more about tequila.

Salud!

 

siembra_azulSiembra Azul Tequila

Siembra Azul (Blue Harvest) is a small-batch, artisanal, premium tequila made from 100% of the finest blue agave, grown and produced in the town of Arandas, in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. It is a kosher and double distilled spirit of unparalleled quality.

Siembra Azul is the result of a meticulously monitored production process which is supervised by a carefully assembled team of expert tequila connoisseurs. Leading this team is David Suro-Piñera whose lifelong quest for the highest quality tequila propelled him to create Siembra Azul. Siembra Azul’s trademark, “The Future of Tradition,” is Suro-Piñera’s mission. He travels throughout the U.S. and Europe conducting seminars on the history, traditions, terroir distinctions and varying flavor profiles of tequila for consumers as well as the spirits and hospitality industries. His intent is to create transparency in tequila production and educate the drinking community about tequila so it can finally be accepted as one of the most complex spirits in the world.

Siembra Azul’s portfolio includes a fruity Blanco, a flavorful Reposado, a complex Añejo and profound Extra Añejos.

Find out more about the Siembra Azul Tequilas online here.

 

The Tequila Interchange Project

tequila interchange project, read tequila label, how toThe Tequila Interchange Project (TIP) is a non-profit organization and consumer advocacy group for agave distilled spirits comprised of bartenders, consultants, educators, researchers, consumers and tequila enthusiasts. Our organization advocates the preservation of sustainable, traditional and quality practices in the industries of agave distilled spirits. In light of concerning trends that are currently becoming mainstays in the production of agave distillates, TIP seeks to place a renewed emphasis on the importance of preserving the great heritage of agave distillation in Mexico.

Find out more about the Tequila Interchange Project online here.

 

Local Lime Restaurant

local lime, little rock, arkansas, david suro, siembra azulWelcome to Local Lime. Join us for flavor-packed dishes inspired by  Mexican street fare, Latin American flavors with a hint of  Tex-Mex flare and delicious handcrafted cocktails made with premium tequila, mezcal, and juices. Each menu item served at Local Lime is crafted by our chefs, from scratch, using original recipes and prepared with premium ingredients (sourced locally whenever possible).  Every cocktail at Local Lime is hand crafted with just-squeezed juices, house-made syrups, and premium tequilas and liquors. Whether you’re enjoying a bit of sunshine and a few street-style tacos on our year-round patio, enjoying a night with friends and frozen margaritas in our oversized booths or seated in the middle of the mezmorizing cocktail crafting experience at our bar while dining on a sizzling plate of Pescado Vera Cruz, every seat at Local Lime is great seat – and yours is waiting.

Find out more about Local Lime Restaurant online here.


 

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The Education of a Tequila Drinker: Destilando Amor

destilando amor, the education of a tequila drinkerYou’re probably wondering what a telenovella has to do with the Education of a Tequila Drinker.  Well, I’ll tell you.  But first, a bit of backstory:

I’m not a follower of network soap operas.  Yes, I cut my teeth on As the World Turns and Guiding Light because my mother watched them.  This is how most girls are indoctrinated into the world of soap operas but I outgrew those.  You get busy with life and eventually just don’t have time for soaps anymore.  When I went to college, I still didn’t have time for soaps, but I was taking college level Spanish classes and decided to tune in to Univision one day to tune my ear to the language.  (Immersion is the best way to learn a language, just ask any kid who learned English by watching TV.)  That’s when I discovered the telenovella!  I’ve enjoyed them ever since.

Being a novelist, social media consultant and C.O.O. of Tequila Aficionado, I still shouldn’t have time for telenovellas, but there is one I had to make time for: Destilando Amor.  Not only is it helping me refresh my Spanish but it is helping me to understand the part of the tequila industry I haven’t had the luxury of seeing yet.

*Note*

Before going any further, I should mention that I don’t have cable TV nor do I plan to get it.  I’m watching Destilando Amor on Univision through Hulu and my Roku streaming device.  If you want to check it out, you can find it there for free.

I’ve only seen a few episodes so far but a few things stand out:

  1. Montalvo Tequila.  The main characters in the show are the Montalvo family.  When the show first aired, Montalvo was a fictitious tequila but the savvy Alex Viecco grabbed that name for his tequila and has since had instant name recognition with it.  Killer move!
  2. angelica rivera, tequila, destilando amorAngelica Rivera.  Angelica Rivera plays Gaviota, the heroine in Destilando Amor.  She is also the current First Lady of Mexico.  Destilando Amor first aired in 2007.  In 2010, she married Enrique Peña Nieto, then Governor of the State of Mexico.  Immediately after her marriage, she retired from acting.  In 2012, Peña Nieto began his campaign for the presidency, and she accompanied him to political events and functions.  She also published a series of videos entitled “What my eyes see, what my heart feels”, where she documented the campaign from her point of view.  Not a bad PR move for Enrique Peña Nieto!
  3. Gaviota.  As I mentioned, Gaviota is the name of the heroine played by now First Lady Aneglica Rivera.  Did you also know it is the name of a tequila?  Apparently Rivera was known for her voluptuous style.  Though not “thick” by any standard, Gaviota Tequila has taken this to what I consider a bit of an extreme with their bottle design.  As a woman, the last decision I want to make when pouring tequila is whether I should grab the bottle by the breasts or the ass.  I’m sure it is popular with the guys though.
  4. The Novice.  James O’Brien is a tequila novice.  When we meet him, he lives with Sofia Montalvo in London.  James is a wine connoisseur who discovers tequila and falls madly in love with it.  What many new to tequila don’t understand is that it has very much in common with wine.  Tequila is made from a plant and is affected by terroir just as wine is.  Tequila is also aged in barrels which have an effect on the flavor as well.  When I last left James O’Brien, Sofia had called it quits with him because he wanted to stay in Mexico and learn about tequila while she wanted to return to London.  The last scene of him was at a tahona (the large stone rolled over the baked agave hearts to crush them in preparation for distilling) learning the process.  (Not all tequilas use a tahona, but Suerte does.  See their tahona in action below.)  What I enjoy most about James’ part of the story is it will be educational for me as I’ll be able to learn the tequila distilling process as he does.  I hope James will continue to have a large part in the story.

So there are four points that explain what a telenovella might have to do with the Education of a Tequila Drinker.  I’m streaming a couple episodes a night so feel free to join me if you like – purely for the sake of our tequila education, of course!

Here’s the first chapter to get you started:

 

 

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National Geographic Talks Tequila

The Education of a Tequila Drinker

As we explore some educational topics in tequila for those new to the spirit, we find this National Geographic video an interesting overview of tequila production even though it is fairly general and obviously slanted toward Jose Cuervo.

What National Geographic Doesn’t Say

And now for the educational portion:

Those new to tequila should understand that although there is a basic “recipe”, so to speak, for tequila, there can be many differences in the production process that lead to a wide variety of flavors in the final bottled product.  Some of the differences include whether a distiller uses a modern autoclave or a stone oven to cook the pinas, whether they use a shredder or a tahona, whether they ferment the tequila in stainless steel or wood barrels, and whether they age the tequila and, if so, what they age it in.  As Mike Morales likes to say, “there is one way to make it and a thousand ways to tweak it”.

So, consider this overview video but please understand that not all tequilas are made the same and none of the good ones are made like Jose Cuervo Especial.

Click here to watch the video on National Geographic.

 

 

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The Education of a Tequila Drinker: Varietals

varietals

Embajador tequila.

Originally posted on December 29, 2012 at www.LisaPietsch.com

For those of you who may not have noticed, I’m a pretty big fan of tequila.  To me, it is a food group!  It is also a topic that my brother and I will discuss at great length and provides a special connection for siblings who live so far apart.

Today, a fan asked a question that was much too long to be answered on Facebook so I thought I’d do so here where I could expound upon the subject and include photos.  If you’d like more information about tequila, I’d recommend reading articles and blogs by Mike Morales who is a professional tequila journalist.

Anita asked about Tequila: Tell me about the different colors of tequila.

Ahh…Anita.  What fun you have allowed me!  Today in The Education of a Tequila Drinker we’ll discuss tequila varietals: Blanco, Reposado, Anejo and Extra Anejo.

Silver or Blanco Tequila

This is the original tequila product.  Tequila that hasn’t been aged or had the opportunity to pick up any flavors from an aging barrel.

Reposado Tequila

The Reposado is usually a light golden color.  It is called “Reposado” because it has rested.  It has been aged for 10 months in barrels that may or may not have been used to age bourbon or other spirits.  (As of the initial writing of this post, the industry standard for a tequila to be called a Reposado is aging it for only 2 months.)  Reposado usually has a little more body than a blanco.

varietals, tequila pairingAnejo Tequila

The Anejo is usually an amber color.  This will have been aged for 12 months or more in barrels and has had more time to draw out the flavors in the wood.  Anejos will usually have more prominent flavors like nuts, vanilla, caramel, smoke, and more.  It has a much more intense flavor than the blanco and may leave more of an aftertaste.  (Tasting a series, or flight, of anejos can be self-defeating as these are more likely to coat your palate.)  This is not tequila you gulp in a shot.  Sip it straight or drink it on the rocks.  If you mix it into a margarita, you may not sense the alcohol at all.

Extra Anejo Tequila

Extra Anejo is usually much darker in color.  The industry standard for aging an extra anejo is three years.  Sip it straight from a tequila snifter and enjoy it as a dessert.  Extra anejos will have more prominent flavors like almonds, vanilla, plums, dark chocolate, cinnamon and clove.  I love to pair this with dark chocolate.  The flavors of both complement each other immensely.

So it is with the colors of my passion and the flavors of tequila.  The richer the color, the more complex the flavor.  I recommend tasting all of them and enjoying the simple pleasures each brings.

Most tequila brands offer blanco, reposado and anejo.  Many add an extra anejo to their line of varietals.  As you browse liquor store shelves, you may also see aged, extra aged, and joven mentioned but these involve a discussion of normas and that’s an advanced lesson for another day.

 

 

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