Category Archives: Lisa Pietsch

Review of Grant MacPherson’s Word of Mouth by Lisa Pietsch

grant macpherson, chef, morgan freemanOne of the benefits of working at Tequila Aficionado is that we’re often privy to tequila scuttlebutt.  When I heard whispers that Mary Clemente, boss lady of Jurado Tequila, was working on something with well-travelled celebrity Chef Grant MacPherson, I had to know more.

It isn’t just about the tequila for me.  My interest lies in all that is Tequila Culture - the people, history, places, and pairings that make up what our CEO, M.A. “Mike” Morales calls the “Anejo Lifestyle.”

The pairing of exclusive, ultra premium Jurado Tequila with world class Chef Grant MacPherson was news that definitely piqued my interest.

word of mouth, cooking, food, grant macpherson, jurado tequilaAfter a bit of Googling, I discovered Chef MacPherson had recently released a book entitled “Word of Mouth,” so I brazenly asked for a review copy.  In the publishing industry, handing out PDF versions of advance reading copies (ARCs) for review is commonplace.  What I didn’t expect was to receive a signed hardcover copy from Chef MacPherson himself.

Reading Word of Mouth, I realized the passion and care that goes into a well-crafted tequila is the same that goes into a well-crafted meal–both are art forms.

terroir, grant macpherson, chef, foodMacPherson considers the terroir of the foods he sources in the same way a Master Distiller considers the source of his or her agave.  Whether you’re distilling a fine agave spirit or preparing an herb-crusted rack of lamb, as you’ll find on page 88, the true artist ensures every ingredient is the finest available so that he can create something unlike any other.

Jurado’s tagline is “Let taste be the judge.”   Mary Clemente is taking that a step further by enlisting the talents of a top chef who regularly cooks with wine, vodka, and Scotch, and plans to let him innovate epicurean masterpieces with Jurado Tequila.

macpherson, chef, jurado tequilaI would love to be at the chef’s table the evening he premiers that menu!

Word of Mouth is an eclectic compilation that is part resume of the positions MacPherson has held at exclusive resorts, part gratitude for all the mentors and management who have had a part in his career, part who’s-who of the superstar chefs he’s butted heads and knocked elbows with, and part endorsements from the many who have had the pleasure of working with him.

Jurado Tequila will be so exclusive that it will only be available through duty free retail stores in certain countries for those with the means and sophistication to travel internationally.  One of Chef MacPherson’s dishes in Word Of Mouth is likely to be just as rare a find.

chef grant macphersonFor those of us who may not have the opportunity to dine at Chef MacPherson’s table, Word of Mouth teases us with some luxurious and artistically presented dishes such as Singapore Chili Crab, Eight-Hour Golden Pineapple, and Maine Lobster Scotch Eggs that only the most brave and adventuresome will attempt to recreate.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention presentation in my discussion of Word of Mouth.  Photographer Bill Milne has supplied each page with a stunning image related to each dish and meal creation.

This is the Anejo Lifestyle at its finest.

Word Of Mouth isn’t just a cookbook, homage, or resume.  The entire piece is an opus, packed with stunning images meant to spur discussions of world travel, meals enjoyed, and the friends one meets along the way.

It’s the sort of book we might browse and discuss while enjoying a treasure bottle of tequila with cherished friends.  Gratefully, Mary Clemente has persuaded Chef MacPherson to add premium Jurado Tequila to his artist’s palette so he might lend his talents to Tequila Culture and lead the way for other chefs to explore agave spirits and bring them into the mainstream for all to appreciate and enjoy.

Mary Clemente gets her close-up.Word of Mouth isn’t just a book; it is an experience for the senses, something tequila aficionados worldwide can certainly appreciate.      

If you’re wondering what Mary Clemente has up her sleeve, stay tuned. I’ll get it out of her eventually!

You can find Jurado Tequila at www.juradotequila.com and Chef Grant MacPherson at www.scotchmyst.com

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Founder’s Feature: Tequila Aficionado’s 1st Podcast, 7 Years Later

The preceding podcast was recorded by Tequila Aficionado’s Founder, Alexander Perez, on March 21, 2006.

Sadly, many brands still persist in the Tequila Girl marketing that Alex mentioned over seven years ago.  Some brands believe they’ve evolved and took it a step further with Tequila Boy marketing.  I believe the true aficionado finds both of these offensive.

True aficionados don’t buy their tequila based upon how attractive an ad model is.  It saddens me that so many brand marketers are stuck in the 1990s and won’t let go of this old advertising paradigm.

When all you put out there is co-ed bimbos doing shots, drinking from red Solo cups, or worse, from the bottle, you’re telling the world you don’t want your brand to be taken seriously.  I love a shirtless hunk as much as the next straight woman but don’t try to dazzle me with him while you pour cherry soda and light beer into a blender to hide the taste of your mass produced tequila.

Show me a brand owner, male or female, who is smart, savvy, self assured and passionate about their tequila and I’ll stop what I’m doing to listen.

Alex said “Tequila companies need to rethink their marketing tactics” and they still do.  The big boys are still marketing their swill with expensive distractions, but the little guys…we love the little guys here at Tequila Aficionado.  The little guys are slowly changing the tequila marketing landscape.

People like Alex Viecco at Montalvo who is also involved in programs to create biofuels from tequila production waste products; people like Sergio Olmos of Nuestro Orgullo who take up the banner for a family business and knock themselves out trying to create the best product possible, not for the money, but for family pride and love of agave spirits; people like Laurence Spiewak and Lance Sokol of Suerte who put thought and meaning into a logo rather than attempting to dazzle us with tits and ass.

Yes, there are still small brands that believe they can grow by emulating the big brands with sponsored DJs, rock bands, edgy artists, and girls with great plastic surgeons but they rarely make it past that crucial five-year threshold.  Superficiality attracts superficiality.  When your marketing involves pretty girls in club attire giving shots to partygoers who will quickly forget what they drank, then you must realize that your tequila will last only about as long as their buzz does.

I think we’re on the cusp of something, though.  It makes me very happy to see tequila brands that are finally letting the tequila do the talking.

As brands take themselves and their products more seriously, so too does the consumer.  People like Mary Clemente of Jurado Tequila are partnering with great chefs like Grant MacPherson.  Pairing dinners are becoming popular ways to market good tequilas and I hope they’ll soon take the place of trays of shot glasses.

People are beginning to appreciate what great tequila and tequila culture can bring to their lifestyle through books by authors like Lucinda Hutson.  Lucinda was well ahead of her time when she first began this journey, but perhaps tequila drinkers have grown up enough to become aficionados and truly appreciate the treasures she pens.

We welcome these changes at Tequila Aficionado.  Alex’s vision was that Tequila Aficionado become a resource for all things agave including mezcal, sotol and other agave spirits.  He wanted to interview people in the industry, people with a passion for fine tequilas, people breaking the old paradigms.  He wanted to provide honest discussions about the merits of particular spirits over tastings, not just a simple “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” He envisioned an online resource that would bring depth to tequila culture.  He hoped to create in a magazine what a master distiller creates in a small batch, something that pleases the senses, enhances, informs, and provides the perfect finish that brings you back time and time again.

Something was missing in the mix all these years, but we believe we’ve finally found the right combination to bring that dream to fruition.

We have new Sipping off the Cuff episodes airing every week so you can taste along with us; bloopers and outtakes so you can laugh with us; Founder’s Features that are interviews and articles of significance to tequila history; Portraits in Tequila taking you beyond the label to see the story of the people behind the tequila; reviews of books on all aspects of tequila from dirt to drink and beyond; reviews on tequila related products like glassware and the foods, treats and cigars that can be paired with tequilas; articles on agave related industries; features on distilleries; and reviews of hotels and restaurants in Mexico’s tequila region.

We will always have a focus on the finished tequila product, but we’re deeper than that.  We’re no longer focusing simply on the finished tequila; we’re expanding to encompass all of tequila culture because, after all, it isn’t about just a quick shot –

It’s about the whole experience.

We look forward to sharing that experience with you.

Lisa Pietsch, COO

 

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LimaRita Tequila Lime Sorbet Review

By Lisa Pietsch

limarita, sorbet, tequila, lime, paul cantatoreBig things DO come in small packages!

At first glance, this little, hollowed out lime stuffed with an airy, white sorbet and topped with the stem end of the lime seems like a very insignificant morsel.  One might be tempted to let something so small go unnoticed but, I’m here to tell you, do not pass on the LimaRita Tequila Lime Sorbet.

Paul Cantatore, the creator of LimaRita, must have been divinely inspired when he put this idea together.

limarita, tequila lime sorbet, paul cantatore

Just out of the freezer.  Even the spoon is smiling!

Give it a moment when you take it out of the freezer.  Give it a second moment to admire it.  This is not your average lime.  The longer this sorbet stays frozen in the lime, the more lime essence you taste in it.  Yes, like good tequila, this treat ages well.

Speaking of tequila, the spirit of Mexico really is in this creamy citrus delicacy, but I can’t tell you which one.  It is a well-kept secret, and there’s only just enough to make the sorbet taste like a carefully and lovingly constructed margarita.  There is only enough to influence your taste buds but not nearly enough to influence your judgment.  In fact, the tequila content is so minute, it is classified as a non-alcoholic treat.

After you’ve paused to admire this fresh, frosty, margarita inspired delight, you’re ready to try a taste.  The combination of the smooth, silky texture and the fresh, bright flavor each chilly spoonful delivers is a sensory celebration.

This sorbet is tart, but not too; sweet, but not syrupy; and has just a hint of saltiness to make the flavor pop.  It’s a true tequila-lover’s palate cleanser.

limarita

Click on the image to see full size

I can easily see this new product becoming a huge hit as a light dessert after a late dinner, the perfect frozen cocktail-style indulgence for a designated driver, or as a delicious 80-calorie dessert option for the dieter who doesn’t want to go another night watching their friends have fruity, calorie-laden cocktails and empanadas while they’re left to sip water.

limaritaI can also see this as something you can serve along with a blanco tequila for sipping.  If I were to introduce a girlfriend to sipping tequila, this would be a great accompaniment to ease them into it.  Think of each icy spoonful as a delicious chaser after each sip.  I guarantee any man trying to move his margarita-loving girlfriend toward sipping tequilas would be well served by presenting her with a LimaRita alongside that snifter.

limarita, tequila lime sorbet, paul cantatore

That sad moment when you realize there’s nothing left but the lime.

The first time I tried the LimaRita Tequila Lime Sorbet, I tasted, I died, and I went to heaven.  It has taken me weeks to find the words to describe what a find this is – and I’m a novelist!

Just as a master distiller puts his heart and soul into finely crafted tequila, so too did Paul Cantatore put his heart and soul into this creation.   When you taste something this special, you cannot help but admire the artisan.

As of this article’s publication, LimaRita is set to soon be found on the dessert menus of the many Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bars in Florida.  Rocco’s features authentic Mexican food and over 250 Tequilas, but the LimaRita would be reason enough for a visit!

Find more information on LimaRita Tequila Lime Sorbet online here.

Follow LimaRita and Paul Cantatore on Twitter here.

Click on the video below and watch how LimaRitas are filled.

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LimaRita Rocks (and we aren’t talking about that nasty beer drink)

On June 19th, we received a product to review and it completely blew us away.  Just to prove it, this is what Lisa tweeted:

lima rita, lisa pietsch, twitter, tequila aficionado

While Lisa collects her words for the official review of the LimaRita Sorbet (we should have never left the whole case with her), take a look at this!

limaRita, sorbet, tequila, margarita sorbet, lisa pietsch

And yes, there is tequila in there!

Check out LimaRita online at www.Limarita.com

and look for Lisa’s review coming soon!

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Review of Ilana Edelstein’s The Patron Way by Lisa Pietsch

the patron way, tequila, ilana edelsteinBusiness Narrative, Marketing Manual, or Romance?

Described as a “deeply personal business narrative,” the story centers around the development from the ground up of Patrón tequila, a “brand that single-handedly changed the face of the liquor industry,” by its co-founder, Martin Crowley, and as told by his then young and lively life partner, Ilana Edelstein.  

Tequila is by far my spirit of choice.  I’ve loved it for decades, and I still love learning by tasting more tequilas and by researching its fascinating history.  That’s why when the offer to preview Ilana Edelstein’s new book, The Patron Way, came across my desk, I jumped at the opportunity.

I wasn’t fooled by the above description, however. In fact, I’m not even a fan of Patron Tequila.

Drinking it is an unsettling experience for me, though I do understand the big batch Patron Tequila available today is a different product than the one the partners Martin Crowley and Jon Paul DeJoria fell in love with years ago.  I simply wanted to learn about the early days of one of the biggest brands ever.

A Lifestyle Business

Yes, business is a key player in this story.  At a time when the term “Lifestyle Business” had yet to be coined, Patron was just that.  Ilana Edelstein and Martin Crowley, along with J.P. and Eloise DeJoria, lived that lifestyle and created the Patron brand around it.

The DeJorias had money and plenty of Hollywood connections.  Martin Crowley had hustle and Ilana had an instinctive, albeit racy, style.  The combination was magic.

Great juice, sexy presentation of the distinctive bottle with the green ribbon, and even sexier presenters in a time when using gorgeous women to promote liquor was a novel idea.

Today, products and celebrities are branded intentionally and strategically.  By contrast, the Patron brand grew organically through the millionaire lifestyle lived by J.P. and his gorgeous wife, Eloise, and guided by the hustle and determination of the rough-around-the edges Martin Crowley and his bombshell lover, Ilana Edelstein, who softened his brash approach to business.

Having a background in branding and marketing, I understood all that. I’m a novelist with a degree in business who pays her rent with marketing work.

It made perfect sense – top end lifestyle and top shelf tequila.  But, what captivated me was the love story.

*Spoiler Alert*

ilana edelstein, the patron way, tequila

The Patron Way is the tragic story of a thirteen-year love affair between Martin Crowley and Ilana Edelstein that ended when ego, greed, and lawyers got in the way.

Ilana was making a great living as a financial advisor to school teachers.  When Martin asked her to give it all up and work with him full-time on Patron, she didn’t hesitate to accept.  He didn’t offer her shares, a paycheck or a wedding ring, only the opportunity to continue their love affair living the glamorous lifestyle they both enjoyed.

She was madly in love with him and, by all accounts, he with her.  What more could two lovers want than a business they could build together?  Why wouldn’t she accept?

It all went well for a loving couple that seemed to complement each other perfectly.  A beautiful home, parties, A-list social circles, yachts and island vacations.  Until Patron became so in-demand that it caught the attention of Big Liquor.

The book blurb describes it as an “astonishingly competitive and sometimes cutthroat industry.”  Cutthroat it was.

Lawyers swooped in and worked on Martin’s insecurities.  His health was failing due to advanced heart disease and he and Ilana weren’t married.  It doesn’t take a genius to see how lawyers could play that to their advantage.

What if she broke up with him and filed a palimony lawsuit?  If he’d known the history of Marvin vs. Marvin, Martin Crowley wouldn’t have given it a second thought, but lawyers can make persuasive arguments.

What if she tried to take half of his half of the company?  What if she sued for unpaid wages?  Did she have a contract?  Did they have an agreement?

Martin follows the questionable advice of lawyers, enacted by an even more questionable court system.  This is where the glitter fades and the story turns ugly.

He breaks up with the woman he loves, the woman he can’t bear to sleep without at night.  Hearts break.  There is a long drawn out trial, her reputation is smeared and yet, he continues to watch her, to stalk her, to love her, and she still loves him.

He moves to a house on Antigua and shelters his money.  A new will is drawn up.  Though he assures her she’ll be fine, he promises her nothing.

At the end of the story, Ilana is rebuilding her life.  All those years of love for Martin and Patron earned her nothing in the way of financial security.  Though she is still loyal to the Patron brand and loves Martin dearly, she realizes she must press on.  Martin’s story doesn’t end as well.

His financial future is secure with Patron, but when he has a heart attack at the top of the stairs in his beautiful home in Antigua, the lawyers that he depended upon to protect his interests were nowhere to be found.  He died alone, at the bottom of the stairs, surrounded by his wealth.  His body was found the next day by his staff.

My heart ached for Ilana, for her hard work, love and devotion, for what she’d gone through with the breakup and then what she must have felt when she learned how the love of her life had died.

Though I may never be a fan of Patron Tequila, I can honestly say The Patron Way by Ilana Edelstein was a delicious cocktail of innovation and inspiration with a twist of tragedy for a bittersweet finish.

The Patron Way is available at Amazon.com and other booksellers in both ebook and hardcopy.


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