Originally posted April 22, 2010 by Chris Zarus of TequilaRack.
Tequila tasting flights are growing in popularity in bars and restaurants across the globe. With over 1200 Tequila brands (and counting), a growing number of folks are thirsting for information and guidance on how to select “better brands” to taste and compare. Progressive restaurateurs are leveraging the popularity of Tequila Flights as a catalyst for up-selling more Tequila, appetizers and desserts, thereby growing profitable sales through both menu listings and food pairings. ITG’s TEQUILARACK™ provides you with a complete system to experience this complex and most misunderstood “Nectar of the Agave Gods” in a fun, responsible and cost-effective way.
So exactly what are Tequila tasting flights ?
Generally, tasting flights of distilled spirits are comprised of at least three 0.25-0.5 ounce servings of similar items for customers to taste and compare. The two types of Tequila tasting flights are vertical and horizontal. Vertical tasting flights are three tastes of the same brand but of different ages. For Tequila, it’s typically a Blanco, a Reposado and an Añejo.
A Horizontal tasting flight consists of three different Tequila brands, all of the same aging style. It is best to use three diverse brands from different distilleries so that you are able to experience the widest variety of flavors and aromas. Since ITG’s TEQUILARACK™ Tequila brands are from different distilleries, that use agave grown in different micro climates, fermented with differing yeast strains, distilled and filtered by different equipment, using different recipes, and aged in different new and used barrels, it is easier and more interesting for one to taste them side-by-side.
How are Tequila tasting flights best served ?
Tequila tasting flights usually consist of three different ¼ – ½ ounce pours into three Tequila tasting glasses, Champagne flutes, or similar (not shot glasses). It is best to perform the pour and sit the bottle right in front of the glass in order to emphasize the extravagance of this presentation, show the bottles, and to indicate that these Tequilas are to be savored like a fine Cognac, rather than shot with salt and lime.
How are table tastings best performed ?
Tasting flights are best introduced to your party in the beginning of the meal service and suggested to go along with appetizers, a paired prefix menu, or at the end of the dining experience with the dessert course. As you know, it’s all in the presentation.
- Carry out the TEQUILARACK™ Tasting Rack to show your guests (suggestive selling)
- Use proper Tequila tasting glassware, or champagne flutes, not shot glasses.
- Pour out three separate 1/4 -1/2 oz servings using an appropriate speed pour or jigger,
- Provide history, production and other defining characteristics of each of the brands as you pour them
- Pair each brand with a course on the menu
Why is education the key to enjoying Tequila tasting flights?
There are many types of Tequila in the market today, but few are really known or experienced intimately. In fact, most of the Tequilas consumed are rarely tasted as they are mixed into Margaritas or downed quickly as shots. As with Micro beers, there is a whole new world of flavors to savor with TEQUILARACK™ brands.
Educating about these and other fine sipping Tequilas is the first step toward having them successfully presented as a Tequila tasting flight or food pairing to your guests. Your guests will be elated to discover and communicate the differences from other Tequilas that they have had before. Our free Tequila training is available on our website, www.TequilaRack.com .
How should Tequilas be featured for best results ?
There are many ways to harness the fun of offering tasting flights, here are a few:
- Create a dedicated Tequila Menu with detailed flavor descriptions, history, distillery and/or geography/micro climate for each brand
- Make sure you post your Tequila menu on your website
- Offer a monthly rotating special on three select brands as a tasting flight or Tequilas of the month club
- List Tequila and food pairing directly on your menu, table stand and/ or feature boards.
- Promote three ¼ oz. flights to include their favorite pick as a standard pour (pick 3 get 1 free)
Phrases like, “TEQUILARACK™ 100% pure Agave sipping Tequila” or ” Micro Tequilas” or “Tasting Flights” immediately open minds to question, “What is that all about?”
Each Tequila has a story to tell and it needs to be communicated poetically in product listings, with consistent name formatting.
What are the most successful themes, events and Tequila tasting party ideas ?
A single priced Tequila tasting party or dinner is the best place to start. Some others:
- Tequila and Cigar Special
- All Day T & A (Tequila & Appetizers)
- T-N-T (Tequila & Tapas)
- Flights of Fancy: Tequila and Dessert Flights
- Tequila Tuesday
- Flight Nights
Shelf life and stability:
Treat your Tequila the way you would treat any fine liquor, wine or beer (no heat, light or movement). Once opened, your Tequila will remain fresh for about a year. Because of a higher alcohol content, Tequila is a little sturdier and does not suffer from oxidation the same way that other alcoholic beverages do. Unlike beer or wine, Tequila’s flavors don’t “turn” or become acidic, oxidized or skunky.
The Tequila just seems to get “smaller”–it starts to lose its aromatics/alcohol and its flavors get less defined. Tequila should retain its polished mouth-feel and clean taste for a year or more (as long as the cork does not dry out). For an open bottle of Tequila, it’s the air gap between the top of the bottle and the meniscus of the Tequila is not your friend, as this is where the aromatics and alcohol escape from solution. If you happen to have Tequila that you are not moving through fast enough, before it gets too old, drink it. You can always marinate, cook with it, or use it in a high-end cocktail as it gets past its 1yr opening anniversary. If you plan to store it, you need to do so like wine, in a cool dark place. If it has a real cork, you may want to put it on its side to prevent the cork from drying out, but you will need to keep a close eye on it as you may still experience some leakage, wicking and evaporation due to poor cork quality, fit, and the volatility of the liquid.
Are there any simple rules for finding the best sipping Tequilas?
On the label:
- 100% Weber Blue Agave
- “CRT” logo on label
- NOM # on label
- 38-40% alcohol by volume (80 proof)
- Style should read Blanco, Reposado, Añejo or Extra Añejo (steer away from silver & gold)
- Tightly secured and sealed lid
- Bottle is not sitting in direct sunlight
- The bottle has not been sitting in an unusually hot location
- No Worm!
More information on how to identify great 100% Weber Blue Agave Micro Sipping Tequila can be found on our educational website www.TequilaRack.com
PS. If anyone really wants to know, the proper pronunciations for our TequilaRack Reposado:
- Don CelsO – pronounced: Don-sell-sO
- El Caudillo – pronounced L-caw-D-yo
- El Destilador – pronounced: L-Des-til-a-door
- El Llano – pronounced: L-Yon-Oh
- Penacho Azteca – pronounced: Pen-ach-oh-as-tek-a
- Unique – pronounced: U-neek
Thank you very much for following us here and our many other accounts:
- Mothership site: http://www.TequilaRack.com
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/TequilaRack
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TequilaRack?fref=ts
- Please try our Free CRT based Tequila Training course & tell us what you think: http://www.tequilarack.com
Originally posted April 22, 2010 by TequilaRack.