Sipping Off The Cuff | Tequila 512 Anejo

Mike Morales & Rick Levy taste and discuss Tequila 512 Anejo on this episode of Sipping off the Cuff.

SCOTT WILLIS WENT TO JALISCO IN SEARCH OF THE PERFECT ANYTIME TEQUILA.

HE RETURNED WITH 512.

Sipping Off The Cuff | Tequila 512 Anejo http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4CdIn Austin, tequila isn’t saved for special occasions. It’s a standard go-to. It’s one of the many things Scott loves about the town he calls home, and why he set out to create a tequila that could be enjoyed anytime.
In Jalisco he found Luis Trejo, master distiller at La Cofradia. Batch by batch, they made their way to the earthy, spicy yet surprisingly smooth tequila we bottle today. The magic moment came when Scott decided to add a third distillation, making the good juice they’d created together just a bit smoother.
Scott’s friends back in Austin loved the results. So did the judges at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, who awarded Tequila 512 Double Gold and Best In Show.
To this day, Scott returns to Jalisco to taste every new batch, ensuring each is as good as the last. Because when it comes to great tequila, taste is the only test that matters.

                                         Connect with 512

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Kansas Is A Hotbed For Agave Spirits

[From September 11 to October 2, 2016, Tequila Aficionado Media, sponsored by 34 expressions representing 21 brands, embarked on a monumental RV road show dubbed, The Heartland Tour.  In these next passages, we recount the historic–and epic–highlights.  Felipe’s Mexican Restaurant provided us with no payment, but the food was well worth it!] 

Kansas Is A Hotbed For Agave Spirits http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xc

Back To Felipe’s

Tequila Aficionado’s Heartland Tour started off with a bang from the get-go.

We had visited Felipe’s Mexican Restaurant in 2014, and fell in love with the food, the owners–the Lujano family–and their history as stalwart members of the Wichita business community for almost fifty years.

Once again, for the third year in a row, they have been voted Wichita’s Favorite Mexican restaurant by the Wichita Eagle newspaper.

Kansas Is A Hotbed For Agave Spirits http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xc

Working Together

This time around, we made a special whistle-stop at Felipe’s to meet with Adam Clary, Craft Spirits Specialist for Standard Beverage Corporation, and several selected staff members.

Kansas Is A Hotbed For Agave Spirits http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xcStandard Beverage Corporation, one of the more well respected distributors in Kansas, has a firm reputation of forging solid relationships with the customers they serve, including Felipe’s.

Felipe’s is known for their innovation in Mexican cuisine, and for a keen feeling for what will keep their customers coming back for more.

The Lujano family also has a deep love and affinity for all things agave, especially craft tequilas and mezcals that aren’t available in their home state.

Kansas:  A Hotbed For Agave Spirits

Our timing through Kansas during the Heartland Tour had the makings of an Agave Perfect Storm.Kansas Is A Hotbed For Agave Spirits http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xc

We simply wheeled in our stash of agave goodness to share between Felipe’s lunch and dinner hours, and let everyone go to town.

Almost immediately, there were oohs and ahhs from both camps.

The Lujano family and the Standard Beverage staff acted like catadores who had just spent the entire day blind judging tequilas for a serious competition, and then cut loose on their favorites during the after party.

Kansas Is A Hotbed For Agave Spirits http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xc

Knowing that Adam had a great appreciation for craft spirits in general, I still anticipated that I would need to translate some of the nuances of agave to some of the attendees.

I expected that most would gravitate to the aged expressions that we had laid out for them, especially considering we were touring through a part of the country that is heavily influenced by darker spirits, namely bourbon and whisky.

Surprise, surprise!

Such was not the case.

Kansas Is A Hotbed For Agave Spirits http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xcIn an astonishing move, the group made a beeline for every unaged expression belonging to our sponsoring brands.

Tasting the Goods

On a personal note, whenever I participate in tastings or demonstrations, I search for specific clues from the audience to alert me to whether I’m dealing with a well-informed crowd or a roomful of newbies.

Usually, it’s a cross section of both.

Unlike public tastings and dinner events we’ve conducted in the past, or staff training at restaurants or distributors, no instruction was necessary for the chosen and invited staff of Standard Beverage.Kansas Is A Hotbed For Agave Spirits http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xc

Any tequilero or mezcalero worth his or her worm salt will tell you that the character and integrity of their brand can be measured by the quality of their unaged expression.  Most will never shy away from a chance to pit just their blanco tequila or joven mezcal against any other competing brand.

The folks of Standard Beverage understood this.

Without exception, each staff member followed Adam Clary’s lead in sampling the unaged versions of our sponsoring brands, first.  Only when they were satisfied with what they were experiencing from each tequila or mezcal did they proceed in sampling the rest of the lines.

Kansas Is A Hotbed For Agave Spirits http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xc

The effort it takes to understand agave spirits, especially in a region where it is not the average go-to sip, is a quality sorely missing from small-to-medium distribution houses these days.

It’s a testament to the training received by the staff and management of Standard Beverage, and to the courage and enthusiasm displayed by the Lujano family by asking for and acquiring more and better agave spirits.

It was such a joy, and a relief, to simply share stellar agave spirits as one would do with family and friends.

Isn’t that what it’s all about, any way?

Kansas Is A Hotbed For Agave Spirits http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xc

Sipping off the Cuff | Muchote Tequila Reposado

Rick Levy and Mike Morales melt into gushing fanboys over Muchote Tequila Reposado.

Sipping off the Cuff | Muchote Tequila Reposado http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4AyFrom the Website: 

Muchote Reposado Premium Tequila, is made by Feliciano Vivanco y Asociados, in Los Altos, Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico. The Vivanco family have been agaveros, growing agave for five generations. The Vivanco 800 acre Los Altos farms are known for rich red clay soil that produce a softer/sweeter tequila. This Reposado Tequila is a single estate tequila, made from 100% Weber Blue tequilana agave. The agave piñas are harvested and placed in brick adobe ovens (hornitos) where they are steamed for 24 hours then left to cool for 24 hours. Double distilled for smoothness, fresh agave flavor yet keeping the natural spice. Our traditional, handcrafted and careful process ensures a natural, smooth, and savory tequila. Muchote Tequila is a hand crafted small batch artisan tequila aged in American white oak seasoned whiskey barrels for seven months.

Buy it online ($29.99 as of filming) here. 

Heartland Tour Tasting in Kansas Leads to Distribution Deals

[The spirits that traveled with us were paid sponsors of the Tequila Aficionado Heartland Tour and paid a nominal fee to be mentioned here and on our networks as we saw fit.  Felipe’s Restaurant provided us with no payment but the food was well worth it.  We were hungry.] 

Our Friends at Felipe’s

The Lujano Family of Felipe’s Restaurant in Wichita and the folks from Standard Beverage joined us at Felipe’s for a grand tasting of all the brands that came with us on the Tequila Aficionado Heartland Tour.

It was a great way to spend a Wednesday afternoon!

We knew the Lujano’s were aficionados from way back, but we were completely impressed with the way the ladies and gents from Standard Beverage took their time and really appreciated the diverse and outstanding selection of tequilas, mezcals and agave spirits we brought them.

This little story with pictures & music sums it up:

Why Choose?

When it was all said and done, Adam Clary, Standard Beverage’s Craft Spirits Specialist, wanted an introduction to each brand’s owner so he could add all of them to his portfolio (and growing territories) – including all three of the ready-to-drink JLP Craft Margaritas.

This was truly one of the high points of this year’s Tequila Aficionado Heartland Tour.

We love tasting, reviewing, and writing about tequilas but it gives us such joy to make connections for brands of promise that help them to expand their market share and ultimately succeed and thrive in an industry that so often eats its young.

Congratulations to all the brands that came along!

Route 66 Tequila
Diva Tequila
Malinalli Tequila
21 Tequila
Demetrio Tequila
888 Tres Ochos Tequila
Soltado Tequila 
Santo Diablo Mezcal 
Tequila ArteNOM 1579
Don Amado Mezcal 
Desmadre Tequila 
Papa Bueno Tequila 
One With Life Organic Tequila
JLP Craft Margaritas 
Revel Agave Spirits 
Los Osuna Agave Spirit 
Embajador Tequila 
Z Tequila 
Siempre Tequila 
1921 Tequila La Crema 
Don Pilar Tequila 

PS: If any of our readers are distributors or bar/restaurant owners west of the Rocky Mountains and would like to arrange a similar tasting or tasting event on our 2017 tour, please fill out the form below:

One With Life at Bracken Cave

 [From September 11 to October 2, 2016, Tequila Aficionado Media, sponsored by 34 expressions representing 21 brands, embarked on an epic RV road show dubbed, The Heartland Tour.  In these next passages, we recount the historic–and epic–highlights.] 

Bat Fascination

One With Life at Bracken Cave http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4x6From watching the campy Batman TV series, or seeing Michael Keaton’s classic Batman movie at least 8 times when it premiered back in 1989, or devouring vintage Dracula movies with Bela Lugosi, I’ve always been captivated by bats.

Despite my fascination with them, I’d only seen bats in captivity at zoos, or in film documentaries.  I’ve never actually seen them in the wild until our visit to Bracken Cave on the first leg of Tequila Aficionado’s 2016 Heartland Tour.

Bracken Cave, Texas

Also known as the Devil’s Sinkhole, it’s a mere 20 miles from San Antonio and houses the largest bat maternity colony in the world.  More than 15 million Mexican free-tail bats call Bracken Cave their summer home.

This enormous vertical cavern is considered to be the largest single-chamber cavern in Texas.  The opening is a shaft approximately 50 feet wide that drops 140 feet into the cavern.  The shaft then balloons to a diameter of over 320 feet and reaches a total depth of over 350 feet.

One With Life at Bracken Cave http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4x6

Braken Cave:  The Largest Mammal Nursery on Earth

Every square foot of Bracken Cave is jam packed with gestating or nursing female bats (almost 500 per!) that return every March and April after wintering in Mexico, to give birth to their pups.

While it is the nectar feeding bats that service our beloved agaves, specifically One With Life at Bracken Cave http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4x6the lesser long-nosed bat that the “Batman of Mexico,” Rodrigo Medellin, has so tirelessly championed, along with the Tequila Interchange Project’s “bat friendly” tequila and mezcal certification program, the Mexican free-tail variety also plays an important role in agriculture.

In fact, the estimated 100 million free-tail bats living in Central Texas caves eat approximately 1000 tons of insects and agricultural pests nightly at altitudes of anywhere from 1000 to 10,000 feet feeding primarily on the cotton boll-worm moth (a.k.a. corn ear worm moth) that alone costs American farmers up to a billion dollars annually.

Bats Are Dying, Part 2

As we mentioned in the above article written during last year’s Dia de los Muertos Tequila & Mezcal Tour, not only is the industrialization of tequila and mezcal tampering with the bats’ migratory behavior, but a new killer, White-nose Syndrome (Pseudogymnoascus destructans), is also a threat.

Known as WNS, it is a cold-loving white fungus found on the wings and faces of infected bats.  It causes bats to awaken too often during hibernation and to use up stored fat reserves while flying in winter.  These creatures usually freeze or starve to death.

One With Life at Bracken Cave http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4x6

First detected in 2006 in a cave in New York, it is still a mystery as to how this disease has spread so quickly (7 bat species, 26 states and 5 Canadian provinces, and counting).  The national park system, however, is doing its part to cut down on the spread of this epidemic.

Later on in our Heartland Tour at Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, also a home to bats, hikers were asked to walk onto a soap soaked carpet for several feet after a shortened cave tour.  It is believed that tourists who visit national parks could be inadvertently spreading WNS via footwear.

Bat-nado!

Witnessing the appearance of 4 million bats from a true bat cave is a sight like no other.

The first sign that alerts onlookers are the groups of Peregrine falcons that prey on the Mexican free-tails.  These birds instinctively know when the first nightly pilgrims dare to ascend.

Let’s just say that not every bat makes it out of Bracken Cave alive.

One With Life at Bracken Cave http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4x6No flash photography is allowed so as not to upset the bats during their nightly emergence, and once photography is no longer possible, it’s time to just enjoy the phenomenon of the “bat-nado,” the counterclockwise vortex that the bats create when leaving the cave on their quest for food.

We stood wide eyed in quiet reverence as literally millions of bats flew overhead gathering speed and altitude to feed on the moths and insects that attack corn and cotton farms outside the city of San Antonio, and well beyond.

The fluttering of millions of pairs of wings sounded like rain lightly tapping on a tin roof.  The breeze created by their flight cooled the muggy air around us.

Just close your eyes and smile.

One With Life at Bracken Cave http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4x6

Open your eyes and smile.

By the light of the half moon, the waves of bats disappeared like clouds of smoke over the tree tops of Bracken Cave reserve.

One With Life

Later that evening in the RV park, safely tucked away for the night, we selected One With Life certified organic tequila to toast our first magical experience on OWL_labelsthe Heartland Tour.

On the inside label of every batch of One With Life tequila there is a “tequila fortune cookie” or inspirational message.  Ours read–

“Wherever you go, be fully there.”

And, if you listen closely, you might even hear a bat flutter by.

***

Enjoy these few minutes of the bat emergence from Bracken Cave.

Sipping off the Cuff | Kimo Sabe Mezcal Reposado

Find Kimo Sabe Online

Kimo Sabe Mezcal Reposado: Rubedo

Flavor notes:

  • Rounded elegance
  • Roasted Almond
  • Madagascar Vanilla
  • Shaved toasted coconut
  • Honey chamomile tea
  • Christmas Spice finish

Story of alchemy and it’s use with our mezcal

Kimo-Sabe-Mezcal--241x300Kimo Sabe is muse to one’s imaginings, the start of a dream journey; Potentially an alchemical transformation as liquid turns your experience into gold. Don’t we all have a dream of being the next big hero? The common elements of a hero’s lifestyle are elegance, intrigue and a special kind of freedom bordering on mystic. Kimo Sabe speaks to that lifestyle.

The journey of the brand portrayed by the three levels of mezcal – Albedo, Rubedoand Azoth.

Sipping off the Cuff | Kimo Sabe Mezcal Joven

Find Kimo Sabe Online

Kimo Sabe Mezcal Joven: Albedo

Flavor notes:

  • Creamy smooth
  • Hints of fresh grass
  • Multi-dimensional smoke notes – extremely well-balanced
    • Slow roasting ham
    • Chipotle
    • Roasted pepper
    • Hint of white pepper
  • Semi-sweet chocolate
  • Lemon Citrus
  • Lemon Balm
  • Floral notes of chamomile
  • Sweet peppery agave finish

Story of alchemy and it’s use with our mezcal

Kimo-Sabe-Mezcal--241x300Kimo Sabe is muse to one’s imaginings, the start of a dream journey; Potentially an alchemical transformation as liquid turns your experience into gold. Don’t we all have a dream of being the next big hero? The common elements of a hero’s lifestyle are elegance, intrigue and a special kind of freedom bordering on mystic. Kimo Sabe speaks to that lifestyle.

The journey of the brand portrayed by the three levels of mezcal – Albedo, Rubedoand Azoth.

 

 

Sipping off the Cuff | Giggling Marlin Tequila Reposado

Find Giggling Marlin Online

gigglingmarlin_fullcolorJUST A LITTLE HISTORY ABOUT GIGGLING MARLIN…

  • The oldest and original bar in Cabo San Lucas.
  • The title “World Famous” is justified from the global activity and clientele that Cabo San Lucas see’s as it is known as a destination hot spot for vacationers.
  • Patrons from all over the world have been in the bar and have already reached out to us inquiring about the products availability.
  • We just celebrated our 30th Anniversary in Cabo San Lucas (2014) so longevity is not a question in regards to our business practices.
  • We have spent numerous years searching for the best tasting, smoothest finishing product.
  • We know the area, we call it home, and we have built relationships in Mexico that are irreplaceable!
  • We want to supply a product that will have people asking for more and we feel we have that with Giggling Marlin Tequila.

Sipping off the Cuff | Desmadre Tequila Anejo

Find Desmadre Online

FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED

desmadreCasa Ramirez Distillery, a father and son team, began DesMaDre Tequila as a way to continue to offer a fine, hand-crafted, 100% de agave Tequila to its consumers. Recently introduced, it is gaining quickly in popularity everywhere. 

Each of our family Tequila recipes uses only the finest mature blue weber agave from “Los Altos” the highlands of Jalisco. Perfect levels of natural agave sugars and our own pure spring water, cooked slowly, double distilled combine for a fine tasting. The smoothness, body and texture of each sip is unsurpassed. Experience our quality for yourself. Ask for DesMaDre at your local favorite restaurant, bar, lounge or liquor market.

Sipping off the Cuff | Desmadre Tequila Reposado

Find Desmadre Online

desmadreFAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED

Casa Ramirez Distillery, a father and son team, began DesMaDre Tequila as a way to continue to offer a fine, hand-crafted, 100% de agave Tequila to its consumers. Recently introduced, it is gaining quickly in popularity everywhere. 

Each of our family Tequila recipes uses only the finest mature blue weber agave from “Los Altos” the highlands of Jalisco. Perfect levels of natural agave sugars and our own pure spring water, cooked slowly, double distilled combine for a fine tasting. The smoothness, body and texture of each sip is unsurpassed. Experience our quality for yourself. Ask for DesMaDre at your local favorite restaurant, bar, lounge or liquor market.