Open Bar Show #2 with JLP Craft Margaritas

JLP Craft MargaritasWelcome to our National Margarita Day episode of Tequila Aficionado’s weekly Open Bar show!

This week, our hosts M.A. “Mike” Morales and Lisa Pietsch had the pleasure of hosting Javier Martinez of JLP Craft Margaritas.

JLP Craft Margarita: 12 oz.can featuring JLP Blanco Tequila. 9% alcohol, non-carbonated.  Flavors: Golden Lime, Strawberry-Lime & Pomegranate.

See more about JLP Craft Margaritas on the Tequila Aficionado Wiki

We also discussed SlimRitas Margarita Mixes, Hornitos Lime Shot and Bat World Bat Sanctuary.

SlimRitas is made with fresh juices and a combination of natural zero calorie sweeteners. We eliminated the entire diet aftertaste by combining just the right sweeteners in just the right amounts. All this generates an authentic Tex-Mex margarita under 100 total calories. SlimRitas never uses citrus flavorings, high fructose corn syrup or Splenda.

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HORNITO’S LIME SHOT: A MUST-HAVE FOR THE KITCHEN BUT DON’T DRINK IT!

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Bat World Sanctuary is on the front line to end the mistreatment of bats.  Each year they rescue hundreds of bats who might otherwise die. Lifetime sanctuary is given to non-releasable bats, including those that are orphaned, injured, and retired from the exotic pet trade, zoos and research facilities. Bat World was founded in 1994 and is a 501c3 non-profit, accredited organization with both the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and the American Sanctuary Association. Donations allow them to continue their rescue efforts for bats.

 

Tequila Aficionado Takes to The Open Road

On The Road Again

Unlike some tequilas, most of my moves have never been smooth–or without incident.

For the better part of 18 years, I lived in New Mexico.  After a year long stay in my home state of California, I moved my personal residence and headquarters to San Antonio, TX to helm the newly revamped Tequila Aficionado Media almost two years ago.  In all that time, I’ve spent hundreds of dollars in storage fees.

Lisa drives the RV.
Lisa drives the RV.

So, when my partner, Lisa Pietsch, suggested an RV road trip in late May/early June to get the rest of my possessions in Albuquerque, I was hesitant.

The plan was to rent a Cruise America RV and to take her two home schooled boys with us, along with the two cats, the dog, and turtle, on a 7-day trek through parts of west Texas and southern New Mexico.

Since Lisa would be doing all the driving, she would break up the trip to no more than 5 or 6 hours before stopping at a reputable and clean RV park for a day or two.  We would simply retrace our route on the return trip, as well.

donner_film_landingI’m not going to lie.  Visions of the ill fated Donner Party crossed my mind.

Apart from the usual concerns about cost and current gas prices (which Lisa will tackle in blog posts of her own), my more pressing questions were–

Could the cats get along with the dog?  Would the boys freak out without wifi?  Would we even survive the first night together in the close quarters of the RV?  Could we all just get along?

Añejo the Cat doesn't travel well.
Añejo the Cat doesn’t travel well.

Luckily, the good folks at Del Bravo tequila supplied us with bottles of their Peñsaco, Diva and Route 66 tequila to calm my nerves.  Brand Of Promise(TM) winner, JLP Craft Margaritas also came along for the ride.

#TheDreamIsReal

Undaunted (and armed with a hashtag), Lisa pursued her dream of taking the kids and experiencing part of the Desert Southwest on the open road.

After a couple of hours outside of San Antonio, we stopped for lunch and took stock of our surroundings inside the RV.  So far, the ride was quite comfy.

The Crossroads of The Texas Mountain Trail

Route 66 and Diva Tequilas.
Route 66 and Diva Tequilas.

We arrived tired and hungry at our destination, the Good Sam campground in Van Horn, TX, just in time to catch a desert sunset.

Dinner in the RV and generous pours of Route 66 reposado tequila were on the menu after a long drive.  Later that evening, the campground’s flawless wifi kept us on top of our personal and Tequila Aficionado duties.

It wasn’t until the next morning, though, that we were able to appreciate the stark beauty of this historic west Texas location.

Tequila Road Show

A short two hours or so later, we entered the El Paso, TX city limits.  Here, Lisa Pietsch and I reveal our desires for the Tequila Aficionado Roadshow that we were planning for late summer/early fall 2015.

Old Stomping Grounds

Fun with the selfie stick.
Fun with the selfie stick.

We made great time into the Duke City area and settled into the spacious Albuquerque North KOA campground in Bernalillo, NM.

Later that evening, accompanied by a full moon rising above the Sandia Mountains and some JLP Craft Margaritas, along with a celebratory cigar for me, we hopped onto the park’s wifi for a little social media fun.

 How to Shop for Your RV

With the idea of shopping for a bigger RV still fermenting, we weren’t too keen on dealing with pesky and persistent salesmen.  Lisa and I decided to take a walk around the KOA park to see what Americans were RVing in.

That’s when we ran into this beauty–

Meanwhile, Back in Van Horn…

After a couple of days in New Mexico, we mounted into the Cruise America RV and made our way back to Van Horn, TX to spend a restful two days recuperating from driving and moving some of my possessions.

Family time.
Family time.

The outpouring of well wishes and the sharing of family vacation memories from our friends and followers on social media, made us pause and reflect on our own individual family outings.

The pros of being location independent far outweighed the cons of what the open road had in store (besides rush hour traffic).

And, had we not returned to the campground in Van Horn, we would’ve missed the opportunities to bond over these gems…

Living The Dream

Stay tuned to Tequila Aficionado later this month for a special announcement about our first ever Tequila Road Show to the Windy City of Chicago and how you can come along!

Tequila Aficionado Media Reveals 2014 Brands of Promise™ Winners!

Awards Announced During a LIVE Google Hangout Telecast

For Immediate Release!

hangouts2March, 28, 2015, San Antonio, TX—In an unprecedented live Google Hangout telecast, Tequila Aficionado Media (TequilaAficionado.com) unveiled its Second Annual 2014 Brands Of Promise™ Award winners in Tequila, Mezcal and several other agave related categories.  A full list of Brands Of Promise™ winners can be viewed and downloaded here.

tequila awards, tequila aficionado, brands of promiseAmong the stellar labels recognized as Brands Of Promise™ award recipients, Trianon Tequila won the judges’ Best of Show Award, and Briscas Mezcal was recognized with a Gold medal for each of their expressions.  Gold was bestowed onto JLP Golden Lime Margarita in the Ready-To-Drink (RTD) category, as well.

Download the full list of nominees & winners here.

“The quality of the juice in 2014 was just outstanding,” crowed M. A. “Mike” Morales, CEO of Tequila Aficionado Media.

wahaka

“What a great year 2014 was!” agreed Alex Perez, Founder and Chairman of Tequila Aficionado.  “So much good juice.  So much good quality.  It is the best time for agave spirit aficionados.”

trianon stack
Best in Show

“Man this was tough,” added Morales, referring to selecting medal winners.

All brands were judged by Perez and Morales, as well as by other Tequila Aficionado staff, on how they performed during Tequila Aficionado’s wildly popular Sipping Off The Cuff™ video series seen regularly on TequilaAficionado.com and viewable on its YouTube channel.

Unlike other spirits contests, The Brands Of Promise™ Awards does not require participating agave spirit brands to pay an entry fee.  It also does not charge winners additional hefty licensing tariffs for the rights to use the medal award graphics on their labels, neck tags, shelf talkers, brochures, point-of-sales materials and websites.

2014-08-11 15.09.09“Competition for shelf space and ‘share-of-mind’ is fierce in this business, especially when going up against more established brands with deep pockets,” admits Perez.  “Most new tequilas, and dozens of mezcals and other agave spirits, are virtually unknown to consumers,” he explains.  “That doesn’t mean that promising startups shouldn’t be recognized.”

“We’re not out to gouge anyone,” declares Morales.  “We understand that advertising budgets for emerging brands are always costly in the beginning.”

Morales adds, “Simply being nominated for the Brands Of Promise™ awards means that we deem each of these participating brands worthy of the public’s attention.”

***

About Tequila Aficionado Media

6_ta_logo_pinas lg
Since 1999

TequilaAficionado.com, (Tequila Aficionado Media) is the most comprehensive and informative source for tequila, mezcal, and sotol on the internet or in print today.

It has been the only online tequila magazine for the past 15 years and is visited by tequila aficionados in over 120 countries around the world.  It produces fresh audio, video, feature articles and other content, and successfully shares them throughout all of its powerful social networks for maximum exposure.

About the Brands Of Promise™

If you would like to enter your tequila, mezcal, sotol or other agave spirit or related product in the coveted Brands Of Promise™ awards, click here.

If you would like additional publicity for your product or brand, simply click here for our current rates and special promotions.

Download the full list of nominees & winners here.

Quinceaneras are for Divas: Diva Tequila Cupcakes

diva tequila, silver, blanco, citrus, penasco

We’re expecting the gentlemen from Del Bravo for a visit on Monday so I’m doing a little preparation in the kitchen today.

Whenever we’re contacted by brand owners who will be coming through San Antonio, we like to invite them to the Tequila Aficionado Headquarters for drinks and a chat.  We like to film a great deal of the chatting part which you’ll soon see in several articles coming up from Mike Morales.  Since I love to pair and prepare foods with tequilas and mezcals, I usually make a little something so we don’t send our guests off into the night hungry.  I’m particularly excited about meeting the gentlemen from Del Bravo Tequila, the makers of Penasco and Diva Tequilas. diva

I’ll admit, I’m not a big fan of infused tequilas for the sole reason that nine times out of ten, they are overdone, poorly done, or are just a company’s way of putting sub-par products on a shelf to sell to those women who still think tequila is for shooting.  (Yes, I’ve become a bit of a tequila snob.)  Diva Tequila is one of the very few infusions to pass the sip test here at Tequila Aficionado.

My first reaction upon seeing Diva’s presentation was a very girly “Ooh, what a pretty bottle!”

Let’s face it, the tall, faceted bottle topped with the brilliant-cut diamond style stopper is just plain gorgeous.

The question that followed was a practical one “But how’s the juice?”

Truth be told, I was afraid of being disappointed yet again with the promise of a pretty bottle with no substance to back it up.  So I gave Diva a day and tried the Penasco blanco instead.  After enjoying Penasco, I was prepared to give the Diva my undivided attention the next evening.

diva cupcakesI wasn’t disappointed.

Instead of the usual overdone, sugary sweet concoctions marketed to the female drinker, I found the same crisp, clear blanco that Penasco delivered only this time it had a delightful twist of pink grapefruit.  Not too tart, not too sweet, and still a wonderful sipper!  (Like Goldilocks only with tequila instead of porridge!)
The Del Bravo folks know what they’re doing.  From the Diva Tequila bottle design (which would look lovely placed in a box of long-stemmed roses for Valentine’s Day *hint*) to the juice inside, they’ve done this right.

2014-05-14 13.20.43After a few sips, I knew I had to take this lovely lady into the Tequila Aficionado Test Kitchen.  I could see pairing her with brunch items, desserts, salads and so much more.  Yes, this is the guest you must invite to your girls’ night in or ladies’ brunch.

My first project was to tweak a Strawberry Margarita Cupcake recipe I’d found on Pinterest.  It was a hit!

Here’s the original recipe:

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes
  • 1 box dry white cake mix
  • 2 .30 oz dry sugar free strawberry jello mix
  • ¾ cup bottled strawberry margarita mix
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup tequila
  • 3 eggs

2014-05-14 13.33.432014-05-14 13.34.45Here’s my version:

Diva Margarita Cupcakes

  • 1 box Pillsbury Sugar Free Yellow cake mix
  • 2 .30 oz dry sugar free orango jello mix
  • ¾ cup JLP (Ready to Drink) Golden Lime Margarita
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup Diva Tequila
  • 3 eggs

I prefer to cook sugar free since I have sugar issues and, nobody trusts a cook who doesn’t eat her own creations!

The orange jello was the perfect complement to the pink grapefruit in Diva.

The JLP Golden Lime Margarita was a no-brainer.  I absolutely love these margaritas and knew it would be excellent in this citrus dream.

I thought coconut oil might give the cupcakes just a pinch of tropical flavor to set off all the citrus and I was right.

2014-05-14 14.54.17This recipe yielded 18 cupcakes. 

When it came time to top off little darlings, I wished I had created tiny white chocolate crowns.  As it turns out, they didn’t need anything so glamorous as all that.  Instead of the Tequila Cream Cheese Frosting, I used the Pillsbury Sugar Free frosting and added a tablespoon of Diva.  It worked out great!  Then I topped each cupcake with a single chocolate pearl.

We enjoyed them for a very long time!

2014-05-14 21.25.38Tequila Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp Tequila
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • zest from 1 lime
  • optional-white sparkling sugar

2014-05-14 14.24.20
Of course, if you don’t feel like going through the hassle of baking, Diva Tequila pairs just as well with dark chocolate covered strawberries!

No matter how you enjoy Diva Tequila, you WILL enjoy it.

Salud!

 
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