Tequila Aficionado’s Tequila & Mezcal Road Show, Part I

[From October 14 to October 28, 2015, Tequila Aficionado Media, accompanied by 33 expressions representing 19 brands, embarked on an epic RV road show christened, The Dia de los Muertos Tequila & Mezcal Tour.  In these next passages, we recount the historic–and hysteric–highlights.

You can also view a complete video playlist of our adventures on our YouTube channel here…]

On A Dark Desert Highway

Somewhere outside Carlsbad, New Mexico

 

On a dark stretch of highway in southeastern New Mexico, a road weary Lisa Pietsch guided the Cruise America RV that Tequila Aficionado Media had rented for the historic Dia de los Muertos Tequila & Mezcal Tour.

Avoiding oncoming eighteen wheelers hauling oil and speeding two-ton diesel  trucks, she counted the minutes until she reached her destination for the night, the Carlsbad KOA campground.

Suddenly, she gasped as a huge piece of truck tire appeared in the high beam headlights ahead of her.

With no way to avoid the giant twisted remnant on the two lane highway without swerving and fishtailing the thirty foot RV, she gritted her teeth, straddled the rubber and hoped for the best.

A resounding ka-thunk ka-thunk let her know that she had successfully survived what could have been a perilous situation.  It wasn’t until the next morning that Lisa discovered what had actually happened.

Uncomplicated Sipping

Feeling like the castaways from Gilligan’s Island, what was supposed to have been a leisurely six hour drive from San Antonio, Texas to Carlsbad, New Mexico turned into a 9 hour ordeal that began with early morning packing and stocking the RV.

Once we parked and hooked up the water and electricity at the campground for the night, Lisa announced that all she wanted was something uncomplicated to sip on for a late evening nightcap.

Malinalli blanco fit the bill perfectly.

Black Water

After a sluggish morning, we decided to drive for Carlsbad Caverns in the early afternoon.

Unhooking the RV, Lisa noticed the damage to the black water tank.  The coiled tire we had straddled the night before had poked a sizeable hole.  If any of us needed to use the bathroom while we were on the road, it would spell disaster, especially for those following behind us.

With fingers crossed, we headed to Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

To The Bat Cave!

1016151413

After struggling with our selfie stick trying to capture a family photo outside the park sign, we hustled into the visitor’s area for a mid-afternoon tour of the caverns.

Once inside, we were met with this alarming notice–1016151439a

Bats are dying!

While we weren’t able to manage a tour of the Caverns’ famed bat exhibit that featured the Mexican free tail bats, there was enough important information to post in the above article.

Attack of The 10 Foot Martians 

1016151716 1016151717aOn our way back from Carlsbad Caverns just before nightfall, we were able to do a bit of souvenir shopping and picture taking with carved bears and aliens.

We had no idea that the alien culture was so prominent in Carlsbad, but we were sure that Roswell, our next day’s whistle stop, would have more than enough little green men to spare.

In the meantime, we appropriately eased into the  gray, stormy evening with Tromba tequila.

The Truth Is Out There

1017151249

From the moment that Alien Tequila hopped aboard our Tequila & Mezcal Tour, I knew that a stop in Roswell, NM at the UFO Museum was a must.

Walking through this charmingly quirky city with a bottle of Alien Tequila hidden in a bag made these photos even more delightful.

1017151250aAfter more souvenir shopping, it was off to our stop for the next two nights at my old stomping grounds in Albuquerque.

R & R

Having stayed at this particular KOA campground during our first family RV outing earlier in the Spring of 2015, we were familiar with the amenities and felt comfortable enough to enjoy some down time.  The driving had taken its toll on Lisa, so a two-day respite was just what she needed.

JLP Margaritas were the order of the evening.  After catching up on emails and drafting blogs, Senda Real made an appearance, as well.

Finding Photo Ops

When you’re stuck behind a computer from 5 to 8 hours a day like Lisa and I usually are working to make Tequila Aficionado Media even more interesting, compelling and educational for you, finding ways to create more inspirational photo and video opportunities is challenging.

Stepping away from the home office and being on the road really lends itself to “outside-the-box” creativity.  If you remain open to possibilities, even the simplest things can serve to generate epic social media content and articles.

Which is exactly what we needed since we were still faced with the dilemma of the damaged black water tank.

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

Dia de los Muertos Tour Schedule

*FTC Disclosure: Brands appearing on the Tequila Aficionado Dia de Los Muertos & Heartland Tour had to be vetted as Brand of Promise Nominees and paid a nominal fee to be on the tour.

The Dia de los Muertos Tour is even bigger and better than we imagined!  We’re exploring the great Southwest!

First we’ll pay homage to the wonderful creatures who come alive at night to pollenate the desert flora, including agave, then we’ll move on to another one of nature’s wonders, The Grand Canyon.

Here’s our tour schedule and where we’ll be camping.  If you’re near one of our stops, message us on Facebook and we’ll tell you when the pouring begins!

 

Tequila Aficionado Dia de los Muertos Tour Schedule


Wednesday October 14: Pick up our rental RV at the local Cruise America, pack up and enjoy a nice tequila after an afternoon of loading the RV with food, clothes, computers, cameras and TEQUILAS

Thursday October 15: Drive from San Antonio, TX to Carlsbad, NM, enjoy the bats’ nightly flight with a flight of tequilas fireside.  We’ll be staying at Carlsbad KOA 2 Manthei Road, Highway 285
Carlsbad, NM 88220

carlsbad twitter

 

Friday October 16: Visit Carlsbad Caverns, then celebrate our escape from the underworld with a glass or two of something ancient

Saturday October 17: Drive to Albuquerque by way of Roswell, NM.  We may just share a drink or two with the aliens.  We’ll be staying at Albuquerque North/Bernalillo KOA 555 South Hill Road
Bernalillo, NM 87004

Sunday October 18: Stay in Albuquerque

Monday October 19: Drive to Phoenix, AZ, relax after the long drive with something fresh.  We’ll be staying at Desert Shadows RV Resort 19203 N. 29th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85027

Tuesday October 20: Film a tequila tasting with the Butterscotch Martini Girls

Wednesday October 21: Lunch with Roger & Alisa Clyne at the Taco Guild (546 E Osborn Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85012), there will be Mexican Moonshine

Thursday October 22: Drive to Grand Canyon National Park and estimate how much tequila it would take to fill it.  We’ll be staying at Trailer Village RV Park in Grand Canyon Village.

Grand Canyon Twitter

Friday October 23: Visit the Grand Canyon and see how many tequilas we can photograph there before the Park Rangers ask what we’re doing.

Saturday October 24: Visit the Grand Canyon more and see if we can get a few elk to pose with some mezcals.

Sunday October 25: Drive to Albuquerque, NM, enjoy some putt-putt golf and tequila at Albuquerque KOA 12400 Skyline Road NE Albuquerque, NM 87123

Monday October 26: Drive to Fort Stockton, TX, celebrate our arrival in our home state.  We’ll stay at Fort Stockton KOA 3604 KOA Rd. Exit 264, Warnock Road, I-10 Fort Stockton, TX 79735 

Tuesday October 27: Drive to San Antonio, TX, unpack all the bottles of dessert we collected and start writing all about the amazing times we had, just in case you aren’t able to join us.

Wednesday October 28: Return our RV to Cruise America and say goodbye to our big traveling buddy, go home and relax with a nice smoky mezcal.

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

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!

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

Women in The Tequila Industry: Jaclyn Jacquez by M.A. “Mike” Morales

jaclyn jacquez

Jaclyn Jacquez considers herself an adelita, of sorts.

Soldaderas of the Mexican Revolution.
Soldaderas of the Mexican Revolution.

Adelitas were female solders (soldaderas) who were a vital force during the Mexican Revolution in the early 1900s, fighting alongside men.  As President of Don Cuco Sotol, she spearheads a sixth generation  company producing a spirit steeped in 800 years of history.

The Don Cuco Sotol line up., jaclyn jacquez
The Don Cuco Sotol line up.

Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and raised in El Paso, Texas and Chihuahua, Mexico, this charming but fierce warrior woman is more than armed with a masters degree in International Business from the American College of Switzerland.  Under her leadership, the company trademarked its brand name, exported it first into New Mexico, and now, into New Zealand where it is gaining the attention of bars and restaurants specializing in serving handcrafted Mexican spirits-based cocktails.

Jaclyn Jacquez, President of Don Cuco Sotol.
Jaclyn Jacquez, President of Don Cuco Sotol.

In an industry where the image and story behind a spirit is crucial for its marketing success, Jaclyn and the entire Jacquez family, staunchly refuse to stray from their artisanal roots.  Opting instead to concentrate on honoring their culture and way of life in the Sonoran Desert, they have managed to capture its essence inside every bottle of Don Cuco Sotol.

As I related to author, Tom Barry, in his stellar article “A Sotol Story” (it may be bad form to quote oneself, but I’ll do so here), “There is no mistaking that Don Cuco Sotol is produced–handcrafted, micro-distilled–and lovingly brought into the market by the Jacquez family.”

A revolutionary spirit fronted by a soldadera, Jaclyn Jacquez most certainly belongs among the ranks of Tequila Boss Ladies.

To repeat, we asked a short list of five questions to prominent women leading the charge for change in the Tequila Industry and beyond.

Interview with Don Cuco Sotol’s President, Jaclyn Jacquez.

TA:  How would you describe your experiences as a high ranking woman in your position in a primarily male dominated industry?

JJ:  To be in a male dominated industry has been an empowering feeling.  The liquor industry is starting to realize the great power of influence women have in this business.  Not only do we have influence in advertisement and marketing but we are playing a major role in strategic business decisions at an international level.

Label.
Label.

TA:  How have you been able to change things within your industry?

JJ:  The sotol industry had played a major role during Mexico’s revolutionary times just as the women called ” Adelitas” did during that period.  Now its challenge, and my challenge, is to revolutionize everyone’s cocktail with this spirit.

My heritage is from Chihuahua and I, too, carry that northern revolutionary spirit within me.  I don’t think I’ve made a change in this industry, yet, but Sotol is a revolutionary drink and I’m just part of its heritage.

I just happen to be the “Adelita.”

TA:  What do you see as the future of women working within the Tequila/Sotol Industry?

Adelitas of the Mexican Revolution.
Adelitas of the Mexican Revolution.

JJ:  I see huge potential for women and the liquor industry itself.

I see women not only in the marketing aspect of it, but in the agriculture, business, social conscious awareness of it and education.  I see women taking this challenging industry to a much higher level where people will not only be asking for just well drinks but for a cocktail with a specific brand of sotol or tequila.

TA:  What things would you like to see changed?

JJ:  Awareness.

I want people to understand that tequila and sotol are not just another alcoholic beverage to drink.  It is more than that.  It is culture, art, and a spirit that has to be treated with respect.  That’s why the Ancestors called it spirits.  Consumers need to research and know what they are consuming and demand it.

TA:  Is there anything you’d like to say to women who may be contemplating entering and working in the Tequila/Sotol Industry in one form or another?

JJ:  Yes.  It’s just like any other goal.  You’ve got to have passion and embrace every challenging aspect of this industry.

***

A soldadera relaxes.
A soldadera relaxes.

 

Find Don Cuco Sotol Online:

Don Cuco Website

Follow Don Cuco Sotol on Facebook

And on Twitter @SotolDonCuco

 

 

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Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

How to Get Paid to Drink Tequila:

How you can turn your passion into profits and get paid to drink tequila as a blogger, vlogger, podcaster or author

 

Salud!!