Tequila Don Julio Fresh Sips for 2016

Consider these Don Julio cocktails when planning your New Year’s Eve celebration!

Tequila Don Julio-Celery Daisy - Matt GrippoCelery Daisy

Created by Matt Grippo 

Ingredients:

1 1/4 oz Tequila Don Julio Blanco
1/4 oz Elderflower Liqueur
1 tsp Fino Sherry

1/4 oz Lime Juice

1/4 oz Fresh Pressed Celery Juice

1 tsp Raw Honey Syrup

1 Pinch of Salt

1 Dash of Celery and Orange Bitters

Lime Wheel and Celery Leaf for Garnish

 

Preparation:

  1. Combine Tequila Don Julio Blanco, elderflower liqueur, fino sherry, lime juice, fresh pressed celery juice, raw honey syrup, pinch of salt and celery and orange bitters into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well.
  2. Finely strain contents into a rocks glass over one large ice cube. Garnish with lime wheel and celery leaf.

 

Ideal Serve:

Rocks Glass

 

 

Tequila Don Julio - Fennel 75 - Matt GrippoFennel 75

Created by Matt Grippo 

Ingredients:

3/4 oz Tequila Don Julio Blanco

3/4 oz Fennel Liqueur

1/4 oz Lime Juice

1/4 oz Raw Honey Syrup

1 Dash of Orange Bitters

Top with Sparkling Wine
Fennel Frond for Garnish

 

Preparation:

  1. Combine Tequila Don Julio Blanco, fennel liqueur, lime juice, raw honey syrup and orange bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well.
  2. Finely strain contents into a flute over ice.
  3. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with fennel frond.

 

Ideal Serve:

Flute

 

 

Tequila Don Julio - Puerto Vallarta - Matt GrippoPuerto Vallarta

Created by Matt Grippo 

Ingredients:
1 1/2 oz Tequila Don Julio Blanco

1/2 oz Verjus

1/2 oz Tonic Syrup

1/4 oz Lime Juice

Soda to Top
Lemon Grass and Mandarin Peel for Garnish

 

Preparation:

  1. Combine Tequila Don Julio Blanco, verjus, tonic syrup and lime juice in a wine goblet.
  2. Top with soda. Garnish with lemon grass and mandarin peel.

 

Ideal Serve:

Wine Goblet

 

Spice Up The Holidays with Peligroso Cinnamon!

peligroso cinnamonPeligroso CinnamonPeligroso Cinnamon is back!

I can’t tell you how happy I am to see Peligroso Cinnamon out and about again since its move to Diageo.

We received a sample of the previous infusion (before the Diageo buy out and distillery move) and it was a huge hit with us.  In fact, we awarded it a Silver medal in the 2013 Brands of Promise Awards.

We particularly enjoyed using this expression in the Tequila Aficionado Test Kitchen.  Here are some links to articles where we mentioned recipes we created with it:

 

Truth be told, we had quite a few other recipes we wanted to try, like a particular pumpkin truffle and a few others, but one bottle only lasts so long when it is that good – and it was.

We’re hoping Diageo will enter Peligroso Cinnamon into the 2016 Brands of Promise Competition as a comeback brand (and I wouldn’t mind working on several new recipes in the test kitchen as well).  In the meantime – here are some festive Peligroso Cinnamon cocktails for your next holiday party:

 

Peligroso Fiery MargaritaFiery Margarita

  • 1.25 oz. Peligroso Silver
  • .75 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
  • .25 oz. Agave Nectar
  • .25 oz. Peligroso Cinnamon

Add first three ingredients into an ice filled shaker. Shake and strain into salt-rimmed rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with lime slice. Make it fiery by adding Peligroso Cinnamon.

 

Peligroso Tropical Storm

 

Tropical Storm

  • 1 oz. Peligroso Silver
  • .5 oz. Peligroso Cinnamon
  • 1 oz. Fresh Grapefruit Juice
  • .5 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
  • .5 oz. Agave Nectar
  • Lime Slice

Add first five ingredients to an ice filled shaker. Shake vigorously. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with lime.

 

Peligroso Baja BlitzBaja Blitz

· 1 oz. Peligroso Cinnamon

· Pint of Choice

Pour chilled Peligroso Cinnamon into shot glass. Enjoy with your favorite pint of beer.

 

 

Peligroso Mexican MuleMexican Mule

·         1.5 oz. Peligroso Cinnamon

·         4 oz. Ginger Beer

·         1 Orange Wedge

Fill a copper mug with ice. Squeeze an orange wedge into the glass and drop on top of the ice. Add Peligroso Cinnamon to spice it up. Top with ginger beer.

 

THE PELIGROSO® STORY: After countless trips chasing big breaks on the beaches of Baja, two avid surfers from Southern California found themselves in awe of the region’s culture and its quality tequila. The duo would revel each day’s adventure with a shot of Tequila, or Surfer’s Martini, which struck a deep appreciation for the spirit. In 2009, they founded Peligroso® Tequila, a 100% Blue Weber Agave Tequila, inspired by their thirst for life, adventure and great stories.

Embodying a deep respect for Mexico, Peligroso® Tequila is their tribute to the country’s beauty, rugged edge and rich traditions. Made the traditional way in the highlands of Jalisco, the spirit’s sense of adventure is found in each of its Tequila variants. Peligroso® variants include 100% Blue Weber Agave Silver, Reposado, and Anejo Tequilas and Peligroso® Cinnamon.

Do you dare to join Peligroso® and Rattle The Cage?

Peligroso® Cinnamon is infused with 100% pure cinnamon and a blend of ingredients for a kick that leaves some sweet heat.

FLAVOR PROFILE: Warm and savory with spicy aromas and a light finish, Peligroso® Cinnamon is a cinnamon flavored tequila liqueur that finishes with the perfect amount of sweet heat on the palate

SERVE: The perfect shot for all occasions – even better chilled with an orange slice

ABV: 70 proof, 35% (ABV)

BOTTLE: The burnt red coloring of the glass is inspired by rich Mexican heritage and the sweet heat finish of the liquid

FORMAT: Available in a 750mL, 1.0L, 375mL and 50mL bottle

MSRP: $22.99/750mL, $26.99/1.0L, $12.99/375mL and $1.99/50mL

AVAILABILITY: Peligroso® Cinnamon is available nationwide and year-round

 

Roasting & Toasting for Thanksgiving with Don Julio

farm to tableOn November 5, Tequila Don Julio hosted the latest edition of their Farm to Shaker dinner series in New York City in collaboration with New York Chef Daniel Sharp and Bartender Angela Laino. Below, you’ll find recipes and images of the innovative menu Chef Daniel and Angela collaborated on together for this special event. Each recipe features Tequila Don Julio along with roasting and toasting techniques that celebrate the fall season.

 


Angela’s Arch

Cangelas archreated by Angela Laino 

Inspiration: I wanted to create a sensory experience. Bringing the smoke into the cocktail allowed all the senses to be activated while showcasing the versatility of the Tequila Don Julio Reposado. This cocktail brings a feeling of fall by recreating the smell of roasting on a campfire. 

Ingredients:

1 1/4 oz Smoked Tequila Don Julio Reposado

1/2 oz Malbec Reduction

1/3 oz Italian Aperitif

Orange Zest

2 Dashes Orange Bitters

Dehydrated Lemon Ice for Garnish*

*Dehydrated Lemon Ice 

Ingredients:

2 Lemons 

Preparation: 

  1. Slice lemons thin and place in the dehydrator for 8 to 12 hours at 135°.
  2. Once lemons are crisp, place them in the ice tray and fill halfway with water. Place in freezer.
  3. Once ice is frozen, fill remaining space with water and freeze.

Preparation:

  1. Pour Tequila Don Julio Reposado into blender.
  2. Place the hose of a smoking gun 2 to 3 inches into the blender. Set the blender on a very low setting and turn on the smoker. Keep a continuous flow of smoke for 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Combine smoked Tequila Don Julio Reposado with Malbec Reduction, Italian Aperitif, orange zest and orange bitters in a mixing glass over ice. Stir for about 45 seconds.
  4. Strain contents into a rocks glass over large ice cube.
  5. Fill a snifter with smoke from your smoking gun and place on top of the rocks glass so that smoke is captured.
  6. Lift snifter and serve.

Ideal Serve:

Rocks Glass 

Indian Summer

Created by Angela Laino 

Inspiration: The Farm to Shaker event theme directly inspired The Indian Summer cocktail. I’m very culinary and garden-driven in my approach to cocktails. My favorite ingredients to use are those that can both stand alone and have the versatility to cross over from food to drink, such as fresh herbs. 

Ingredients:

1 oz Tequila Don Julio Blanco

1/4 oz Ancho Chili Liqueur

1 oz Lime Juice

1 oz Simple Syrup

1 bar spoon Curry Powder

8 Sprigs Cilantro for Garnish

Flaked Sea Salt and Dried Chili Powder Rim

Preparation:

  1. Combine Tequila Don Julio Blanco, ancho chili liqueur, lime juice, simple syrup and curry powder into a shaker with ice. Shake well.
  2. Double strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass rimmed with flaked sea salt and dried chili powder.

Ideal Serve:

Rocks Glass

reactivateReactivate

Created by Angela Laino 

Inspiration: One of my passions is to understand ingredients and the roles they play in our body. Activated charcoal is not only used as a filter in spirits but also mimics that process when consumed. By adding activated charcoal to this cocktail where the Tequila Don Julio 70 already goes through a charcoal filtration, it created an exciting twist on both the spirit and cocktail. 

Ingredients:

1 1/3 oz Tequila Don Julio 70

1/3 oz Dry Sherry

1 oz Cedar, Rosemary & Activated Charcoal Syrup*

2/3 oz Lemon juice

1 bar spoon Organic Egg White

1 drop Orange Extract

Rosemary Sprig for Garnish

*Cedar, Rosemary & Activated Charcoal Syrup 

Ingredients:

1 cup Dried Cedar Tops

4 cups Water

2 cups Sugar

1 Rosemary Sprig

1 Capsule Activated Charcoal 

Preparation:

  1. Bring dried cedar tops and rosemary sprig to a boil in 4 cups of water on high heat. Let boil for 2 minutes.
  2. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Strain and mix in sugar.
  4. Let cool then bottle.
  5. Add capsule of activated charcoal, shake. 

Yields ¾ liter.

Preparation:

  1. Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake vigorously without ice for one minute. Add ice and shake for an additional minute.
  3. Double strain into coupe glass.

Ideal Serve:

Coupe Glass

 

Don Julio Reposado Cured Roast Beef on Toast

Created by Chef Daniel Sharp

Inspiration: Among their many qualities, spirits have the ability to preserve, historically a powerful tool in preparing for the oncoming winter. This dish is traditionally Scandinavian and would use vodka, so for this preparation I used some Latin flavors and seared the meat to match the complexity of the Tequila Don Julio Reposado. 

Ingredients:

2 lb Eye of Round

Canola Oil

Tequila Don Julio Reposado Cure

Ingredients:

2 Oranges, zest and juice

1 Lemon, zest and juice

1 Lime, juice

1/2 cup Tequila Don Julio Reposado

1 cup Salt

1 cup Sugar

1 tbsp Black Pepper, large crack

1/2 tsps Chili Flakes

2 Star Anise

1 Jalapeño

12 sprigs Cilantro

1 tbsp Soy Sauce

Preparation:

  1. Cut the eye of round in half, pat dry with paper towel and set aside.
  2. Using a peeler, cut zest strips from the oranges and lemon, but not the lime. Once completed, halve and juice oranges, lemon and lime.
  3. Slice the jalapeñ
  4. Combine all the ingredients (except the beef) and mix well.

Searing the Beef:

  1. Place a heavy bottomed pan over high heat. Once very hot add oil, just to cover the pan lightly.
  2. Sear the beef, turning to a new side every 30-45 seconds until it is browned on all sides. The goal is not to cook the beef, it will still be raw throughout.
  3. Transfer to a plate and pat dry to remove excess oil.

Curing the Beef:

  1. Once cooled, place the beef in a zip-lock bag and pour the Tequila Don Julio Reposado cure over.
  2. Seal the bag removing as much air as possible so that the meat is completely surrounded by the liquid.
  3. Place the bag inside a pan or container in case of leakage and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning the bag over once at the halfway point.
  4. Once cured, remove the pieces and rinse lightly under cold water to remove the excess cure and pat dry. Wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap.

Serving:

  1. When you are ready to enjoy, place the wrapped piece in the freezer for about half and hour. This will firm it up and make it easier to slice.*
  2. Serve sliced thin, drizzled with Creama Mexicana and chopped mint with a few slices of grilled bread on the side

*If you don’t want to use it all, it will freeze and keep for several weeks

 

Roast Porchetta and Burnt Orange Tequila Don Julio Reposado Sauce

roasted porchettaCreated by Chef Daniel Sharp

Inspiration: The burnt oranges and roasted meat speak to the fall season. The richness of the porchetta goes well with the sweet tang of the Tequila Don Julio Reposado sauce, and burning the oranges adds depth in the same way that barrel aging the tequila does. This sauce would also go well with roasted duck, turkey or chicken. 

Burnt Orange Tequila Don Julio Reposado Glaze

Ingredients:

4 Oranges

3 tbsp Sugar

4 tbsp Butter

4 tbsp Flour

2 cups Orange Juice

2 cups Chicken Stock

2 1/2 oz Red Wine Vinegar

1 tbsp Whole Peppercorns

4 Whole Allspice

2 Star Anise

3 Cloves

1 tbsp Kosher Salt

3/4 cup Brown sugar

1/4 cup Sugar

4 oz Tequila Don Julio Reposado

Preparation:

  1. Preheat your oven to 475.
  2. Cut the oranges in halves. Then cut each half into four chucks.
  3. Toss the chunks with the sugar. Spread them out on a baking tray so they are evenly spaced apart.
  4. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the edges of the orange are blackened and rest of the orange is browned.
  5. Meanwhile, gather and measure out the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepot. Add the flour and whisk to create the roux.
  7. Cook over low heat for 5-7 minutes. The flour should start to smell toasted but not start to brown.
  8. Add all the spices and cook for another minute.
  9. Add orange juice, chicken stock and vinegar while whisking vigorously to avoid getting lumps. Once combined bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.
  10. Add the sugar, salt, burnt oranges and Tequila Don Julio Reposado. Stir to dissolve.
  11. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  12. Once finished, strain.

 

The Roast

Ingredients:

5 pound Heritage Porchetta Roast

4 sprigs Rosemary, stemmed and chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

Olive Oil

Preparation:

  1. Rub porcetta roast with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and rosemary.
  2. Roll and tie so the skin-on belly is wrapped around the loin.
  3. Place in a baking dish and cover with foil.
  4. Cook slow and low at 325 degrees for about 2+ hours or until the internal temperature of the roast reaches 145 degrees.
  5. Remove the foil and brush with the glaze. Turn the oven up to 450 degrees.
  6. Return to the oven and roast for 5 minutes until the glaze and skin start to bubble and brown.
  7. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with extra glaze on the side.

 

Roasted Pears and Tequila Don Julio Añejo Infused Caramel with Vanilla Ice Cream

roasted pearsCreated by Chef Daniel Sharp

Inspiration: Fruit is nature’s dessert, so I always like to find my inspiration there. The warmth of a delicious roasted pear with a spoonful of melting ice cream has always been a favorite of mine. Tying this duo together is a simple caramel sauce improved upon with a little Tequila Don Julio Añejo. Like the use of fine brandy in classic French desserts, the Tequila Don Julio Añejo elevates the flavors and adds a touch of festivity. 

Tequila Don Julio Añejo Infused Caramel

Ingredients:

1 cup Sugar

1/4 cups Water

4 tbsp Butter

1/2 cup Heavy Cream

2 oz Tequila Don Julio Añejo

Vanilla Bean, split and scraped

Pinch of Salt

Preparation:

  1. Add sugar and water to a heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Allow the water to evaporate, do not stir.
  2. Once the water has evaporated the sugar will start to brown. If the heat is uneven, move the pan around being careful not to agitate the mixture.
  3. Once the sugar has caramelized, add butter, whisking continuously. Once combined, remove from the heat and whisk in the cream.
  4. Add Tequila Don Julio Añejo, vanilla bean and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine.

 

Roasted Pears

Ingredients:

3 Pears

2 tbsp. Honey

½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon

Pinch of Salt

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cut the pears in half. Using a melon baller, remove the seeds.
  3. Toss with honey, cinnamon and a pitch of salt.
  4. Place cut side up in a baking dish with enough water just to coat the bottom.
  5. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minute until nicely browned and soft.
  6. Serve while still warm with vanilla ice cream and a generous drizzle of caramel.

Celebrate Autumn with Don Julio Tequila

Bloody MariaDon Julio Bloody Maria   

Ingredients:

1 ½ oz Tequila Don Julio Blanco

5 oz Don Julio Bloody Maria Mix*

1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

Picked Escabeche** for Garnish 

Preparation:

  1. Mix all ingredients in cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake and strain over ice.

Garnish:

Pickled Escabeche

 

*Don Julio Bloody Mary Mix

Ingredients:

24 oz Organic Tomato Juice

1 Red Pepper

1 Large Cucumber

5 oz Worcestershire Sauce

1 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper

2 tbsp Horseradish (prepared)

1 tsp TABASCO Sauce

Preparation:

  1. Add all ingredients into a Vitamix and blend until integrated and liquefied.
  2. Strain.   

Yield:

Roughly 24-30 oz of Bloody Mix

 

**Escabeche: 

Ingredients:

1 Head Cauliflower, chopped into ½ inch cubes

4 Carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ wheels

2 Stalks Celery, cut into ¼ inch pieces

1 Jalapeño, cut into thin rings

1 Bay Leaf

2 tsp Black Pepper

2 tsp Salt

3 cups Water

2 cups White Wine Vinegar

1 cup Sugar

Preparation:

  1. Prep vegetables and place in a nonreactive container.
  2. In a pot, heat the water, white wine vinegar and sugar, but do not boil.
  3. Remove from heat and pour liquid over vegetables. Seal container and refrigerate. (If too many vegetables float to the top put a plate in the container to weight vegetables down.)
  4. Pickled Escabeche is ready after one day, but perfect after two. 

 

Haymaker FizzHaymaker Fizz 

Ingredients:

1 ¼ oz Tequila Don Julio Blanco

1 ¼ oz Sake

3/4 oz Cucumber Switchel*

3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

2 Dashes Fennel Bitters

Soda, to top 

Preparation:

  1. Mix all ingredients in cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake and strain over ice.
  3. Top with soda, serve.

 

Garnish:

Fresh Cucumber Slice

 

*Cucumber Switchel 

Ingredients:

56 oz Farm Honey

32 oz Rice Vinegar

2 Large Cucumbers, diced

Preparation:

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Let sit for one day in refrigerator then strain out cucumber and bottle.

 

Peter PiperPeter Piper

Ingredients:

1/2 oz Mirepoix Infused Don Julio Reposado*

3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

3/4 oz Ginger Syrup**

1 dash Thyme Salt

1 dash Celery Bitters

Pickled Carrot for Garnish***

Preparation:

  1. Mix all ingredients in cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake, strain and serve. 

 

Garnish:

Pickled Carrot

 

*Mirepoix Infused Tequila Don Julio Reposado 

Ingredients:

1 Carrot

1 Stalk of Celery

1/4 Onion

1 bottle Tequila Don Julio Reposado (750 ml)

Preparation:

  1. Chop carrot, celery and onion, cook in pan to soften.
  2. Add to Tequila Don Julio Reposado bottle and let sit for 3 days.
  3. Strain and rebottle.

 

**Ginger Syrup 

Ingredients:

3 cups Sherry Wine Vinegar

1 cup White Sugar

1 tbsp Kosher Salt

5 Large Ginger Roots

8 oz Pickled Ginger Juice

4 oz Fresh Ginger Juice

1 ½ cups White Sugar

Preparation:

  1. Heat sherry wine vinegar, white sugar and kosher salt in a pan. Stir until sugar dissolves.
  2. Pour liquid over ginger roots. Roughly chop.
  3. Let sit in refrigerator for 3 days.
  4. Strain and juice ginger through juice extractor. Yields 8 oz pickled ginger juice.
  5. Mix pickled ginger juice, fresh ginger juice and sugar until dissolved. Bottle. 

 

***Pickled Carrot:

Ingredients:

20 Small Carrots

1 cup White Wine Vinegar

1 cup Sugar 

Preparation:

  1. Stir together liquid ingredients until dissolved.
  2. Place carrots in vinegar solution for 1 day.
  3. Strain off and serve as garnish.

San Antonio Cocktail Conference Media Party

Media party invite.
Media party invite.

[The fourth annual San Antonio Cocktail Conference was held from January 15 to January 18, 2015 here in San Antonio, Texas.  Tequila Aficionado Media attended with particular interest in all events surrounding agave spirits.]

Wednesday Night Media Party #SACC2015

As most of San Antonio’s cocktail culture creatures were safely at home in their jammies on the eve of the opening of the Fourth Annual San Antonio Cocktail Conference, every foodie, cocktail and spirits blogger, writer, photographer or pretender from all major cities in Texas, hobnobbed, photographed hors d’oeuvres for future food porn, and took selfies while collecting their official press credentials and tickets for their requested seminars from the organizers’ public relations company.

The St. Anthony Hotel, considered the Grand Dame of hotels in

Ornate brass ram.
Ornate brass ram.

downtown San Antonio, was the site of this evening’s sedate affair for the thin press corps.

The Venue

Having hosted such dignitaries as Eleanor Roosevelt and Princess Grace of Monaco during its illustrious history, this early 20th century monumental inn was San Antonio’s first luxury hotel.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and its importance to this city’s nightlife can’t be denied.

Eagle above doorway.
Eagle above doorway.

With a recent renovation under its belt, the lobby’s grandeur alone was impressive.  The St. Anthony’s timeless elegance would also be the site of the Waldorf on the Prairie soiree later that week.

Edwardian-era furnishings, high ceilings and crystal chandeliers made most of us feel underdressed, and the DJ spinning hip hop for the millennials in the group, seemed anachronistic.

After a greasy and unappetizing crab cake morsel, it was time to

Griffin.
Griffin.

hit the bar.

The Roca Patrón Roadshow Rides Again

The Roca Patrón roadshow finally hit San Antonio, and the response was unimpressive and underwhelming.

In sharp contrast to the all-out event that Tequila Aficionado Media attended in Austin, Texas at the Brazos Hall in late summer 2014, the San Antonio media’s introduction to Roca Patrón and Patrón’s other lines, was hardly noticed.

No Snifters.
No Snifters.

And, even though this was a major cocktail conference, only a small crew of four bartenders took orders from a prepared menu of Patrón signature drinks that included a build-your-own Old Fashioned using each of Roca Patrón’s expressions.  It left no room for imagination, and a lot to be desired.  But, hey, it was an open bar.

We preferred to sip the Roca Patrón reposado neat since we had determined it to be the star of the line up.  Our bartender that evening agreed, but, sadly, only rocks glasses were available to sip from.

In the end, the juice’s nose and flavor unceremoniously dissipated into the hip hop’s baseline.

Not the average photo booth.
Not the average photo booth.

Ready to call it an uninspired night with no reason to linger, we were again distracted by Patrón.

…But First, A Selfie

With an unusual take on the traditional photo booth, Patrón hired a photographer who encouraged willing souls to pose for black and white photos with, or without, their Patrón signature cocktails in hand.

A separate printer would instantly spit out the Patrón branded selfies where another assistant would graciously frame them for you.  You could even text the photos to your own cell phone.

Lisa and Mike representing Tequila Aficionado Media.
Lisa and Mike representing Tequila Aficionado Media.

Never missing a chance to educate their audience on its products (and to mine more followers on all its social media platforms) the back of the frames shared Patrón production factoids (“Did you know the high quality agave used to produce Patrón is slow baked in small brick ovens for 79 hours?”) while the inside flap invited us to share our photos on their social media accounts with specific hashtags.

Well played, Patrón, well played.

The Roca Patron Road Show

The Roca Patrón launch party invitation.
The Roca Patrón launch party invitation.

 

Roca Patron Hits The Road

All across the country, in carefully selected cities where the beautiful people roam like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami, and San Francisco, the Patrón PR machine (which spent a reported $34.1 million in measured media in 2013), is rolling out its new Roca Patrón line of tequilas.

Here in Tejas, on August 11, 2014, at the famed Brazos Hall in Austin, Tequila Aficionado Media was invited to the head of the line and behind the braided rope to be one of the first to try this new offering from Planet Patrón.

Once Inside…

The Brazos Hall was entirely furnished with wooden Roca Patrón branded furniture, fixtures, barrels and props, along with its own stage where a dynamic digital screen replayed a two minute silent video that was programmed to pulsating club music at deafening decibels.

 

 

Besides coming with its own publicity campaign that includes a stylized knockoff of their familiar bottle, projecting the Patrón name and iconic bee symbol onto the walls and some snappy slogans on ads and cushy sofa pillows, the entire experience is designed to embed a feeling of Old World rustic tequila-making with a modern twist.

The Process

El Tesoro's tahona, still in use.
El Tesoro’s tahona, still in use.

What makes this new addition to the Patrón portfolio any different from its usual ho-hum juice?

Roca Patrón (a Spanish corruption of the English word rock) is made exclusively using a tahona or volcanic stone wheel to macerate agave piñas to extract its juice.  Until the invention and adoption of more efficient and less labor intensive shredding machines, this was once how all tequilas were produced.

In this clip, Patrón Quality Director, Mario Chavez, explains why they settled on a 90 proof blanco and reveals some of the details in the pre-planning of the Roca line.

Mario explained that the tahona has always been part of the tequila making process for regular Patrón which they blend after distillation with juice that has been shredded.  This method was made famous by Tequila Siete Leguas, Patrón’s original producer, and eventually pilfered by Patrón.  For Roca, however, no blending occurs.

 

2014-08-11 19.12.58
L-R: Mike Morales, John Rivers of Julio Cesar Chavez Tequila, Mario Chavez. Patrón Quality Director, Mario Chavez, was so animated and excited about sharing Roca Patron that we couldn’t capture a still photo of him! Special thanks to Greg Cohen for inviting us to a great party!

 

Francisco-head-shot
Francisco Alcaraz, Patron Master Distiller

In his passion, Mario was sure that there were no other tequilas produced exclusively using a tahona.  I reminded him of the sought-after Fortaleza brand which he acknowledged, and Suerte, which he had never heard of.  But, why would he?  He is so engrossed in his own line that it figures that he would be oblivious to any other ones.  An honest, and forgivable, mistake.

Several distillers/chemical engineers are associated with the Roca line.  It’s refreshing to see a new face representing Patrón besides Francisco Alcaraz, their long time Master Distiller.

Cocktail Worthy

The Roca Patrón website has plenty of signature cocktails, but for each of the other 40 odd launch cities including Austin, original recipes were created by hired hot mixologists.

As previously pointed out in our reviews of Cabeza, Tapatío 110, and the entire Dulce Vida line, overproof tequilas shine in cocktails and Roca Patrón is no different.

Both myself and Mario agreed, however, that for a purist, a tequila the caliber of Roca

Lutfy Flores, David Alan, Carolyn Gil, Brian Dressel, Joyce Garrison, Patrón's guest mixologists.
Lutfy Flores, David Alan, Carolyn Gil, Brian Dressel, Joyce Garrison, Patrón’s guest mixologists.

Patrón would be much better served either neat, or simply on the rocks.

The Break Down

For the sake of transparency, we were served Roca Patrón on tap at room temperature in branded champagne glasses.  (Don’t be fooled by the lit-from-behind liquid lines viewed through false tequila barrel tops.  Patrón invented the art of visual illusion for these events.)

Patrón reps that evening admitted that it was not the best way to taste test tequila, but considering the amount of guests invited to the launch, it proved more cost effective.

Due to the darkness of the Brazos Hall, observing Roca’s color was next to impossible.

Roca Patrón Silver–90 proof

The new Roca Patrón line.
The new Roca Patrón line.

At first sniff, instant piedra (tahona, rock) with barely any hint of alcohol.  The nose gives no warning for what’s to come, however.  Extreme agave on the entry, so brace yourselves.  Light to medium finish that lingers on the palate, not down your throat.  On the second intake, more sweetness is evident.

Roca Patrón Reposado–84 proof

Instant butter on the nose to go along with the wood notes, vanilla and caramel.  Mario confessed that his wife is even able to pull some pineapple and pear on the entry.  Both were slightly noticeable, again with very little to no alcohol.  Aged in American oak barrels and guaranteed to coat your palate.

Roca Patrón Añejo–88 proof

Aged 14 months, mas o menos, there is evidence of dried fruit, nuts and some citrus.  Again, very little if any alcohol was present in the nose.  Very easy finish, but not as memorable as the reposado even though it, too, will coat the palate.

The Verdict

Both at the event and in digital print, Patrón reps and officials have admitted that there has been a gradual decline in demand for its tequila in the United States.  Consumers and industry professionals alike have dismissed it as a brand that rests on its colorful past and deft marketing.

Whether this trend has been due to the rise of mixologists and their demands for better and more artisanal ingredients for their cocktail creations, a more sophisticated and educated consumer, or focusing on its ravenous rise to dominance in the overseas Duty Free market, Roca Patrón is their bold statement to these allegations.

Despite Patrón’s attempt to backpedal into the current craft tequila craze with Roca, it is still a mass produced tequila targeted to their own particular customer base–

Those willing to spend anywhere from $69, $79, and $89 for silver, reposado, and añejo expressions.

Don’t expect to see these prices drop, either.  Patrón was one of the only tequila producers that refused to roll back prices during the recession even though consumers were trading down to cheaper brands.

In the end, those faithful Patrón followers who enjoy the Gran Patrón line (Platinum, Piedra, or Burdeos), but not the heady price tags, will appreciate Roca Patrón’s assertive flavor profile and less aggressive cost.

As for the Patrón Road Show…

It was an elegant, eventful, and enlightening affair.  Like watching Cirque du Soleil but without the embarrassing costumes.

***

Watch for a future Sipping Off The Cuff(TM) featuring Roca Patrón, coming soon!

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Announcing the Triumphant Arrival of Tequila Embajador

Embajador Premium Reposado tequila takes Platinum prize from among 403 entries at the prestigious SIP Awards…

sip award, embajador, tequila

st. regis, sip award, embajador(Press release)

Austin, TX–On April 27, 2014, at the luxurious St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, CA, a 100 member panel of judges voted Embajador Premium Reposado tequila a Platinum prize at the 6th annual SIP AwardsEmbajador Tequila Platinum blanco also received a Silver medal while Embajador Tequila Supreme añejo scored the Bronze.

embajador, tequila, sip award“Winning the Platinum SIP award for our Embajador Premium Reposado expression is truly an honor,” beams Andres Garcia, Regional Sales Manager for the family owned brand.  “We are super excited to be recognized and to be mentioned in this category alongside some of the most respected brands in the industry.”

The family estate and distillery of Tequila Embajador is nestled in Atotonilco, in the highlands of Jalisco, the same region made famous by such legendary producers as Don Julio and Siete Leguas.  Those same values that created these mythic tequilas are the exact ones that drive Embajador to perfection.

embajador, tequila, sip award“We are a family who is motivated and inspired by the idea of crafting superior quality and distinguished Tequila.  Embajador is produced in small batches to focus on the brand’s consistency and quality principles,” states the Embajador website.

“Our family motto has been ‘quality over quantity,'” continues Garcia.  “This is about giving this noble spirit the time honored respect it demands and that we do every step of the way–with honor.”

embajador, tequila, sip awards, agaveTrue to their word, Embajador uses only their own estate grown 100% blue weber agave that is carefully tended for 8-10 years.  Baked in an adobe oven, the piñas are shredded using water from the distillery’s own aquifer, and then fermented from 3-5 days.  After double distillation, the luminous Platinum expression is rested 40 days in stainless steel vats to ensure a complete balance of character.

The SIP Platinum award winning Embajador Premium Reposado is rested for a period of eight months in American and French Oak barrels, while Embajador’s Supreme Añejo is aged with devotion for one year and six months in American and French Oak barrels.

 

 

Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan, embajador, sip award, tequilaThe Embajador family is so serious about presenting the soul of Tequila to the rest of the world, and being true ambassadors, that they have partnered with Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan, one of the hottest mariachi groups in Mexico.  As they travel globally, these talented mariachis bestow special bottles of Embajador (ambassador, in Spanish) to foreign dignitaries at each Mexican embassy they visit.

“We are building more than just a brand,” explains Garcia.  “We are creating a legacy that is focused on producing quality Tequila.”

Not only is the Platinum SIP award winning Embajador reposado fast becoming a favorite with mixologists, but all of the expressions are cocktail ready.  Embajador tequila signature cocktails are featured prominently on the brand’s website and correspond to the level of the consumers’ experience in crafting cocktails at home.

Have fun concocting poppers, lucious margaritas, and even Fluffy’s Chock-lit-D’lite, a whimsical drink inspired and dedicated to popular Latino stand-up comic, Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, himself a fan of Embajador tequila.

fluffy, tequila, chocolate, embajador“The Embajador Tequila family, along with everyone involved, felt a high degree of honor, accomplishment and excitement because each person’s hard work and vision in producing a quality juice came to be recognized at the SIP awards,” admits Garcia.

“After all,” he concludes, “Tequila is Mexico and we are proud to be one of its Ambassadors.”

***

Distributors/Vendors:  Contact Andres Garcia, Regional Sales Manager, to discuss the benefits of adding SIP award winning Embajador Tequila to your portfolio at andres@embajadortequila.com.  More details on Embajador Tequila on their website here.  To learn more about the SIP awards, click here.  Spirits Writers:  For an in-depth interview with Andres Garcia, dial 469-216-0567.  Hurry–slots are filling up fast!

 

 
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Celebrate Summer with Don Julio

Don Julio Celebrates the Solstice

Saturday, June 21st marks the official first day of summer, and what better way to celebrate the summer solstice than with specialty cocktails from Tequila Don Julio.

Try mixing up a Highway 71, a spirit-forward beverage made with complex, quality ingredients including Tequila Don Julio Añejo, coconut infused sweet vermouth and chocolate mole bitters. A summery twist to the classic Manhattan, this variation of the timeless cocktail is the perfect celebratory drink to enjoy the season.

For more of a tiki-style vibe, you can try mixing up a Don Siegel cocktail, a great drink that is perfect for summertime patio lounging.


Highway 71, don julioDon Julio Highway 71

Created by NYC Mixologist Thomas Waugh

Ingredients:

1 ounce Tequila Don Julio Añejo
1/2 ounce Coconut Infused Sweet Vermouth
1 dash Chocolate Molé Bitters
Smoked Cinnamon Stick for Garnish

**To create Coconut Infused Sweet Vermouth:
Ingredients:
1 750 ml bottle Sweet Vermouth
1 cup Sweetened Coconut Flakes

  1. Add sweetened coconut flakes to a bottle of Sweet Vermouth.
  2. Let sit for 2 hours.
  3. Strain out coconut and add liquid back to the bottle
  4. Label and refrigerate.

 

Preparation:

  1. Combine Tequila Don Julio Añejo, coconut infused sweet vermouth and chocolate molé bitters into a mixing glass with ice and stir.
  2. Strain contents into a rocks glass over one large piece of ice.
  3. Garnish with smoked cinnamon stick.

Ideal Serving Glass:
Rocks Glass

Yield:
1 drink, no drink contains more than 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol

The Don Julio Don Siegel

Created by NYC Mixologist Thomas Waugh

Ingredients:Don Siegel, don julio
1 ounce Tequila Don Julio Reposado
1/3 ounce Dry Amontillado Sherry
1/3 ounce Fresh Lime Juice
1/3 ounce Agave Nectar Syrup
1 tsp Apricot Liqueur
1 tsp Mezcal
Angostura Bitters
Cracked Ice
Mint Sprigs for Garnish

**To create Cracked Ice:

  1. Pour ice into a durable sealed bag.
  2. Crack ice cubes with muddler.

Preparation:

  1. Combine Tequila Don Julio Reposado, dry amontillado sherry, fresh lime juice, agave nectar syrup, apricot liqueur and mezcal into a shaker. Shake Well.
  2. Pour contents into a Collins Glass over cracked ice.
  3. Add a few dashes of angostura bitters.
  4. Garnish with mint sprigs.

Ideal Serving Glass:
Collins Glass

Yield:
1 drink, no drink contains more than 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol

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