Pepe Z: The Mad Man of Tequila

Pepe Z: The Mad Man of Tequila http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4pSI’ve finally gotten around to binge watching Mad Men on Netflix.

In case you haven’t joined the Streaming Generation, or lived without cable TV for awhile, Mad Men is a series set in the 1960’s about a fictional ad agency called Sterling Cooper based in New York City’s famed Madison Avenue.

[Editor’s note: I still can’t believe I was born during the Eisenhower administration!]

Tequila marketing being my thing, naturally, I’m drawn to the product placement of distilled spirits on the historically accurate show.

Along with adverts concocted by admen for cigarettes, bras, and washing

Pepe Z: The Mad Man of Tequila http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4pS
Vintage Cuervo ad

machine manufacturers, spirits companies like Seagram’s, Jack Daniels, and Jose Cuervo were also a part of the advertising renaissance, and not just on American soil.  These early Behemoths of Booze also took the fight offshore.

And nobody can tell you more about those challenges better than José Zevada.

The Mad Man of The Caribbean

Jose “Pepe” Zevada and the story of the Z Tequila Brand from Z Tequila on Vimeo.

Pepe Z: The Mad Man of Tequila http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4pS
Iron Cactus menu.

I finally met the charismatic Pepe Zevada, the maker of Pepe Z Tequila, accompanied by Glynn Bloomquist, (CEO and Chairman), and Guy England (South Texas Market Manager), of Empresario LLC, the first Texas company to create, brand, distill, import, and market spirits.

Pepe Z: The Mad Man of Tequila http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4pS
Fernando Lamas

With the elegance and charm suggestive of silver screen Latino Hollywood hunks like Ricardo Montalbán or Fernando Lamas, and peppered with jokes and anecdotes of the “glory days,” you get the sense that you’re reliving spirits industry history, Mad Men style.

Over a delicious lunch at the Iron Cactus Mexican Grill & Margarita Bar on San Antonio’s renowned Riverwalk, Pepe regaled us with episodes of his life as the vice president of Brown-Forman in Latin America, Mexico and the Caribbean.  During that time, he traveled to 106 countries (Pepe speaks 5 or 6 languages fluently) introducing Jack Daniels to those parts of the world.

After 30 years with Brown-Forman, he went on to work as vice president for the classic spirits distiller Hiram Walker (Sauza, Kahlúa, Courvasier, Beefeater), until the merger of Allied Domecq.

To Make a Long Story Short

After persistent encouragement from friends in Mexico, Pepe Z Tequila was Pepe Z: The Mad Man of Tequila http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4pSborn shortly after José retired from 35 years in the liquor industry.

But, in the tradition of the three generations of Sauzas, Don Julio González, José Cuervo and Don Eduardo Orendáin, Pepe was determined to only put his name on a quality tequila.

To create a batch of Pepe Z takes over three weeks.  He calls the blanco tequila the “mother” of the line, and claims that the selected agave is the key to a sterling product.

Pepe Z Tequila uses only lightly toasted virgin American Oak barrels (not charred) for its reposado and añejo expressions, and it is one of the lowest in methanol after distillation.

Pepe Z: The Mad Man of Tequila http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4pS
Pepe, Guy and Glynn of Empresario.

These time tested techniques have not only achieved an authentic, “old world” flavor profile, but it has also garnered Pepe Z some serious hardware in the form of medals and awards.

 Flavor, Friendship and Family

Raised in Mexico of Spanish parents, José (Pepe is a common nickname for Josés) was brought up with strict moral values that have guided him throughout his life.

In his words, “I don’t do business without being friends, first.”  He asserts, “The liquor business is a people business, not a laptop business.”

In the era dominated by contracted brands with glamorous images and no backstory, Zevada prefers to take a page from those legendary patriarchs of tequila and make every effort to meet and greet each of his customers, personally.

Pepe Z: The Mad Man of Tequila http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4pS
Pepe Zevada and Mike Morales.

Part of the brand’s strategy is to nurture its relationship with its hometown of Austin, and then to solidify its embrace on the rest of Texas before conquering other states.  This tactic has worked wonders as evidenced by the glowing testimonials given by his customers.

While his clients enthusiastically preserve their friendship with Pepe, Zevada gratefully acknowledges that, “My customers are part of the Z family.”

And, in a time where spirits are judged on perceived value, Pepe demands that his tequilas remain affordable, believing that luxury shouldn’t be so hard to come by.

Distinguished flavor, devoted friendship and defined family values is the method to Pepe Zevada’s effective–and infectious–“madness.”

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 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

 

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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.

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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.

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National Tequila Day Tips from Don Julio Tequila

National Tequila Day is July 24th

don julio, tequila, anejoand a favorite for many, but with this year’s celebration falling on a Friday, expect the festivities to be bigger than ever. To help stay spirited on this beloved day, and survive the morning after, below is a step-by-step guide provided by Don Julio Tequila (with additional tips from Tequila Aficionado in parenthesis). 

1. As you count down the minutes until the end of the day, drinks lots of water to prepare for the evening activities ahead. (Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!)

2. Once it hits 5 o’clock, kick off the night with a round of Tequila Don Julio Reposado shots and Tabasco Sangrita chaser to cleanse the palate with each peppery sip. (We at Tequila Aficionado would never suggest a shot.  Perhaps sip it instead?  Sangrita is great – and we love it – but it’s no palate cleanser.  We use black coffee or unflavored vodka – just swish & spit, nobody really likes vodka anyway.)

3. Balance the tequila with Mexican favorites – tacos, taquitos or quesadillas. (We’ve proven that tequila can be paired with any food that’s good.  How about a steak or roast duck.  Yeah, you can do that.)

4. Take a quick pic to document the evening, just in case it’s fuzzy later. (Be sure to tag @tequilaaficion on Twitter & Vine.)

5. Cure your tequila hangover with tequila in a Bloody Maria. (But you’re an Aficionado.  You don’t drink tequila to get drunk – and you pre-hydrated!) 

Spicy Sangrita

Created by Presley’s Pantry
 

Spicy SangritaIngredients
5 ounces vegetable juice
1 cup clamato
3 limes, juiced
1 lime, sliced into wedges
1/3 cup tangerine juice
7 dashes Tabasco Chipotle Sauce
1 tablespoon Tabasco Spicy Salt
Tequila Don Julio Reposado

Preparation
In a pitcher, combine vegetable juice, clamato, lime juice, tangerine juice, Tabasco Sauce; stir to combine. Place in refrigerator. In a shallow bowl, add Tabasco Salt. Rub a lime wedge along the rim of a shot glass and dip into salt. Fill glass with sangrita and pair with a shot of tequila.


Bloody Maria

Bloody MariaIngredients
3 ounces Tequila Don Julio Reposado
3/4 teaspoon Tabasco Original Red Sauce
1/3 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Celery salt
Ground black better
2 teaspoons ground horseradish
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
16 ounces tomato juice
Celery for garnish

Preparation
Rim two highball glasses with lemon juice and dip into black pepper. Add Don Julio Reposado, Tabasco, Worcester sauce, celery salt, tomato juice and ground horseradish; stir with bar spoon. Garnish with thin strips of celery.
Makes 2 drinks.

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The Mega Marketing of a Brand Part II – Jose Cuervo Is A Friend of Mine

Originally published on TequilaAficionado.com Dec 3, 2006

tequila aficionado vault, jose cuervo

 

 

In a relationship that the Animal Planet calls symbiotic–like the small fish feeding on scraps from a shark’s jaws, or birds picking the bugs off a hippo’s butt–Cuervo has benefited nicely over the years by partnering with major restaurant chains all over the US. They have single-handedly influenced thousands of tequila drinkers.

 

The Lonely Bull

In an informative article in the Los Angeles Daily News last December, Staff Writer Brent Hopkins recounted the humble beginnings of one of the oldest Mexican food restaurant chains in Southern California.

el torito, jose cuervoEl Torito--which also celebrated its golden anniversary in December 2004–was the brain-child of ex-fighter pilot Larry Cano, whom Brent describes as having “…a few recipes and knowledge of an exotic sounding foreign drink known as tequila….”

In the late ’70’s and early ’80’s, it was the ultimate place to eat, drink, and party. I’ll admit, I was among those who enjoyed traditional Mexican food with more than one margarita and a round of shots.

According to the article, El Torito grew into an international powerhouse with restaurants as far away as Turkey and Abu Dhabi. After many changes in ownership, it has been streamlined to a manageable 69 locations.

Through it all, Jose Cuervo was there.

El Torito has now begun to focus on its cuisine, but one look at the menu–which we’ll do shortly–tells you that that’s not the only thing management is emphasizing.

In a relationship that the Animal Planet calls symbiotic–like the small fish feeding on scraps from a shark’s jaws, or birds picking the bugs off a hippo’s butt–Cuervo has benefited nicely over the years by partnering with major restaurant chains all over the US. They have single-handedly influenced thousands of tequila drinkers.

Where other tequila houses like El Tesoro de Don Felipe and Cazadores visit bars and restaurants around the country, Cuervo’s version of a grass roots campaign is a little bit different.

 

 

The Good Ol’ Days

In Part I, I promised a glimpse at Cuervo’s La Rojeña distillery, but first, more about me….

LaRojena1I had just moved to New Mexico from Southern California. My first job was in Customer Service with one of the largest paper, food, and chemical distributors in the state. Starting at the bottom, I figured the quickest way to becoming a darling of the company–a route salesman–was getting to know the old dogs.

Before my arrival to this company, one other product that it sold was liquor. When the family-owned operation sold out, half the sales force morphed into one of the two major liquor distributors in New Mexico. Those that stayed with the food and chemical division longed for the good ol’ days.

At one of the quarterly meetings’ mandatory dinners, 25 raucous salesmen (and a few of us from Customer Service) ran up a $3000 bar bill on the company’s credit card! During a round of Cuervo Gold shots is where I heard it first.

“This reminds me of the time at Jose Cuervo,” said one salesman.

“What a party that was!” agreed another.

Simultaneously, they described the beauty of the facilities, the grounds, and the tequila at Jose Cuervo’s La Rojeña distillery.

7079The hospitality at these Cuervo “education” junkets is legendary. Mariachis, food, and all the tequila you can drink. Not to mention a generous spiff to each salesman for every caseload sold, or every new account acquired.

“We used to send two delivery trucks a week to every territory,” lamented another salesman. “One with food, and the other full of booze!”

Ah, the good ol’ days!

Many tequila distilleries graciously open their doors to tequila aficionados. CorralejoLa Cofradia (Casa Noble), and Herradura’s Tequila Express, a train that takes turistas to their distillery, to name just a few. But no one does it better–or did it first–than Jose Cuervo.

From Applebee’s (The Perfect Margarita made with 1800), to here in Albuquerque, New Mexico with the Garduños chain of Mexican restaurants (with locations in Arizona and Las Vegas, too), to the popular El Torito. Wherever you live, in every major or minor market in America, there is sure to be a restaurant chain–or liquor supplier to that restaurant chain–that has fallen under the spell of La Rojeña.

 

The Secret to Jose Cuervo’s Success

jose cuervo, brandsTo understand how deeply Jose Cuervo is entrenched in El Torito’s menu, you have to be aware of the “rules of engagement.” It’s called “the three tier system,” and it’s the key to the final segment of this series, so heads-up!

In order for a tequila producer–or any spirits producer, for that matter–to get his product to the US, he has to use an importer (Tier One). This importer is in charge of spreading the word to as many spirits distributors–state and national–as possible (Tier Two). Once distribution is secured, their sales forces are responsible for getting the product to their consumers–every bar and restaurant they service (Tier Three).

Here’s the secret to Jose Cuervo’s success…

Like a computer virus, Cuervo can be found everywhere along these three tiers. At one time or another, every importer, distributor, and chain of bars or restaurants has been invited to enjoy the pleasures of tequila at La Rojeña.

Unfortunately, unlike wines, spirits, by US law, cannot be sold directly to the end user (you and me) by the producer. Let’s drown our sorrows over that one, shall we…?

 

El Torito–Auténtico!

On every table is a simple, hand-sized brown three ring binder. A painting of a jimador harvesting a blue agave–that looks coincidentally like a well-known photo taken at one of the Cuervo agave fields–shares the cover with the El Torito logo, a lonely bull, and the word auténtico. Desserts and drinks in one little package, all made with Jose Cuervo products.

There’s the classic Cadillac Margarita with a side of Grand Marnier. You can order this signature drink in different colors like Green (Midori Melon), Pink (cranberry juice), and Red (Rémy Red).

The Blue Mesa Margarita with 1800 and Blue Curacao. The Real Mex Margarita with Tradicional. And a series of popular tequinis with names like Buenas Noches and Agave Tequini.

To be fair, El Torito serves other very respectable blanco, reposado and añejo tequilas like…

Sauza Tres GeneracionesDon EduardoChinacoCorralejoHerraduraCazadores…and Quita Penas. Along with the Cuervo standard bearers, Gran CentenarioReserva de La Familia, and even Don Julio (suspiciously missing from Cuervo’s Taberna del Tequila menu in the previous segment).

You can even wash down your dinner, drinks and dessert with a cup of Mexican coffee made with Tradicional and Kahlúa.

Each of the signature drinks is very reasonably priced from just over $5 to a bit under $7. Shots range from $5.25 to $10.50.

Although their menu tries to give equal time to other tequilas, when you check the bar, there’s no mistaking who’s on display…

Jose Cuervo!

In the final segment, I’ll take a look at where the marketing future of Jose Cuervo is headed. Here’s a hint…

You’ll be surprised to learn that it has nothing to do with tequila! Instead, it’s slick, high-tech, and chances are good that you already own one. And with it, Cuervo conquers the mystery of the missing “fourth tier.”

 

logo1By Mike Morales, Co-Organizer
New Mexico International Tequila Experience™
Southwest Tequila Association

New Mexico International Tequila Experience™

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Don Julio Anejo Tequila Review

Mike Morales and Alex Perez taste and discuss Don Julio Anejo Tequila, nominating it for the 2014 Brands of Promise Awards.

don julio, tequila, anejo

About Don Julio Gonzalez

The life of Don Julio González was defined, above all else, by passion. It was this passion that inspired his creation of the world’s first luxury tequila.

From a young age, Don Julio González saw a unique opportunity in the production of tequila. With nothing but his own passion for the endeavor, he went to a powerful local businessman and requested a loan to pursue his vision. Seeing exceptional drive and confidence in the young man, the businessman granted him a loan to found his first distillery.

In his mission to revolutionize tequila from the ground up, Don Julio González chose quality over quantity at every turn. He painstakingly planted each agave further apart, giving them more room to grow. He allowed each individual plant to grow to full maturity before harvesting. He would select only the most succulent portions of the pina, before slow roasting them for unprecendented 72-hour cycles. The resulting tequila was smoother, richer, and of truly uncompromising quality.

When the time came to bottle his creation, he broke with generations of tradition. Tequila bottles had always been tall, and were usually hidden beneath the table. Don Julio González envisioned a spirit worthy of proud display on the table, and designed a shorter bottle so his guests could still see one
another across the table.

As word of his tequila spread and his success grew, Don Julio González stayed loyal to the community that had made his labor of love a phenomenon. Staying in his native Jalisco, he established a distillery where generations to come would follow his passion for quality and craftmanship, the passion of a man who revolutionized an industry forever.

 

About Don Julio Anejo

Barrel aged in smaller batches for eighteen months in American white-oak barrels,
Tequila Don Julio Añejo is a testament to the craft of making
a superior tasting, aged tequila.
Rich, distinctive and wonderfully complex, its flavor strikes the perfect balance between agave, wood and hints of vanilla. Best experienced neat in a snifter or simply on the rocks.

Color:Nose:Taste:Finish:
Light amberA fresh blend of lime, grapefruit and mandarin citrus aromas with a rich touch of caramel.Full-bodied and complex with expressions of cooked agave, wild honey and oak-infused butterscotch.Bright and lightly spiced finish with the essence of wild honey.

 

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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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Cool Off with the Don Julio Cucumber Mint Margarita

prod_blancoDon Julio Cucumber Mint Margarita

While tequila may be Mexico’s national spirit, we’re thrilled to see its popularity recently skyrocket in the United States.  From Margaritas and Bloody Marias to Palomas and Sunrises, tequila cocktails are being served up with regularity at thousands of bars, restaurants and homes across the country.

In honor of National Tequila Day on July 24th, Don Julio recommends celebrating this Mexican elixir with a refreshing (and spicy!) twist on the classic Margarita.

CucumberMintMargarita

Cucumber Mint Margarita
Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chopped cucumber, peeled and seeded
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup key lime juice
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/3 cup Don Julio Tequila Blanco
2 tablespoons orange liqueur
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco brand Original Red Sauce
6 ice cubes

Garnish:

Salt to rim glasses
2 cucumber slices

Preparation:

Blend ingredients in a blender for one minute. Divide between two 6-ounce salt-rimmed glasses. Garnish each glass with a cucumber slice.

About Tequila Don Julio Blanco:

Tequila Don Julio Blanco is the base from which all of our other variants are derived. Commonly referred to as “silver” tequila, its crisp agave flavor and hints of citrus make it an essential component to a variety of innovative drinks including margaritas. It can also be enjoyed neat or on the rocks.

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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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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!!