Open Bar with Andres Garcia of Embajador

Join us for Open Bar #6 with Embajador Tequila on Monday!

Embajadores-3, embajador, tequila, andres garciaMonday evening at 7pm Central, Andres Garcia will be joining Mike Morales and Lisa Pietsch for a chat about Embajador Tequila.  Andres has been hard at work at some recent big shows, just returned from a visit to Mexico to take the famed class from Maestra Ana Maria Romero Mena, and he’s also been building his team and expanding the number of markets in which his family’s tequila is available.

Join us as we discuss these and other topics with him on our weekly Open Bar show on Blab.im.

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About The Family

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 brands consistency and quality principles. We produce Embajador using only 100% Blue Weber Agave that is grown on our estate located in Atotonilco in the highlands
(Los Altos) of Jalisco, Mexico. This region in the valley of the Highlands of Jalisco is distinctive with its nutrient rich soil, along with a natural spring water aquifer that runs through our land, which is the essence that gives Embajador its distinguished characteristics.

We will not sacrifice the honored value of our methods or the superiority of our Agaves for mass production. We will not cut corners to meet new demand and boost the bottom lines. Our handcrafted methodology and patience is honored and fully committed to producing superior quality Tequila.

Our goal is to craft a brand that will always be consistent in aroma, taste and quality. We want Embajador Tequila to be here for generations to come, some 200+ years. The dedicated commitment to quality measures at each step of the production of Embajador is one that will define our core strategic sales and marketing goals. We will establish Embajador for steady growth in the high-end premium category over the next 3, 5 and 10 years.

This is not a sprint race for us, but more of a marathon and we are taking the proper steps to condition ourselves to achieve a strong successful presence in the US and Global market within the High-End Premium Tequila Category.  

After all, we are the Embajador (Ambassador) of Mexico.

 

What is Blab?

[Tweet “Join @TequilaAficion, @timberelk & @lisapietsch for Open Bar on @blab every Monday at 7pm CT”]

Blab is a livestreaming platform that enables a public video chat among four participants at a time. If you are familiar with the likes of Periscope, Meerkat and Google Hangouts, it basically combines all three. 

Viewers come in to watch the livestream and they can participate by leaving comments on the left hand side of the desktop application or below on the mobile version. 

If one of the four seats is open, a viewer can easily request to join and it’s up to the host to accept them into the livestream.

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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!

Corner Restaurant Fuels the Fire of Austin’s Craft Tequila Scene

[In mid-February 2016, at the suggestion of Andres Garcia, Regional Sales Manager of award winning Embajador tequila, Tequila Aficionado Media met with Brian Jaymont, General Manager of the Corner Restaurant, inside the JW Marriott in the heart of Austin, Texas.

We were first exposed to the fine hospitality of the JW Marriott on our second visit to the Texas Nightclub & Bar Alliance Convention.  The JW Marriott will again be the host hotel for the 2016 edition of TBNA, with the tasting event taking place at the famed Brazos Hall.]

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Local Flavor at Corner Restaurant

“Their braised short rib street tacos are to die for!” exclaimed Andres Garcia of Embajador tequila.

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Biting into the first of my three tacos, I wholeheartedly agreed.

Boasting a menu devised by celebrated Executive Chef Jennifer Etzkin, Corner’s fare is billed as “modern Texas cuisine served with an urban flair.”

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Featuring regional ingredients, coupled with stunning views and an inviting atmosphere, our lunch couldn’t have been better paired than with two Glencairn glasses of Embajador Platinum blanco.

In The Beginning…

20160211_140943Brian Jaymont, General Manager of Corner Restaurant, is a true tequila aficionado and student of agave spirits.  He is also well-versed in Texas micro-brewed beers, wines, whiskies and bourbons.

Along with the stellar tequila selection of the Corner, Brian’s also been responsible for the enviable tequila array at the JW Marriott’s San Antonio property, the Hill Country Resort & Spa’s Cibolo Moon tequila bar.

Below, Brian discusses how his passion for tequila and agave spirits began and eventually led him to do more in-depth research.  He also reveals how he’s been able to infuse that passion into the properties he’s worked in.

To date, Cibolo Moon is the only bar in Texas that is certified by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT) with a “Distintivo T.”  The entire staff has undergone thorough training, tasting and testing to achieve this certification.

Brian beams with pride as he describes the enthusiasm with which the entire staff at the JW Marriott’s Hill Country Resort & Spa’s Cibolo Moon embraced their Distintivo T training.

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At Brian’s insistence, plans are in the works for the staff at Corner Restaurant to also be “T” certified.

During his tenure, Jaymont was also involved in the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa’s famed Salúd tequila bar.

 Who Has the Best Toys?

Here, Jaymont describes the dynamics of Austin’s craft beverage scene and how he, the Corner Restaurant and Marriott are fueling the fire.

Geeking Out With Brian Jaymont

Brian shares his routine before choosing a new tequila and admits to personally using the NOM List as a way to find other tequilas to try.

What Bourbon, Wine and Tequila Have In Common

Brian asserts that there are hidden similarities to tequila that both bourbon and wine share.

A Blanco Guy

Brian Jaymont explains his personal preference for unaged, blanco tequilas.

Move Over, Bourbon!

Jaymont dissects the steady transformation of Austin’s bourbon-centric palates that are now drawn to Texas-based aged tequilas.

Micro-Local Focus

Brian defines Marriott’s “micro-local” focus highlighting Texas craft beers, wines, spirits, including tequilas.

The Corner proudly pours Austin-based tequilas, Embajador, Dulce Vida, Tequila 512, and more to come.

Glencairn–The Preferred Glass

Brian reveals why he chose Glencairn glasses to serve Corner’s tequilas.  No lime or salt needed–ever!

From Education to Enjoyment

How General Manager, Brian Jaymont motivates his staff to make sure the customer has a pleasant experience with the tequila’s available at the Corner Restaurant.

Supporting Local Businesses

Supporting Austin’s local micro-brewers, distillers, and brand owners to give the visiting tourist a memorable experience, and to keep Austinites coming back for more.

It’s refreshing to find a global hotel chain like the Marriott offer its guests a more local approach to their dining and drinking experience.

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Deciding where to spend your next Taco–or Tequila–Tuesday should be a cinch!

[Tweet “Spend your next #Tequila Tuesday @JWMarriottATX Corner Bar “]

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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!

The BIG Business of Kosher Tequila, Part III

[An urgent text message about Kosher tequila from an agave beverage manager at a thriving new bar in New York City, and the resulting questions raised from research into this misunderstood market from all points–tequila and mezcal brand owners, consumers, and rabbinical representatives of the Jewish faith–prompted me to finally discuss the positive, often flawed, and vastly under served kosher tequila and mezcal segments of the market.]

Still confused about the Kosher dietary laws and how it could affect your favorite agave spirits?  Then, check out Part 1.

Interested to learn more about how these agave spirits brands came to be certified kosher?  See Part 2.

If you’re a…

Tequila and Mezcal Consumer–

Arm yourself.

Both KMD and KA-Kosher supply lists of kosher certified alcoholic beverages.  As we mentioned in Part 1, so does the Chicago Rabbinical Council.  In each instance, be aware that when it comes to tequilas and mezcals…

All Lists Are Flawed!

kosher tequilaUnlike the CRT’s NOM Lists that are updated roughly each month, these kosher lists seemed not to have been touched in years.  And of the brands that were listed, more often than not, were now, sadly, extinct.

Upon closer examination of the KA-Kosher list, many of the certified tequilas are brands distributed in Mexico only.  The American kosher consumer is left out in cold (unless you’re on vacation in Mexico during the holidays!).

In another instance, tequila Embajador is listed as kosher.  When contacted, neither the importer nor the owners of the distillery was aware that the brand was certified.  When they contacted KA-Kosher about the discrepancy, a rabbinical coordinator admitted that Embajador’s certification had lapsed, likely years ago, but whose name still appeared on the list.

In KMD’s case, a quick search reveals that many of the popular global brands listed are suspect and known to process tequilas with diffusers.

In light of new industrial processes like diffusers and their use of sulfuric acid in catalyzed hydrolysis of agave, how can these tequilas be kosher–or even organic–for that matter?

We recently reached out to the cRc and confirmed in a phone conversation with a Rabbinical Coordinator that (at press time) it is taking steps to update its list of kosher tequilas, and, hopefully, adding mezcals.

In the meantime…

How Do I Tell If The Tequila Or Mezcal I Purchase

Is Kosher?

Glad you asked.  First, let’s dispel a few “kosher myths.”

Aren’t All Blanco Tequilas Kosher?

At one time, that was the general point of view by kashut authorities, until the use of glycerin became widely known as an approved additive in the tequila normas.

Here is an article on the OU’s (Union of Orthodox Rabbis) stance on “blenders” such as glycerin in the case of alcoholic beverages.

A Word About Barrels

Another rumor going around is that aged tequilas aren’t considered kosher.

Dulce_VidaNot so when you consider that one of the most popular kosher brewers on the planet, Shmaltz Brewing Company, ages all their lines, including their recent 2015 holiday offering,  Chanukah in Kentucky, in used Jim Beam and Heaven Hill barrels.

Dulce Vida’s 5 year Extra Añejo is also kosher, aged in used red wine barrels from Napa Valley.  (And, yes, there are kosher wineries in Napa.  Google it!)

Richard Sorenson, founder of Dulce Vida writes, “The barrels are Rombauer Merlot and Cabernet barrels.  They are gorgeous barrels and all have the Rombauer logo emblazoned in the wood.”

Without going into too much detail, in a phone conversation with the Rabbinical Coordinator for the cRc, he informed that if a particular barrel was first used to house kosher wine, then generally speaking, that barrel could be used in aging spirits.  He also mentioned that there was a way to kosher-ize (referred to as koshered) barrels for aging wines and spirits.

Research shows that some cooking utensils can be boiled or blowtorched to be spiritually cleansed.

In a follow up email with this cRc Rabbinical Coordinator, he wrote:  “Kosherizing a barrel which was used to store wine is a complicated and detailed process.  One method involves thoroughly cleaning the barrel, followed by a series of fresh water rinsings.”

The rabbi cautions, however, that, “Due to the complex nature of this process, it should only be undertaken by a recognized and reputable kosher agency.”

It goes without saying that each instance should be judged by that kosher agency on a case-by-case, or barrel-by-barrel, basis to ensure proper koshered rules were followed.

To learn more about the beliefs behind kosher wines, click here.

Isn’t Pareve Enough?

pareve-370x260-300x212This one’s tricky.

A food or drink item labeled pareve means that it can be used together with either a dairy product or a meat product and will not lead to the mixing of meat and dairy as per Jewish dietary instructions.  If you’ve perused the aforementioned lists above, you’ll see that term used after each brand.

Keep in mind that all agave spirits are fermented products.  Depending on the distillery’s fermentation process, they could be using enzymes and yeast accelerators that could come from animal sources that are prohibited by the Jewish dietary laws, and hense, not pareve.

To investigate pareve further, click here.

So, circling back to your original question–

Kosher Tequila, Or Not Kosher Tequila? 

Given the unreliability of the existing kosher lists in circulation, and the lack of transparency on behalf of multinational corporations that mass produce tequila and mezcal, proceed like any other tequila aficionado and–

Check The Label!

Similar to NOM numbers, and organically certified products, search for the seal of a trusted and well-known kosher certifying agency.  Familiarize yourself with their seals and logos shown in Part 1.

[Tweet “#Kosher tequila, or NOT kosher tequila? Check the label!”]

Any reputable agave spirit brand that claims to be kosher will proudly display the kosher seal they qualified for–and paid for the privilege of using–somewhere on the bottle or label.

Bottom line…

Santera_K

If it’s not there, it ain’t kosher.

***

In Part 4, discover why certain tequila and mezcal brands decided to “go Kosher.”

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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!

The BIG Business of Kosher Tequila, Part I

[An urgent text message about Kosher tequilas from an agave beverage manager at a thriving new bar in New York City, and the resulting questions raised from research into this misunderstood market from all points–tequila and mezcal brand owners, consumers, and rabbinical representatives of the Jewish faith–prompted me to finally discuss the positive, often flawed, and vastly under served kosher tequila and mezcal segments of the market.]

A Rant on Kosher Tequila…

For years, anyone who’s ever searched for a current list of kosher tequilas has no doubt been directed to the website of the largest regional Jewish Orthodox organization in North America, the Chicago Rabbinical Council (cRc).

Those same persons were tragically disheartened by the woefully meager list of kosher tequilas–and these days–unmentioned mezcals.  And of the brands that were listed, more often than not, were now, sadly, extinct.

This old, outdated, and unreliable list is not only supposed to be a guide to fully enjoy and appreciate the Jewish holidays and to help “keep kosher” year round, but it also serves Muslims, Seventh Day Adventists, Vegetarians, Vegans and even people who are lactose or glucose intolerant.

So…

What Exactly Is Kosher, Anyway?

kosher_def-filtered

For us gentiles (non-Jews), Kashrut is the set of Jewish religious dietary laws.  Food that may be consumed according to halakha (Jewish law) is deemed kosher meaning fit, and in this case, fit for eating or drinking.

In every case, approved products are given a hechsher, a rabbinical seal of approval, by a trusted and reputable kosher certifying agency that signifies the food or drink conforms to Jewish law.

Here’s a helpful Kosher glossary of terms.

quely-obtains-the-kosher-certificationHistorically, the practice of marking food as kashrut dates back as far as the Byzantine period (6th century CE) where Jews of a particular region in Israel stamped their bread dough with impressions of the Jewish Temple Menorah in order for consumers to verify its kashrut.

In 1911, soap manufacturer, Procter & Gamble became the first company to advertise a new product, Crisco, as kosher.  Over the next twenty years, companies with household names like Lender’s Bagels, Maxwell House, and Manischewitz grew the kosher market.  And who can forget that famous slogan for Hebrew National hotdogs?–“We answer to a Higher Authority.”

Decades later, kosher has come to symbolize both quality and value.  It has also become a very lucrative market according Menachem Lubinsky, founder of the annual two-day Kosherfest trade fair.  As of 2015, he estimates there are as many as 14 million kosher consumers that generate $40 billion in sales of kosher products in the US alone.

[Tweet “14 MM #kosher consumers=$40 BB in sales of kosher products in the US in 2015 “]

Other sources estimate that over $150 billion of kosher-certified products are consumed every year in the US.

Kosher Certifying Agencies

A kosher certification agency is an organization that bestows a hechsher to ingredients, packaged foods, beverages, and certain materials, as well as food-service providers and facilities in which kosher food is prepared or served.  This certification verifies that the ingredients, production methods, and/or food-service processes and utensils complies with the standards of kashrut.

To be certified requires periodic onsite visits, sometimes unannounced, by mashgichim (rabbinic field representatives) in order to verify ongoing compliance.

Today, the largest kosher certification agencies in the United States, known as the “Big Five,” certify more than 80 percent of the kosher food sold domestically.  These five agencies are: the OU, OK, Kof-K, Star-K, and cRc

most_commonK

Other respected kosher certifying agencies around the globe include:

EarthKosher based in Colorado, the logo of both the Johannesburg/Cape Town Beth Din used in South Africa, MK headquartered in Montreal, Canada, and The Kashrut Authority in Sydney, Australia.  Operating across six continents including the United Kingdom, KLBD, based in London, is the Kashrut Division of the London Beth Din.

By far, the greatest number of agencies seems to be in the USA.

Kashrus Magazine publishes a bi-annual guide to almost all kosher certifying agencies worldwide.  As with the tequila NOM lists, the number of agencies, just like the number of tequila brands and distilleries, fluctuates from year to year.  At press time, this number is between 1,151 to 1,253.

When In Mexico…

In Mexico and throughout Latin America, however, KA-Kosher  and Kosher Maguen David (KMD) rule the roost when it comes to certifying products as kosher.

KA Kosher, Kosher

As per KA-Kosher’s Facebook page:

“El sello KA KOSHER es el único en México aprobado por el Tribunal Rabínico de Israel.  Es el logo de la Comunidad Ashkenazí, el único en Latinoamérica aprobado por el Alto Tribunal Rabínico de Israel.  Bajo su sello se encuentran marcas como Nestlé, JUMEX, Del Monte, LALA y casi 500 empresas más.”

(“The KA-KOSHER seal is the only one in Mexico approved by the Rabbinical Tribunal of Israel [Chief Rabbinate Council of Israel].  It is the logo of the Ashkenazi community, the only one in Latin America approved by the High Rabbinical Tribunal of Israel [again, Chief Rabbinate Council of Israel].  Beneath its seal are such brands as Nestlé, JUMEX, Del Monte, LALA and almost 500 more companies.”)

KMD, kosher

KMD’s current website makes even bolder claims such as “Es la empresa líder en certificación kosher en Latinoamérica” (“The leading company in kosher certification in Latin America.”).

It also cites statistics that Mexico is the fourth largest kosher market behind Israel, the United States, and France, and that sales of kosher products, presumably in these countries, exceeds non-kosher sales by 20 percent.  KMD also states that 80 percent of kosher sales are to non-Jewish consumers.

KMD, stems from the Sephardic community of Jews and is known to follow the strictest codes and standards of kashrut, referred to as Mehadrin.

 Decisions, Decisions…

states, jewish

Similar to organic certifying agencies, having your tequila or mezcal brand approved as kosher requires that you hire one of these kosher certifying agencies.  Like buying a car, you don’t necessarily need to purchase one from a local dealership.

You can go anywhere in the world, but with so many certifying agencies and what seems like varying degrees of inspection, can you feel confident about purchasing their services?

Who Do You Trust?

If you’re a tequila or mezcal brand owner considering certification, we’ll offer some tips and steps you can take in Part 2.

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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!

Tequila Gets Fruity: Flavors & Infusions

From the Vault Aug 12, 2004

margarita, vault

Lime Shot Bottle ImageMexico makers want to add fruit to firewater in bid to expand market.

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s tequila industry, in pursuit of younger customers, plans to follow other alcohol producers by offering the centuries-old firewater tinged with citrus flavors.

“Young people are drinking flavored products,” said Miguel Aguilar Romo, Mexico’s director for standards at the economy ministry. “We have vodka, we have rum, we have flavored beer. We can’t be left out of this global trend.”

Romo’s office, which sets the rules tequila makers must follow, gave the go-ahead this month to allow fruity tequila starting in January 2004.

“We are not pretending to change our drink — just looking to branch out with new products,” said Eduardo Orendain, head of the National Tequila Industry Chamber, which groups producers.

The Mexican government regulates the production of tequila, which — like champagne and cognac — has the so-called “guarantee of origin,” meaning it can only be made in certain regions.

Tequila is distilled from the pineapple-shaped core of the blue agave cactus in five Mexican states: Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit, Tamaulipas and Jalisco, home of the town called Tequila and the leading state producer.

Centuries of tradition

diva tequila, silver, blanco, citrus, penascoProduction methods have changed little since the 17th century. The drink is deeply embedded in Mexico’s culture with an image some fear fruit-flavored tequila could tarnish.

“I have been drinking tequila for more than 45 years and I don’t think it should be demeaned,” said Feliciano Chavez, a businessman from Zapopan in Jalisco state. “Tequila is pure. That’s why it doesn’t cause hangovers. I think new flavors will do some damage. It’s pure marketing.”

Tequila historian Jose Maria Muria, president of Colegio de Jalisco and an avid drinker of straight tequila — the style preferred by most Mexicans — says flavors are no big deal.

“If we don’t want to tamper with our tequila, then maybe we should prohibit margaritas or drinking tequila mixed with soda,” Muria said.

The Mexican tequila industry has its sights on 20-somethings in the United States. Fruit-flavored tequila will contain the same percentage of alcohol as original tequila, but for many will be less harsh on the taste buds.

The United States is already the main export market for tequila. Mexico last year exported 63 percent of the 141 million liters of tequila produced. More than 80 percent of it went to the United States.

Head start

lampleft_5_bBut the two largest sellers of traditional tequila in the United States — Jose Cuervo and Sauza — said they do not plan to come out with fruit-flavored tequila.

“We are not interested in any tequila with flavors or fruits,” said Alejandra Castillo, a Mexico City spokeswoman for Jose Cuervo which sold about 29 million liters in the United States in 2002, making it the country’s most popular tequila.

“There are no plans, that we’re aware of, to introduce anything like this in the United States,” said Jack Shea, a spokesman for Sauza, which ranked second in U.S. sales last year with about 9 million liters.

One U.S. entrepreneur, David McQueen, has a head start on Mexican producers. He has sold flavored tequila since 2001.

McQueen, the CEO of Las Vegas-based Tukys Tequila, said he holds U.S. patents on five types of flavored tequila: mandarin-orange, watermelon, lime, kiwi-strawberry and coffee.

McQueen said the Mexican and U.S. government allow him to ship U.S.-made fruit flavors to Jalisco, where they are mixed with tequila and returned for sale in the United States.

Romo questioned the legal status of that tequila but McQueen said he has broken no rules.

“It’s legal. It’s not under the table,” McQueen said. “We’ve never had a problem calling it tequila.”

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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!

Embajador Proclaimed Tequila Producer of the Year!

Bestowed Gold and Silver Awards at the First Annual Bar Business Spirits Competition

embajador, tequila, producer of the year, bar business magazineFor Immediate Release!

September 9, 2015, Austin, TX:  On August 16, 2015, at the First Annual Bar Biz Spirits Competition held during the Texas Bar & Nightclub Alliance Convention, Embajador Tequila was named Tequila Producer of the Year, capturing a gold medal for Embajador Premium Reposado, and garnering a silver medal for Embajador Supreme Añejo.

“We are thrilled, excited and proud to be recognized as ‘Tequila Producer of the Year’ by BarBiz Magazine,” beamed Andres Garcia, Regional Sales Manager and family member of Embajador.  “Our commitment as brand owners to our consumers, the industry and ourselves is that we will not cut corners or change how we produce Embajador Tequila.”

Reiterating the family’s mission of building a legacy, Garcia added, “Our goal is to have this same award winning tequila flavor profile and aroma for generations to come.”

The First Annual Bar Biz Spirits Competition was organized by the editorial and publishing staff of Bar Biz Magazine.  Almost 100 spirits and mixers were judged by an expert panel of trade buyers, rating the liquid by its category and actual retail price.
Within these criteria, Embajador Premium Reposado seized a gold medal while Embajador Supreme Añejo secured a silver prize.

“It is a privilege and an honor to have earned these medals,” declared Garcia.  “Quality over quantity has been our motto.  These awards symbolize what we as a family successfully accomplish–crafting quality tequila.”

 

Embajador is no stranger to brilliant accolades within the tequila category of the spirits industry.  In 2014 alone, it was voted gold and silver medallions at the famed Spirits of Mexico, as well as platinum, silver and bronze medals at the prestigious SIP Awards, both taking place in California.

The First Annual Bar Biz Spirits Competition followed a strict code for blind tastings.  The judges granted no awards to spirits that they themselves would not import, distribute, buy or sell in their own businesses and within the price categories.

“Thank you to BarBiz Magazine, and to all those involved for such amazing recognitions,” concluded Andres Gacia.

“We are striving to see Embajador Tequila reach national distribution so that we may all celebrate the arrival of the Ambassador!”

***

Add multi-award winning Embajador Tequila to your spirits portfolio, now! Contact Regional Sales Manager Andres Garcia at andres@embajadortequila.com, or call 469-216-0567.

 

embajador, tequila, producer of the year, bar business magazine

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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!

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!

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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!

Embajador Añejo Tequila Review | Steve Coomes

Embajador, Tequila, Supreme, Anejo, Review, Steve CoomesCompared to its siblings, Embajador Supreme Añejo is a big, big brother. 

Rested for 18 months—a full 10 months longer than its Premium Reposado—Supreme is a veritable post-grad student compared to its primary school brothers.

Yet, for all that age its color is surprisingly pale gold.  Not that color determines everything, but 18 months is a loooong sleep, a rest I assumed would yield a deeper amber cast.  (As I noted in my review of the Premium Reposado, used cooperage likely is the reason for its light color.) 

But don’t despair or stop reading now, patience has its rewards. Proceed apace.

The nose produces aromas of roasted agave, cherry and even a pleasantly sour orange curacao, which I dug.  Like Thanksgiving turkey, it’s fun just to sniff before inevitably giving into tasting.

Though not overly assertive like some añejos, the flavor is delicious, offering up abundant wood notes tempered by cocoa, ash, toasted oak, caramel, floral tones and honey. 

[Tweet “Compared to its siblings, Embajador Supreme Añejo is a big, big brother”]

Simultaneously sweet and vegetal upon entry, its texture becomes weighty at mid-palate and especially when moved around the mouth.  There’s briefly nougat-like density at midpalate that fades quickly to honey before skulking off to a slow and delicate finish. 

The exhale practically ignites notes of rose and lavender, providing insight into the wild yeast influencing its ferment.Embajador, Tequila, Supreme, Anejo, Review, Steve Coomes

Having now tasted its full line, it’s clear that Embajador wants its tequilas to finish fast.  Perhaps that bids drinkers back to the glass for more or leaves them searching for lingering, pleasant flavors?  I don’t know.  But none of the three offerings give much of a goodbye.

Such a rapid departure isn’t an insult, however, it’s just different. And to be fair, I’m also a bourbon drinker who loves a high-proof palate punch, which isn’t for everyone. 

As proven by the success of Avion tequilas, there’s an abundance of drinkers who enjoy light-bodied sippers, and this would certainly fit that profile.

Distiller’s note: Supreme is best enjoyed neat at 68 F.

Embajador Tequila Online

 

Tstephen coomes, steve coomes, Embajador, Tequila, Supreme, Anejo, Review, Steve Coomesequila Aficionado is proud to welcome rising star in tequila and travel journalism, Stephen Coomes, as a Contributing Writer and Reviewer.  His steady gigs include roles as contributing editor for Nation’s Restaurant News (the U.S. restaurant industry’s largest publication), restaurant critic and feature writer for Louisville magazine, feature writer for Edible Louisville and Seafood Business magazines, Kentucky travel and dining contributor for Southern Living, and dining blogger for Insider Louisville. He also writes marketing, PR, web copy and ghostwrites for numerous private clients.  You can visit Steve online atwww.stevecoomes.com.

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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!

Embajador Blanco Tequila Review | Steve Coomes

platinum_box_03_lampleft_b, embajador, platinum, blanco, silver, tequilaNote to all tequila distillers…

I love it when, along with your generous review bottles, you supply a story of how your tequila is made.

The makers of Embajador tequila did this by sending a simple folder with a few laser-printed pages that told a brief but helpful story about its goods.

And they are good.

(Some time after I typed my original tasting notes, I found it had a new and informative website.  Click here to enjoy that story.)

logo w border, embajador, platinum, blanco, silver, tequilaTranslated, Embajador, simply means ambassador, and it serves well in that role in welcoming the drinker into a solid sipping experience.

According to the distiller, half its agaves are baked the historic way, in a stone horno; the other half in a steam-heated autoclave.  According to the company, blending those techniques creates an array of aromas rather than just a few notes.

Once fermented, it’s twice distilled to preserve agave flavor and aroma.  After that, Platinum rests 40 days in stainless steel before bottling.  According to Embajador, laying low for that stretch develops balance and character, though it doesn’t specify how.

To be honest, I didn’t get an array of aromas when I poured some platinum, but the bloom butterscotch and cooked agave was substantial.  Both aromas lingered before giving way to a barely noticeable and appealing grassy note.

[Tweet “Embajador Tequila Blanco: substantial bloom butterscotch & cooked agave”]

The first sip of the blanco was slightly bracing, but refreshing, a delightful zip for an 80-proof spirit.  Its mayahuel, embajador, platinum, blanco, silver, tequilapeppery finish was an open invitation to sip again, so I did.

Subtly but pleasantly sweet, the mid-palate picked up some cotton candy interlaced with a bit of cinnamon.  The finish on that go-round left some traces of lemon and vegetal notes.

Exhaling produced some pleasant menthol notes followed by orange blossom.  Once emptied and dried, the glass gave off delicious aromas of roasted agave.

Platinum stood up nicely when mixed in different cocktails, but given my druthers, I prefer this one straight.

Its fresh, light flavor profile loses a bit of personality even when properly mixed, which is my wife’s preference.  The good news is we both enjoyed Platinum to our liking.

One last bit of info from Embajador…

Platinum is best consumed at 60 F, so put it in the fridge for an hour or so before drinking to cool it off.

 

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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!

Embajador Tequila Conquers California At Spirits of Mexico!

Captures gold and silver medals across contest categories…

Embajador, reposado, spirits of mexico, tequila, tequila aficionado, anejoSeptember 29, 2014, Del Mar, CAEmbajador Tequila Supreme añejo was awarded a gold medal from the longest running Mexican spirits competition in North America, the Spirits of Mexico.  A panel of judges with over 300 years of experience between them also voted both Embajador Tequila Platinum Blanco and Embajador Premium Reposado coveted silver medals.  The blind tasting took place on August 25-26, 2014 at the popular Hacienda Hotel in Old Town San Diego with the results announced yesterday during a special ceremony at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Hailing from the famed blue agave growing region of Atotonilco in the highlands of Jalisco, the family owned Embajador Tequila stunned the Spirits of Mexico competition by capturing the gold medal in the añejo category.

“We feel like sweepstakes winners!” exclaimed an overjoyed Andres Garcia, Embajador’s Regional Sales Manager.  “Taking the gold medal for our anejo at the Spirits of Mexico tasting competition is breathtaking.”

And just like their global brand ambassadors, Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan, one of the hottest mariachi troops in Mexico, Embajador tequila swaggered into the blanco and reposado segments of the competition and claimed twin silver honors.

“We are ecstatic over winning two silver medals for our reposado and blanco, too,” added Garcia.  “We’re extremely proud of the consistency in Embajador’s flavor profile and quality.”

The Embajador family is adamant about crafting superlative and distinguished tequila.

Embajador, reposado, spirits of mexico, tequila, tequila aficionado, platinum, blancoIt uses only its 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 captivating Embajador Premium Reposado is rested for a period of eight months in American and French Oak barrels, while the gold medal winning Supreme Añejo is aged with devotion for one year and six months in American and French Oak barrels.

This has been a year filled with accolades for the small batched Embajador tequila.  In April, it racked up a glimmering platinum title at the prestigious SIP Awards, while their other expressions garnered silver and bronze prizes, as well.

Embajador, reposado, spirits of mexico, tequila, tequila aficionado“Getting these esteemed awards is a symbol of our family’s determination, commitment and dedication to producing high caliber tequila,” said Garcia, “and that’s the better part of winning.”

Entering tasting competitions and gaining recognition for accumulating awards is only part of Embajador’s strategy to grow the brand.

“Acquiring the gold and silver medals provides us and our distributor sales team with a tequila that we can be proud to stand behind and be assured it’s top-notch juice,” explained Garcia.

“These trophies are great sales and marketing tools that give us the opportunity to present Embajador to any retail buyer and be confident that it will add value to their premium tequila shelf selection,” he described.

“We plan on celebrating these awards with a big ‘Thank You’ to all the people behind the scenes that made Embajador Tequila what it is today,” continued Andres.  “We value their hard work, long hours and integrity.”SOM-logo

Gratefully, he added, “Thank you Spirits of Mexico for celebrating and acknowledging this noble spirit.”

Not accustomed to sitting on their laurels, Andres Garcia admitted, “We plan on commemorating this triumph by popping a few bottles of Embajador Tequila.  Salúd!”

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

 

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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!