July 8, 2022
Here is something I learned recently: nearly 80% of the tequila brands sold in the U.S. have additives, things to add sweetening or alter coloring or change up the natural taste. I mean, I knew that additives like caramel for example have been used for, well, ever (or a long time) to change up certain aspects of whiskey or what-have-you, but for some reason never thought this extended in general to tequila. I mean, obviously (by taste alone) you can tell that chemicals are in certain boozes, including tequilas. But just didn’t realize the reach. Until recently, about the same time I was lucky enough to have a little DE-NADA tequila show up in the mail (lucky me!). A newer brand to me, DE-NADA tequilas are confirmed additive free – which means taste, coloring, everything, is coming from the natural ingredients in the tequilas, and the time-honored processes used to make real tequila. Neat! They make both blanco and reposado tequilas (both at a fifth-generation tequila distillery in Jalisco), and while the blanco is a treat – smooth and bright on the tongue, with some fruit notes, peach, grapefruit, and some herbal notes, anise, mint, a hint of pepper at the finish – when I was craving a Rosita, I went with the reposado.
The Rosita (you probably know this, being in the know, but just in case), is a relation in a way to the Negroni. Not, to me, a sibling, but at least a cousin. As well as a cousin to various other drinks served over ice that have spirit + vermouth + something else. The something else here is Campari, and hence the Negroni connection. Oh, though, there are both sweet and dry vermouths – that makes it a cousin only. And also extra bitters (which maybe means, second cousin). But it has a little of that memorable Campari-sweet-bitter-ness (which I love, so much), even though there is less here, allowing the tequila to shine. I feel to stand up to a party properly with the Campari and vermouths, that slightly deeper reposado is needed – and the DE-NADA Reposado shines in the drink. It’s, like the bianco, smooth, very smooth, but the flavor leans nuttier, with almonds and vanilla (okay, a bean, but nut-like), mingling with toasted oak and caramel, roasted agave, and hints of cinnamon, mellowing out buttery at the finish. Yummy! And goes really well with the vermouth, and the bitter-ing undertones. The Campari, too, which might seem an odd pairing at first, but trust me, the end result is lovely summer drink to savor.
1-1/2 ounce DE-NADA Reposado tequila
1/2 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
Dash Angostura bitters
Orange twist, for garnish
1. Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything, except the ice cubes! Stir well.
2. Add some ice cubes – about halfway – to an Old Fashioned or comparable glass. Strain the mix from Step one over the cubes and into the glass. Garnish with the orange twist.
July 1, 2016
This refreshing relative of the Diablo cocktail is sure to become a summertime favorite, whether you’re wearing your 10-gallon hat and chaps (and maybe little else – it is summer after all, and very sweltering) or normal attire. It uses one of the new Stolen Fruit cocktail mixers, which I surely hope are available in your town (if not, complain to the mayor). Not a “cocktail mixer” in the yucky, pre-made un-natural way, but instead, grape-based, and more just a mixer in really-good-thing-you-add-to-booze way. What happens is, they use the fresh-pressed juice from green grapes (which is called verjus, if you’re feeling fancy), combined with other natural flavors, to make mystical (why not?) liquids, which can be added in with spirits and liqueurs and such to make cocktails and highballs and more, oh my, or just added to soda water or other juices to make fine non-boozy beverages.
So, I recently received a few to try out (I know – I’m lucky!), and made this very drink with the Hibiscus Grenache Stolen Fruit mixer, which is not only perhaps the most poetic (the word “hibiscus” is really poetic, me thinks), but which also boasts a berry, zingy, and tiny bit spicy flavor that to me screamed out tequila! Tequila! Tequila! As that’s another summer favorite around these parts, the combo felt right. And you know what? It was! Try the below, and make your summer not only more bubbly, but just plain better.
2 ounces Reposado tequila (I went with Corralejo Reposado, and it was great)
1-1/2 ounces Stolen Fruit Hibiscus Grenache
4 ounces ginger beer (I used Q ginger beer, and it spiced right)
Lime wedge, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the tequila and the stolen fruit. Shake well.
2. Fill a highball glass (preferably one shaped like a boot) three-quarters up with ice cubes. Strain the mix from step 1 into the glass.
3. Top with the ginger beer. Stir well. Garnish with that lime.
November 16, 2012
Tequila is sometimes given the seasonal shaft. Folks can tend to think of it (except those true tequila fanatics I suppose) only in the hotter months, and only in chilly Margaritas and the occasional other cold number. This means from, oh, October through late February in many areas tequila just doesn’t come to mind for cocktail and drink lovers. I myself may have fallen into this tequila trap a time or two. However, the other night I found myself both craving tequila and freezing (freezing in Seattle means the temperature is down to the mid-30s. Yeah, we’re wimps). “So,” I thought to myself, “what can I do to remedy the situation?” And what I did was come up with the below drink, which I’m calling the Saguaro Steamer:
The funny (both sad funny and just funny) part of it all is that tequila goes smashingly in a hot drink. Thinking about it, it just makes wonderful sense. Tequila tends to be smoky and the flavors mingle well with the steam and hot water. Amazingly well, really. But a little balance and tang and sweet were needed, and that’s where the other ingredients came into play. To add even more flavor and take the edges off, I used the new-ish Mariposa agave nectar liqueur, which mingles agave nectar and 100-percent agave tequila and premium vodka, and which has a floral smoky loveliness going on. Then I added some orange juice (another hot drink casualty that’s surprisingly good here) and topped it all off with the top hot drink topping, nutmeg. I strongly suggest this combo if you want to update your hot drink repertoire and give tequila its due year round.
The Saguaro Steamer
2 ounces Reposado tequila (I used Casa Noble and it was awesome. As it always is)
3/4 ounces Mariposa agave nectar liqueur
3/4 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
3 ounces pretty hot water (not boiling, but close)
Freshly grated nutmeg
1. Add the tequila, Mariposa, and orange juice to a double-walled Bodum glass or other heat-okay receptacle. Stir.
2. Carefully add the hot water to the mix. Stir again, carefully but thoroughly.
3. Grate a little nutmeg on the top. Make that “ahhh” sound you make when it’s cold out and you’ve just had something deliciously warm.