Agave Tequila Another Go: Tequila & Mezcal Fest Returns For Its Third Year

tequila fest

Raise a toast to Mexico’s much loved (and often misunderstood) liquid export as Tequila & Mezcal Fest makes a triumphant return on 17th and 18th September 2016 for a third consecutive year, and is the UK’s first ever and only festival dedicated exclusively to showcasing the very best bits of Mexico in what continues to be the greatest ever agave extravaganza.

The event is to take place in a brand new – and bigger – venue, setting up shop in the Boiler House at the iconic Truman Brewery, in East London’s vibrant Brick Lane, where you can soak in the ambiance, tastes, smells and music of colonial and modern Mexico.

Due to last year’s unprecedented success which saw just under 3000 enthusiasts descend upon the capital, the day will be broken up into two sessions, afternoon and evening, ensuring there’s enough agave love to go around.

Tequila Fest is delighted to announce Patron tequila as one of the main partners of the festival, Patrón Tequila will be returning to Tequila Fest in 2016 as a main sponsor, offering visitors the chance to try their traditionally handcrafted 100% Weber Blue Agave tequilas, experience the very latest in digital technology to transport them to the Highlands of Jalisco and learn about tequila production and the exclusive opportunity to buy and try the ‘Margarita of The Year 2016’, as the Rosa Picante makes its first guest appearance outside of Mexico and North America. This exciting collaboration is a must see for cocktail aficionados and Tequila imbibers across the country and not to be missed!

In addition, Fentimans are proud to be the official mixer sponsor for this year’s Tequila & Mezcal Fest. Proving itself to be the perfect accompaniment to Mexico’s most famous firewater, the brand will be two creating signature cocktails, one with Peloton de la Muerte Mezcal and the other with headlining spirit Patron.

Some of the UK’s finest brand ambassadors and bartenders will be back to hold seminars and masterclasses on the art of Mexican cocktail making, such as the classic Margarita. A line up of last year supporters and new brands have joined the party too, including Patron, Olmeca, Casco Viejo, Herradura, Ocho, Fortaleza, El Jolgorio Mezcal, Nuestra Soledad Mezcal, Mezcales de Leyenda, Herencia de Plata, Amores Mezcal giving visitors the chance to discover new favourites.

Food connoisseurs will be treated to a choice of some of the capital’s most celebrated and authentic Mexican restaurants, with Barrio Bars, Lupita, Camion, Cafe Pacifico, Condesa, DF/Mexico, and all pitching up to serve hungry and thirsty revelers.

And to prove that there’s more to Mexico the creative, cultural heritage of the country will be in full bloom with a mariachi band, folklore dancers, an Aztec ceremony performance, art exhibition by artist Honorio Robledo and a photographic exhibition dedicated to the agave process.

Born with one objective, Tequila and Mezcal Fest aims to educate consumers on how to drink and enjoy Mexico’s greatest export – there will be no salt and lime, slammers and definitely no tiny novelty sombreros.
Date: 17th & 18th September 2015

Session times:
Saturday Afternoon: from 12noon to 4:30pm
Saturday Evening: from 5pm to 9:30pm
Sunday Afternoon: from 11:30am to 4pm
Sunday evening from 4:30 to 9pm

Tickets:
Early bird £15 or £20 at the door

Place: The Boiler house at the Truman Brewery, Brick Lane

Tickets: http://www.tequilafest.co.uk/buy-now-london/use code ‘drinksenthusiast’ and receive a £5.00 discount!

Cinco de Mayo Celebrated Across the UK with Tequila Casco Viejo and El Ron Prohibido

El Ron Prohibido Poster

The annual Cinco de Mayo is upon us once again, and here at Emporia Brands, we’ve put together a series of events across the UK involving the award-winning Tequila Casco Viejo, and the unique El Ron Prohibido rum. Get ready for an action-packed 5th of May!

In Nottingham, Four Hundred Rabbits will be hosting a Tequila Masterclass with Samuel David Boulton from Emporia Brands at 3pm. Enjoy not only Casco Viejo, but also Don Agustin and Maracame, making it three superb brands from the famous Camarena Brothers! In the evening we’ll be partying the night away with live music from the awesome Blue Brazil providing amazing Samba & Bosa Nova Latin grooves, plus special Tequila Casco Viejo cocktails.

Emporio-Brands-Margarita-and-both-bottlesIf you’re in Manchester, Lust, Luck, Liquor and Burn will be the venue for a similar Casco Viejo masterclass, this time hosted by Tom Gedney-Higham of Emporia Brands from 2pm. In Leeds though, you’d need to head down to premier tequila bar Neon Cactus where you can find some Margarita Madness with Casco Viejo fresh fruit Margarita’s! Backroom are also hosting a Casco Viejo cocktail special, with your chance to win a tequila masterclass!

Cardiff is the home of our 2016 UK cocktail competition winner from earlier in the year, Alexander Taylor of 10 Feet Tall. His winning cocktail, Don Agustin’s Daisy, combines Casco Viejo Reposado with Amaretto, Gentian Wine, Yellow Bell Pepper and Citrus and will be on special for the duration of Cinco de Mayo.

Newcastle upon Tyne are also getting in on the action as Alvino’s are showing off the Mexican rum styles of El Ron Prohibido and Casco Viejo with some specially made cocktail serves, plus Popolo have for you a Casco Viejo Margarita ready and waiting for you!

If rum is your tipple, El Ron Prohibido can be found to be the go-to spirit at Riddles in Altrincham for a twist on an Old Fashioned, whilst Topolabamba in Glasgow are on hand to show off their Strawberry Daiquiri using this ‘forbidden’ Mexican brand.

Speaking of Scotland, Treacle in Edinburgh is the perfect venue to enjoy an El Ron Prohibido cocktail, whilst London offer to you the likes of Old Bengal Bar and Blessings Bar for their take on some Mexican cocktail classics!

If you fancy picking a bottle up yourself, you can purchase El Ron Prohibido at Astons of Manchester, The Dram Shop in Sheffield, John’s Wine and Spirits in Cornwall and Gerry’s in London. Similarly, Casco Viejo can also be found at Gerry’s as well as all Wine Rack stores across the UK.

Northern Restaurant & Bar Cocktail Competition Winner Announced with Tequila Casco Viejo

Alexander Taylor

The winner for Northern Restaurant & Bar’s annual cocktail competition, sponsored by Tequila Casco Viejo, has been announced and wins a once in a lifetime VIP visit to Arandas in Mexico.

Competitors had been asked to submit one unique drink, containing a minimum of 35 ml of either Tequila Casco Viejo Blanco or Reposado, and adding influence of the famous Camarena Brothers, the producers of the brand, as well as the history and heritage of Mexico itself.

The four finalists of Tim Ward of Alvino’s in Newcastle, Alexander Taylor of 10 Feet Tall, Cardiff, Steve Lawson of MASH Steak in London and Ciaran Russell of The Tippling House, Aberdeen were invited to the final of the competition at Northern Restaurant & Bar in Manchester where each competitor was asked to re-create their drink to the waiting judges, including Chris Grimes of Bitten Magazine, Paul Murphy of The Whisky Business in Liverpool and Jack Rackham, Commercial Director of Emporia Brands, the tequila brands UK Distributor.

L-R Paul Murhpy, Alexander Taylor, Jack Rackham
(L-R) Paul Murphy, Alexander Taylor, Jack Rackham

After impressing the judges and crowd with ‘Don Agustin’s Daisy’, Alexander Taylor of 10 Feet Tall, Cardiff just edged the incredibly close final by paying tribute to the late Don Augustin and Mexico’s traditional use of Marigold flowers, which are both floral and earthy, to grieve the passing of loved ones. Combining Casco Viejo Reposado, Suze Saveur D’Autrefois, Luxardo Amaretto, yellow pepper and lime with a garnish of flamed orange zest and scattered marigold petals, Alex has won himself a visit to Arandas, Mexico as the guest of Tequila Casco Viejo, which has previously beaten off the challenge from the World’s finest tequila brands by winning gold and being rated ‘outstanding’ by the International Wine and Spirit Competition.

Jack Rackham has said “the standard of the presentations and the quality of the drinks was absolutely first class. Separating the finalists was an incredibly tough job but in the end we unanimously agreed that Alex was the deserved winner and I look forward to welcoming him to Casa Camerena distillery”.

Northern Restaurant & Bar is the biggest hospitality show in the North. The show’s Spirit Room is the largest curated selection of spirit brands on show outside London. As well as the Casco Viejo cocktail competition, the Drinks Live theatre featured a line-up of tutored tastings and masterclasses from some of the best names in the business.

Don Agustin's DaisyAlexander Taylor, 10 Feet Tall, Cardiff

Don Agustin’s Daisy

45ml Casco Viejo Reposado
10ml Suze Saveur D’Autrefois
10ml Luxardo Amaretto
5cm Yellow Pepper
25ml Lime

Shake all ingredients hard and fine strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a flamed orange zest and scattered marigold petals.

Tequila Casco Viejo Celebrate National Margarita Day!

Barrio Margarita

It’s National Margarita Day! To celebrate, Tequila Casco Viejo have put together some of the best venues across the UK to enjoy a Margarita!

For the perfect Margarita at Barrio Bars in London, they use 100% agave Blanco tequila from Casco Viejo. Served on the rocks – Tommy’s style; simply shaken with fresh lime juice and agave nectar for a clean, refreshing tequila flavour.  Perfect to start any evening, and they’re making them for £5 all night long!

Newcastle are getting in the on the act too at Popolo, who are offering tonight a deal of two Casco Viejo Margarita’s for £10, as well as Ten Feet Tall in Cardiff who are the latest stockist of the traditional hand crafted tequila produced by the Camarena brothers, the third largest owners of agave plantations in Mexico.

If you’re in Leeds, pop into Neon Cactus for a Tommy’s variation, or indeed El Capo in Manchester for a unique twist on the Casco Viejo Margarita. Liverpool’s Santa Chupito’s is also the perfect venue to enjoy the perfect Casco Viejo Margarita!

A family business that has passed down through each generation, the respect for growing the best agave and distilling and maturing tequila of great pure flavour makes this ideal for classic cocktails.

Emporio-Brands-Margarita-and-both-bottlesTry our simple Margarita:

Glass: Rocks or Margarita

Ingredients:

60 ml Casco Viejo Reposado
30 ml Gabriel Boudier Triple Sec
30 ml Lemon Juice
Lime wedge for garnish

Method:

Coat the rim with salt. Pour the lime juice, triple sec, and Casco Viejo into a shaker. Shake well and pour over ice. Garnish with lime wedge.

The Tequila Casco Viejo range – Blanco and Reposado – is available from all leading retailers including DrinkShop.com, Gerry’s and Wine Rack.

For more information on Tequila Casco Viejo and Emporia Brands, please visit http://www.emporiabrands.com

Follow Tequila Casco Viejo on Twitter @CascoViejoTqula or Facebook at www. facebook.com/Tequila-Casco-Viejo-UK

Tequila Fest To Host Its First Cocktail Competition In Liverpool

Casco Viejo

Tequila & Mezcal Fest is the UK’s first ever and only festival dedicated exclusively to showcasing the very best bits of Mexico in the greatest ever agave extravaganza. Returning for it’s second year, in London, on the 19th and 20th September, at Old Spitalfields Market and rolling out for the first time in the North West at Liverpool’s Maritime Museum, on the 8th and 9th August, this year is set to be double the fun.

Tequila Fest will hold it’s first ever cocktail competition, taking place in Liverpool and supported by Casco Viejo Tequila. Three teams from, Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds will be chosen to battle it out for the title of the North West’s campeon of tequila cocktail making.

The teams will be made up of five bartenders, each with a designated team captain, who will have 15 minutes to impress the judges as they create, prepare and serve two drinks that reflect the family heritage of the Camarena Brothers and encapsulate Mexican culture. The first unique serve must be created by the team captain, using either Casco Viejo Blanco or Reposado  (minimum 25ml) and the second, a unique party punch using at least 500ml of either Casco Viejo Blanco or Reposado, to be created by the rest of the team.

Dave Marsland of Emporia Brands and writer for Drink Enthusiast will host the competition in which one of the teams will win a hamper of Casco Viejo Tequila and other Mexican goodie.

Eduardo Gomez, Founder & Director of Tequila Fest comments, “This year is a special year for Tequila & Mezcal Fest as it’s the year of Mexico in the UK and the UK in Mexico, and to celebrate we’re looking for two unique serves that really capture the spirit of Mexico right here in the North West”.

For more details please contact: Dave Marsland drinks_enthusiast@yahoo.co.uk

Tequila & Mezcal Fest, Liverpool

Date: 8th & 9th August 2015

Place: Liverpool’s Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool, L3 4AQ

Tickets: http://www.tequilafest.co.uk/?page_id=1091

Website: http://www.tequilafest.co.uk/?page_id=1091

Tequila & Mezcal Fest, London

Date: 19th & 20th September 2015

Place: Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Horner Square, Spitalfields, London, E1 6EW

Tickets: http://www.tequilafest.co.uk/?page_id=1091

The Camarena Family

Casco Viejo

The Camarena Family is one of the most famous and major names within the tequila industry. Here in the UK, they are synonymous with a growing set of brands that are taking a different outlook to the tequila industry and offering an alternative on all three levels of brand leadership. Welcome to Casco Viejo, La Cava and Maracame; The Camarena Family.

Heralding from the town of Tequila within the state of Jalisco over 250 years ago, their origins can be started from when their Spanish ancestors immigrated to Mexico in the early 18th century. In 1761, they co-founded the town of Arandas, where the distillery can be found today. 1860 saw the family plant their own agave estates around Arandas and in 1931, Don Agustin Camarena founded his distillery Casa Casco Viejo. Today though, Elena Herrera Orendain a descendent of Jose Cuervo, assumed control of the company in 1970 and its her children and grandchildren who manage the day-to-day.

La Cava De done Agustin
La Cava De done Agustin

As mentioned, the Camarana Family planted their first agave estates in 1860, and have become the 3rd biggest agave plantation in Mexico with 3000HA  and over 3 million agave plants, located in the Highland region of Jalisco over 2000 metres high. The family is so proud in fact that they have their own jimadors and avoid the rainy season when the piñas can become diluted (contracted jimadors are paid by weight and are tempted to pick when heavy with water). The piñas are harvested between six and nine years, but once cultivated, the fields are planted with beans and then corn to regenerate and nitogenate the soil. The stubble is then burnt and after a gap of a year, the agave is replanted.

The piñas are traditionally baked within a brick oven to convert the starches into sugar. Casco Viejo piñas are baked for 48 hours, La Cava piñas are 60 hours, whilst Maracame is 84 hours, although not within brick ovens, instead volcanic rock ovens. After baking, they are cooled slowly for 24 hours, then crushed. Once crushed, each brand is fermented with a specific yeast strain and a certain amount of time. Casco Viejo uses a cultured yeast for 48-60 hours, La Cava a cultured yeast for 72-84 hours, and Maracame a Champagne yeast for over 84 hours.

Once fermented, both Casco Viejo and La Cava are double distilled within traditional pot stills that hold 200 HL. Maracame however is distilled at a lower temperature and much more slowly. Plus, only the heart is used , no feints or foreshots. After distillation, all the expressions, barring the Blanco, are aged within new American white oak barrels (medium toast), which have had a quick interaction with tequila previously to quieten the tannins. The spirit comes off the second distillation at around 55% abv, and is reduced down to 42% abv before ageing.

Once aged, each expression is reduced to its bottling strength with water from a private well that has been filtered by double osmosis.

So, we know how they are created, but how do they fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on each of the three brands and their expressions –

Maracame
Maracame

Casco Viejo Blanco – 38%

Toasted corn on the nose, with a clean agave aroma coming through. Very smooth on the palate, with a slow developing freshness that becomes aromatic with the agave. A thin finish that lingers a little dry.

Casco Viejo Reposado – 38%

Aged for 2-3 months. Subtle vanilla and fudge aromas on the nose, with thin, dry kicks of earth following. Light upon the palate, with a good dose of vanilla, oak and dry earth blending well for a lively fresh finish.

La Cava de Don Agustin Blanco – 38%

Soft, subtle and with hints of dry agave on the nose. Clean, smooth and with a developing richness of honey and agave on the palate. A lingering, thick texture on the finish.

La Cava de Don Agustin Reposado – 38%

Aged for 4 to 6 months. Subtle ticks of agave, oak and earth on the nose, with a drawn out aroma of corn finishing. Smooth on the palate, with a raw agave kick slowly rising. Thin, fudge and vanilla flavours with a developing dryness of pepper on the long finish.

La Cava de Don Agustin Añejo – 38%

Aged for 12 months. Rich toffee and plenty of new, dry oak on the nose, with sawdust and wood chippings following. Incredibly smooth, plenty of rich honey and agave notes on the palate, followed by warm fudge, slight butterscotch and thick agave on the incredibly long finish.

Maracame Reposado – 38%

Aged for 6 to 9 months. Bold notes of honey, toffee and fudge combining on the nose. Slight oak rounding the finish off. A rich kick of fresh vanilla pods, thick agave syrup and toasted clotted fudge on the palate creating a long, slightly dry and peppered finish.

Some absolute crackers of tequila expressions here, and a surprise to see Casco Viejo, for its price especially, be such a versatile liquid and great for sipping. Speaking of versatile, check out this recipe –

Casco Rojo
Casco Rojo

Casco Rojo

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients – 

50 ml Tequila Casco Viejo
Clamato juice
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
1 dash seasoning sauce
1 dash Tabasco sauce
2 dashes lemon juice
1 dash salt and pepper

Method – 

Pour Tequila Casco Viejo into a glass with ice, splash lemon juice, add 5 drops of Worcestershire sauce, 4 drops of seasoning sauce and 4 drops of Tabasco sauce, add salt and black pepper to taste, fill with clamato juice. Stir smoothly.

Casco Viejo is award-winning too, grabbing a gold medal and rated ‘outstanding’ by the International Wine and Spirit competition, and there are a couple more expressions of the Maracame to look out for, including Plata, Extra Añejo and the Gran Maracame Platino. Pick up a bottle of Casco Viejo, La Cava or Maracame for your drinks cabinet today and enjoy an alternative way to the tequila world.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.