Q&A With Oli Pergl, Tequila Educator at Proximo Spirits

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Oliver Pergl, Tequila Educator, Proximo Spirits

Oli has been with Proximo Spirits for over a year as a Brand Educator for its vast tequila  portfolio, mastering the knowledge of 26 varieties of the iconic Mexican Agave-based spirit.
The brands that Oli covers are Jose Cuervo including Reserva de la Familia, 1800 Tequila, Gran Centenario, Maestro Dobel, plus Agavero liqueur & Creyente Mezcal. A total of 26
different tequilas/mezcal across 6 brands.

Why are you talking at Cambridge University on Saturday, 15 September?
As the Tequila Educator for Proximo Spirits, I believe that education is the greatest tool we have to share the story of Jose Cuervo and the great adventure that Tequila has been on.  The day after the lecture will be Mexico’s Independence Day – one of their biggest Public holidays of the year – and this lecture will be held to kick off the celebrations early in one of the most celebrated Universities in the World.

What are some common misconceptions of tequila?
Before studying the huge topic that Tequila is, I was bartending and managing some of  London’s best venues. Here it was commonplace that Tequila was primarily enjoyed as a
shot or in a Margarita – the misconception here is that drinking it is very singular and had rarely strayed out of those two ways of drinking it. In Mexico, Tequila is always sipped neat, a bottle is present on every table at dinner and it is an incredibly sociable  experience. A lot of people misunderstand how premium Tequila is, and that it has taken great deal of time to get from field to bottle – many of our Tequilas can match up to if not better some of the World’s finest Cognacs and Whiskeys.

Why do you think it’s important that the youth get a greater understanding of tequila?
Most young adults, such as those studying at Cambridge University, will not have the same knowledge behind spirits as most bartenders do – with my experience I aim to give some of that knowledge and passion back to them. With this I hope they are then able to see Tequila for what it truly is, and as long as responsible drinking is adhered to, there is no wrong way to enjoy Tequila.

What is the difference between Tradicional Silver, Reposado and the Reserva de la
Familia?
The difference boils down primarily to the ageing; the Silver has been unaged, but allowed to rest in Steel for up to two weeks, allowing the young alcohol to relax before bottling to ensure a creamy, buttery sensation when sipping. The Reposado is where we put that Silver Tequila into American White Oak barrels for a minimum of two months – just enough time for the alcohol to extract sweetness from the wood, adding depth of character and an inviting golden colour. The Reserva de la Familia is something supremely extraordinary – originally this was a secret recipe enjoyed only by the Family and close friends, until in 1995 they celebrated their 200-year anniversary and launched this Extra-Añejo. Harvesting extramature Agaves, slowly cooking the hearts and then using the first-pressed nectar, they produce an exquisite Tequila that is then aged in American White Oak for three years. It is then finished in French Oak for a further six months, adding complex notes such as coffee, butterscotch and spices – this is finally blended with the Family’s private reserves of Tequila and eventually bottled by hand.

What’s your top three ways to drink tequila, and on which occasions?
If I’m not making a cocktail; I’ll be enjoying it neat, and it will be present at every day celebrations. If I’m visiting the home of Tequila; I’ll visit La Capilla, the home of the “Batanga” – a long drink made with Mexican Cola, Fresh Lime, Salt and of course – some Silver Tequila. And at significant times of the year like Christmas when the whole family is together, there’ll always be a bottle of Añejo to enjoy after the Turkey.

A part from the Margarita, what would you recommend those non-tequila fans should drink first?
The first thing I suggest is to try Tequila neat – and more importantly – to sip it. The Agave plant that produces this fine spirit takes around 6 years to mature before we can harvest it – it really does demand us to spend more time enjoying it. Otherwise; Tequila and Tonic go incredible well together with a few lime wedges squeezed in, and our Reposado Tequilas go great with Ginger Ale, Lemon and some ground black pepper sprinkled in – these both go perfectly when just sitting down to eat.

What are three key things you want the university students to take away from your
lecture?
I want to engross them in the epic and romantic story that Tequila is; I want them to  understand where it’s come from and how we create it, and most importantly – to fall in love with something I so dearly have.

What is the next big thing in store for tequila?
Jose Cuervo have been making Tequila for over 250 years through 11 generations of family – constantly overseeing changes in the market and having their Tequilas at the forefront of  innovation. With the interest of Mexican culture in the U.K, we are seeing a huge rise in  Mexican restaurants and craft wines and spirits coming from Mexico. The excitement around everything Mexico is causing a huge buzz right now – and Cuervo is at the heart of all of this.

 

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March For Margarita!

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Following the success of Margarita Rumble, a cocktail competition that saw London’s top bars compete for the title of best Margarita, August brings another tequila-infused event to London. Jose Cuervo®, the world’s oldest and most awarded family of tequilas and pioneer of the original margarita, brings the Margarita March, a journey exploring the heritage, craft and creation of tequila and its most famed cocktail creation to eight of London’s leading bars.

With a massive growing consumer appetite for tequila and cocktails across the UK, the Margarita March is designed to celebrate one of nations favourite cocktails and premiere eight Cuervo Margaritas curated by London’s iconic bars.

Taking place on Saturday 18th August from 4pm-10pm, guests will march through the streets of London, enjoying Cuervo Margaritas along the way, all made with Jose Cuervo Tradicional 100% blue agave tequila. The tequila that founded the tequila category, Jose Cuervo Tradicional celebrates a family tradition started more than 200 years ago. 100% estate-grown, blue agave plants are slow cooked in clay ovens and then double distilled in small, artisanal stills yielding an irresistibly refined tequila of perfect clarity and crisp flavour, making it the perfect partner for the best tasting margaritas.

Guests will enjoy a margarita masterclass and tequila tasting on arrival, at WM Barker & CO. Led by Jose Cuervo’s tequila expert, they will be taken on a tequila journey from the agave fields of Mexico to the Jose Cuervo distillery (the oldest in Latin America), to learn all there is to know about the drink that’s gaining massive popularity across the UK, before a tasting led by Jose Cuervo’s tequila expert.

To celebrate, Jose Cuervo is offering TWO fans the chance to attend Margarita March for free. Check out Jose Cuervo on Facebook @JoseCuervo.UK for more information.

For tickets, visit http://www.londonmargaritamarch.com priced at £25.

For more information, please visit http://www.cuervo.com or follow @JoseCuervoUK on Instagram

You can also get in touch on josecuervo@cowpr.com or 020 7234 9150

CUERVO NETTLE MARGARITA RECIPE:

50ml Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver
25ml Lemon Juice
15ml Nettle Cordial
10ml Sugar Syrup
2.5ml Isle of Skye Sea Salt Solution (5g Salt 50g Water)

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CUERVO PASSIONFRUIT MARGARITA RECIPE:

50ml Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver
15ml Passion Fruit Puree (Funkin Puree) OR 1 Whole
Passion Fruit
25ml Fresh Lime Juice
15ml Agave Syrup

Casa Agave Launches in the UK

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Casa Agave are excited to announce their launch, the home of Tequila, Mezcal and all things agave in the UK!

As importers, distributors and promoters they aim to give a platform to some of Mexico’s wonderful smaller producers and increase variety and choice of top quality independently owned agave spirit brands in the UK market.

They are currently importing and working with fantastic artisanal Mezcal brands like La Medida, Animas, Koch and El Mero Mero and will be continually adding to their range of producers, trying to offer the best unique selection of agave spirits in the UK.

Because it can often be produced in less developed areas, they believe that the development of Mezcal internationally should have a positive impact for the people who produce it and their communities. For this reason, they personally select each Mezcal, trying to make sure that the brands they import are actively engaged in improving communities and the lives of the people who live there. They also try to ensure all the mezcals they import originate from small family run Palenque’s, giving them thei support in their fabulous businesses.

Created by the team behind Nottingham Tequila and Mezcal bar 400 Rabbits, Casa Agave also aims to further promote the wonders of agave spirits to consumers and industry professionals around the country through training, education, pop ups and trying to increase consumer awareness and understanding of the category.

All our brands are available through their retail website (www.casa-agave.com) to consumers and trade.

For more information about Casa Agave or any of their brands drop them an email at info@casa-agave.com or call Jen on 07944766436

Winner Announced At 1800 Visionaries Cocktail Competition

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Callum Baines from Treacle Bar & Kitchen, Edinburgh has been crowned the winner of 1800 Tequila’s Visionaries Competition. Bartenders across the UK were tasked with creating a cocktail that demonstrates what we will be drinking in 20 years’ time. The five other finalists included; Amy Swanton from The Aviator Hotel, Farnborough, Jonathan Shaw from One Goose Entry, Belfast, Peter Konkoly from Coya Mayfair, London, Radslaw Rozycki from The Cocktail Trading Co., London, Sofiane Barthelemy – from the Library Bar at The Lanesborough, London.

Callum Baines impressed judges with his cocktail, “Make Tequila Great Again”, which combined 1800 Reposado, oak wood smoke, cactus and aloe syrup, lemon juice and Boston Bittahs served in a mug. Baines’s inspiration came from the notion of global warming, impacting resources of natural water and fresh ingredients causing sustainability to become the main focus of cocktails of the future. Winner, Callum Baines will receive a once in a lifetime trip to Mexico and trip to 1800 distillery.

 

London, Get Ready To Rumble!

Margarita Rumble

Jose Cuervo®, the world’s number one selling tequila, has announced the sponsoring of the grand ole fiesta the ‘Margarita Rumble’ for the second year. Margarita Rumble, which is taking over The Yard in Shoreditch on April 28th, is a major competition that sees expert mixologists from top bars across the city compete for the prestigious title of Best Margarita in London.

Margarita lovers will be pleased to know that the bottomless margaritas on offer will all be made with the award-winning Jose Cuervo Tradicional 100% agave tequila, crafted using methods originated by the Cuervo family over 200 years ago.

Guests can choose to join one of three sessions, with each reveller given a token on arrival to vote for their favourite margarita. Entertainment will consist of a traditional Mariachi band, Mexican dancers and DJs. For those curious to learn more about the cocktail of the moment, the festival favourite Cuervo Tequila Truck will be welcoming guests with a tequila tasting and hosting a salt pairing masterclass, where attendees will be shown how to pair the best salts found in the UK to different flavours of Cuervo margaritas.

The first wave of top talent confirmed to compete are Trapeze, Barrio Bars, Cabana Brixton, Whistling Shop, Benitos Hat, Little Bat, Eaton Square Bar, Zebrano, Simmons, and The BootLegger. Reigning champions Café Pacifico will be returning to defend their 2017 title, awarded to the passionfruit margarita that wowed the crowds at last year’s event, and has also claimed a permanent ‘Margarita Rumble’ cocktail feature at the Covent Garden restaurant.

Tickets and more information are available here for anyone wanting to get involved, with prices starting from £35 – https://www.londonmargaritarumble.com/buytickets/

Limited Edition Bottle Of 1800 Tequila By Artist Enoc Perez Released Featuring ‘The Gherkin’

1800_ArtistSeries_3_F_V21800® Tequila have collaborated with world-renowned contemporary artist Enoc Perez for the 8th edition of their Essential Artist Series. Enoc’s famed architectural collection, used for the 1800 Tequila bottles, features six iconic buildings from across the world, including London’s much-loved ‘Gherkin’. If you have a budding mixologist in your life who is a lover of London, this limited edition bottle of double-distilled premium tequila made from 100% blue agave ticks all the boxes this Christmas.

Founded as a means to showcase art in non-traditional medium, each year the series presents a new discussion around the crucial link between art and culture, as told through the work of cultural vanguards such as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Each limited edition instantly becomes a collector’s item. This year, through Perez, the spotlight shifts to cities as cultural epicentres and breeding grounds for edgy yet refined style.

The limited edition 1800 Tequila bottle featuring the ‘Gherkin’ will be available to purchase exclusively from the London branch of Selfridges, as part of its London-themed Christmas shop, priced at £39.99 (70cl, 38% ABV), while stocks last.

Come and try 1800 Tequila before you buy – sampling will be taking place in the London Selfridges store every Wednesday and Thursday in the lead-up to Christmas, starting from 1st November, 2-8pm. If you purchase a bottle of 1800 Tequila during this time you’ll also receive a free 5cl bottle. Use as a stocking filler for another tequila-lover in your life or keep it as a gift for yourself. Every purchase will also be gift-wrapped with specially designed ‘Gherkin’ print wrapping paper to create an impressive gift.

In addition, 1800 Tequila are also offering a beautiful twin pack of 20cl bottles of 1800 Silver and 1800 Reposado on Amazon, priced at £22, while stocks last.

Tequila is one of the most versatile and characterful spirits around. It is gloriously silky in texture, adding a complex depth of flavour to classic cocktails. Try in the latest aperitivo cocktail, the 1800 Blush – a deliciously refreshing combination of 1800 Silver Tequila and Fentimans Rose Lemonade, served over ice and garnished with a sprig of fresh mint and a slice of pink grapefruit. Perfect as a pre-Christmas lunch aperitif instead of your usual glass of fizz.

The 1800 Studios Come To Shoreditch!

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WHAT:
London’s first-ever aperitivo beauty bar, 1800 Studios, is set to be the ultimate hangout in Shoreditch, where you can step away from the rush and indulge in some personal preening whilst enjoying the latest aperitivo cocktail, the 1800 Blush – a deliciously refreshing combination of 1800 Silver Tequila and Fentimans Rose Lemonade, served over ice and garnished with a slice of pink grapefruit and a sprig of fresh mint.
From post-work to nightfall, this salon turned saloon will offer simple beautifying treatments (choose from an express manicure, arm & hand massage or beard trim/shave) for you and your friends in plush surroundings. Tickets for treatments are just £10 and will also include two 1800 Blush cocktails. A whole host of other delicious 1800 Tequila twists on classic aperitivo cocktails, including the ever popular Negroni, will also be available at just £5 each.
Don’t forget to consult the 1800 Studios concierge desk on departure for tips on where to continue your evening in Shoreditch with partner bars.

WHY: We live in a time-poor world with demands constantly placed upon us throughout the day. Step away from the rush and make time for you and your friends at the 1800 Studios.

WHEN: The 1800 Studios will be open on the following days/times:
Tuesday 10th October 19:30 – 23:00
Wednesday 11th October 17:00 – 23:00
Thursday 12th October 17:00 – 23:00

WHERE: Protein, Studios 3 & 4, 31 New Inn Yard, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3EY

HOW: Everyone is welcome to enter the 1800 Studios and entry is free.
You can just come to the 1800 Studios for a drink at the aperitivo bar without having a treatment. Appointments for treatments are bookable, although there will be available slots for walk-ins. Advance tickets for the beauty treatments are priced at £10 and can be purchased via: https://feverup.com/m/59644 . The ticket price includes one beautifying treatment (manicure, arm and hand massage or beard trim) and two 1800 Blush cocktails.

Denmark’s Jeppe Nothlev Claims The 2017 Tahona Society Cocktail Competition Title

Sweet Effort, winning cocktail at The Tahona Society Cocktail Competition 2017
Altos Tequila has crowned Jeppe Nothlev, from bar Helium in Copenhagen, Denmark, as the winner of The Tahona Society Cocktail Competition 2017. Nothlev impressed the judging line-up with his Sweet Effort cocktail, crafted from Altos Plata Tequila, which represents a balance between the history, culture and ingredients of Denmark and Mexico.

Sweet Effort crafted by Jeppe Nothlev of Helium bar in Copenhagen, Denmark:

Ingredients:

50ml Altos Plata
10ml Pedro Ximénez Sherry
30ml rhubarb syrup
30ml lime juice
Dash of egg white
Grapefruit lemonade

Method:

Mix the Altos Plata, Pedro Ximénez Sherry, rhubarb syrup, lime juice and egg white, shake and pour into a highball glass and top with grapefruit lemonad
Bringing to life the sustainable values at the heart of Altos Tequila, Nothlev reduced wastage by drying and crushing the spent rhubarb and mixing it with salt to craft a garnish and then sprayed an infusion of Altos Plata and used lime husks on top to pack an additional Tequila punch.

Nothlev commented: “It has been a hard-fought competition over the last week, so it’s a great honour to have been crowned the winner of The Tahona Society Cocktail Competition 2017. Coming to Mexico and learning about its street food culture, Altos’ sustainable values and, of course, Tequila has been a life-changing experience and it has made me a stronger bartender, which I hope the judges saw in my final creation, Sweet Effort. This experience has given me so much inspiration for the coming year and I can’t wait to begin spreading the word about Tequila, Altos and The Tahona Society.”

After winning his local The Tahona Society Cocktail Competition heat in Denmark in August, Nothlev travelled to Mexico to compete with 24 other finalists from countries including the USA, Colombia and Belarus and claimed victory after a week of challenges that tested participants’ cocktail creativity, ability to blind-taste Altos Tequila and presentation skills. As a prize, Jeppe Nothlev has become The Tahona Society Global Ambassador and will be given the opportunity to host educational The Tahona Society programmes for fellow bartenders around the world in the coming year.

Second place was awarded to Egor Kozlovsky , from Minsk (Belarus), while Ana Milena Alzate and Aj Snetler, from Bogotá (Colombia) and Cape Town (Africa) respectively, were awarded joint third place. For the first time ever, the top four will return to Mexico next year to craft a limited edition Altos Tequila bottling with Maestro Tequilero, Jesus Hernandez.

Now in its seventh year, The Tahona Society is the world’s leading Tequila education programme. The 2017 competition challenged bartenders to craft a new and innovative cocktail that championed Altos Tequila’s sustainable values while appealing to fans of the growing Mexican culinary and street food revolution. To assist their preparation for the finale and career beyond the competition, contenders were schooled in various areas key to running a modern, successful bar business, such as sustainability and global drinks trends, hosted by leading figures in mixology including Kelsey Ramage, ex Dandelyan bartender, spokesperson for her own Trash Tiki project and winner of The Tahona Society Cocktail Competition 2016.

The Tahona Society Cocktail Competition judging panel boasted some of the world’s leading Tequila and cocktail influencers, including Dré Masso, who co-created Altos Tequila in 2009; leading London bartender, Simone Caporale; Mexican ingredients aficionado, Jorge Fitz; renowned Tequila author, Alberto Navarro; and Kelsey Ramage.

Head judge, Dré Masso, remarked on the overwhelming talent of the entrants in The Tahona Society Cocktail Competition 2017 final: “It has been a privilege to bring together such an outstanding and passionate group of bartenders and watch them compete for this year’s The Tahona Society Cocktail Competition title. In the end, only one bartender could win and we chose Jeppe as he demonstrated imagination and a clear link to Altos Tequila’s values of brotherhood and sustainability – congratulations Jeppe!”

Amber Beverage Group Strengthens Tequila Offering

Rooster Rojo
Amber Beverage Group, is continuing to develop its presence in the tequila category with the launch of Rooster Rojo® – an 100% agave premium tequila, which has been bottled and shipped to core tequila markets.

Following the acquisition of Fabrica De Tequilas Finos in 2016, Rooster Rojo® is an innovative new brand for Amber Beverage Group and is set to stand-out amongst competitors.

Produced and distilled in the heart of Tequila, each bottle of Rooster Rojo® is created using 100% pure agave and filtered through Mexican silver, making a softer and smoother finish. The combination of a premium spirit along with traditional distillation methods will ensure that it is the number one choice for tequila lovers all over the world.

Distribution of the brand will commence in October within leading tequila markets including the USA, Mexico, Canada and the Baltics. November will see the brands entry into Russia, Germany, Spain and the UK, where leading family distributor, Cellar Trends, will handle the product.

Rooster Rojo’s Global Brand Manager, Mantas Zlatkus, explains “Our aim with Rooster Rojo® was to create a premium tequila that stands out against key competitors. With the use of the Mexican ‘Rooster’ symbol, this is an ambitious new entrant within the category that not only represents the national identity of Mexico, but one that is full of fighting spirit! We are looking forward to working with our partners throughout the world to create an internationally recognised tequila.”

Group Marketing Manager at Cellar Trends, Katie Warren, says: “We are looking forward to working with the Amber Beverage Group to introduce Rooster Rojo® to the UK and are excited to launch a new product to the market. The brand not only offers a quality spirit, but its innovative and energetic packaging will ensure that it stands out within such a fantastic category.”

Patrón Perfectionists Come Out To Play In Bristol

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The team at Patrón came around to Bristol last week to host the next round of the current programme, the Patrón Perfectionist!

Hosted at Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the competitors found their way to the South West heat by offering a unique Patrón serve, worthy of impressing the judging panel and ultimately winning a place in the final, held in London later in the year.

Hailing from the likes of Dirty Martini in Cardiff, Be At One in Bournemouth and Salt Room in Brighton, the competitors were joined by UK Brand Ambassador Karine Tillard as they re-created their serve to the panel of myself, Karine and last-years South West winner Steven Young of Academy Espresso Bar in Barry.

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The top three will be showcased here today, so in third place saw Brighton represent with Jake Goldstein of Plotting Parlour. His ‘Commin Mathca’ saw him combine Patrón Silver, sustainable sherbet, pretzel syrup, matcha green tea and aquafaba together, complete with a garnish of a tiny pretzel and matcha.

Ben Alcock of host venue HMSS earned second place with his creation, ‘Beez-Ness Thyme’. A sour styled drink that saw Patrón Reposado, bee mix (honey, Aquavit, burgamot, fig, salt and absinthe), lemon juice, aquafaber and chickpea water, it came garnished with a simple twist of a lemon peel.

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The winning serve though came from Chelsie Bailey of Red Light in Bristol. Named ‘El Camienzo Perfecto’, it saw Patrón Reposado, pineapple sherbet, cream, lime juice and egg white, topped with Mexican lager, dehydrated chilli and pineapple leaves.

So congratulations to Chelsie, who wins herself a trip to London to compete in the final against the other finalists from around the UK!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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.