Patrón

Patron

Patrón is one of the most recognisable brands in the world. The distinct shape of the bottle, the highly rated liquid produced and the fact that it’s not been around for long makes Patrón one of the most talked-about brands in the world, and it’s done wonders for the tequila category. But what is it exactly that’s made Patrón stand out? Lets take a look.

Patrón originates from Casa 7 Leguas, one of the oldest Mexican distilleries, but in 1989, John Paul DeJoria and Martin Crowley of St. Maarten Spirits purchased the brand rights and in 2002 moved production to a new distillery, Hacienda del Patrón within the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. It is here that Patrón is created, using harvested 100% Blue Weber agave piña that are first steamed for 79 hours in traditional masonry ovens, before being shredded and macerated using the traditional method of Tahona. Another method, known as the roller mill, is also used, but both are created separately and then blended together. The juice from the macerated agave is transferred to wooden tanks where the fermentation process occurs for 72 hours. This creates a ‘must’ which is then twice distilled in copper pot stills. After each distillation, filtration and blending taking place, all overseen by Master Distiller Francisco Alcaraz, who is also credited for the recipe that Patrón abide by.

The bottles themselves are a thing of beauty. The ovens used to make the Patrón bottles were designed specifically to produce them. The glass artisan measures the amount of glass used to make a Patrón bottle by hand, with each Patrón bottle individually handmade by the artisan and using recycled glass, save the pure crystal Gran Patrón. Each bottle is carefully hand inspected at every stage for shape, volume, clarity and beauty, looking for any imperfections. Fourteen distinct criteria are used to assure quality. Each bottle is individually washed in tequila before it is filled. Workers individually label, hand tie ribbons and wipe the bottle free of dust. The final product is then cradled in paper and boxed.

It’s the liquids that are ultimately the selling point, so below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Patrón Silver – 40%

Fudge and white chocolate aromas upon the nose, with hints of dry pepper, earthy notes and a slight citrus. Sharp, white pepper flavours on the palate, fresh, with a slightly sweet, bold kick of agave that creates a very long finish.

Patrón Reposado – 40%

Aged for 6 to 8 months within ex French, Hungarian and American oak barrels. Plenty of dry oak with vanilla and toffee blending well. Slight smoke near the finish too. Smooth, silky texture on the palate with plenty of agave that creates a sweet finish.

Patrón Añejo – 40%

Aged for 16 months within ex French, Hungarian and American oak barrels. Butterscotch aromas with fudge, vanilla and citrus all on the nose. Soft agave follows nicely. Very smooth upon the palate, with plenty of agave that develops a spice flavour for a dry finish.

Patrón XO Cafe – 35%

A blend of Patrón Silver and infused Mexican coffee beans. Rich, fresh coffee with slight vanilla notes on the nose. Freshly roasted coffee and thick vanilla combine on the palate to create a sweet flavour, but soon disappears.

Patrón Citrónge – 40%

A blend of Patrón Silver infused with lemon and orange peel. Light citrus notes on the nose, with smooth, sweet aroma of agave coming through. Very sweet on the palate though, with sharp orange that mellows into a clean, lingering finish of orange and agave.

A really good range available, and as you can imagine, there have been many bartenders taking full advantage –

Frappe XO Extreme
Frappe XO Extreme

Frappe XO Extreme

Glass –

Goblet

Ingredients –

45 ml Patrón Añejo
30 ml Patrón XO Cafe
15 ml Chocolate syrup
2 scoops vanilla ice cream

Method –

Swirl the glass with chocolate syrup. Combine the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into the glass.

Patrón have a couple of exclusive expressions that you can find on the odd occasion, including Gran Patrón Piedra Extra Añejo, matured for three years within French and American oak, and Gran Patrón Platinum which is triple distilled. But it’s the main core expressions that stand out not only on the bar, but in flavour and aroma. Quite possibly one of the best silver tequila’s I’ve ever  had too. Join me in grabbing a few bottles for your cabinet. 

© 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.

Excellia Tasting Notes

Excellia

One category that I’ve been enjoying a lot of lately is tequila. I’ve been surrounded by many brands lately and I’ve never once complained. Excellia is one of them.

Excellia is the result of a partnership between two men – Jean-Sebastien Robicquet, founder of EWG Spirits & Wine, ground-breaking brand creator and producer (G’Vine gin and Esprit de June liqueur) and Carlos Camarena, precursor and award-winning tequila master-distiller (Tapatio and El Tesoro tequilas) and the origin of the “Extra-Anejo” category. To create something different, the two gentleman brought together three different regions – 

Los Altos (Jalisco, Mexico) – A hot and dry climate followed by a heavy rainy season and the rich red clay soil rich in minerals of the highlands generate sweet, soft and fruity agaves.

Sauternes region (France) – A micro-climate with foggy mornings, sunny afternoons by the river and botrytis create the Grand Cru of dessert wine with delicate notes of dried fruits and flowers and a perfect balance between acidity and sugar.

Cognac region (France) – A lot of sun with the right amount of rain, mild temperatures all year-long thanks to the ocean’s influence and the region’s chalky soil contribute to the finest brandy and its so specific rancio character.

Jalisco is also the region where Excellia is handcrafted and made using 100% agave Tequilana Weber Blue that is cut by hand after 8-10 years of maturity. Once the agave is considered ripe and ready (showcased by red marks on the piña), the long leaves are cut and separate the piñas (the core of the agave) from the plant. The piñas are then transported to the distillery La Alteña and cut into quarters. It’s steam cooked slowly for 36 hours using traditional bricks and stone ovens, being shredded and crushed straight after and then fermented in wooden vats for 7 to 10 days before being distilled twice within copper stills. Once distilled, the tequila is aged within Grand Cru Sauternes wine casks and in Cognac barrels. The Sauternes wine casks have been used to produce only one vintage, meaning two or three years. It is then aged within Cognac casks that have been used for more than 20 years to age renowned cognacs. Once aged, the master blender marries the two different aged tequilas and creates the different recipes for the Blanco, Reposado and Añejo,

The three strong portfolio is the result, with each below named alongside my tasting notes –

Excellia Blanco – 40%

Rested a few weeks in Grand Cru Sauternes wine casks and Cognac barrels. Light notes of oak and cloves, with a developing spice on the palate. Slight vanilla and ripe fruit blend well and create a lingering finish with a slight warmth.

Exellia Reposado – 40%

Nine months ageing in Grand Cru Sauternes wine casks and Cognac barrels. Plenty of dried herbs on the nose with a slight honey aroma. Rich, ripe fruits on the palate with a slight honey and caramel feel, followed by a long, slightly spicy finish that becomes a little dry.

Excellia Añejo – 40%

Aged eighteen months. Light apricot and grape aromas on the nose with a slight oak scent. A bold flavour of fresh wood and sweetness on the palate, developing into a mellow finish of soft spice.

A fantastic range, with the Reposado going fantastic with this –

Mexpresso Martini
Mexpresso Martini

Mexpresso Martini

Glass – 

Martini

Ingredients – 

40 ml Excellia Reposado
25 ml Coffee liqueur
45 ml Espresso coffee
5 ml Sugar syrup

Method –

Shake the ingredients hard with ice. Strain into a frozen Martini glass. Garnish with three coffee beans.

A great twist, and it makes it that little bit better knowing that the Reposado is also an award-winner, winning Double Gold in the Best Reposado Tequila category at the San Francisco International World Spirits Competition 2011. The Blanco too also won a Gold medal at the same awards, with the Añejo winning Double Gold as well.

A great range on offer, versatile within cocktails and on its own. Grab a bottle and marvel at the Mexican / French relationship.

Check out the rest of the photos, taken at The Circle 360, via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. 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.

Olmeca Tasting Notes

Olmeca

After showcasing tequila recently, I’ve been waiting to try out one that has caught my eye in more the bottle than anything. Once you realise the brand, and the logo, you can understand the link – its name? Olmeca.

Olmeca is produced at Destileria Colonial de Jalisco in the town of Arandas, Jalisco in Western Mexico which incidentally is 2104 metres above sea level. Operation at the plant is overseen by Maestro Tequilero Jesús Hernández and as the Master Distiller he is responsible for supervising the hand-selected blue agave picked after 7–8 years of growth. Once harvested, traditional brick ovens are then used to slow cook the piñas. Part of the production process at Olmeca involves using the 500-year-old traditional and artisanal Tahona method, which consists of a 2 tonne millstone made of volcanic rock, known locally as Tezontle. Once the Agave piñas have been harvested and cooked, they are crushed by the Tahona, creating a pulp and drawing out the juice from the fibres. This juice is referred to as Tahona Liquid, of which a percentage is integrated into the fermentation and distillation process of all Olmeca Tequilas, with Olmeca Tezón exclusively containing 100% Tahona Liquid.

So a rather unique and traditional method to create the range of Olmeca, but how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Olmeca Altos – 38%

Lots of fruit and herbs on the nose with citrus following closely. Smooth beginning on the palate that develops into a well-balanced citrus led flavour with hints of wood smoke and a long subtle spice offering.

A great sipping tequila, but if this tickles your fancy, then be my guest –

Tequila Con Sangrita
Tequila Con Sangrita

Tequila Con Sangrita

Glass – 

Tequila in a stem glass, Sangrita in a side shot glass

Ingredients – 

50 ml Olmeca Altos
750 ml Tomato juice
100 ml Fresh orange juice
100 ml Fresh lemon juice
25 ml Tabasco

Method – 

Combine all the ingredients, except for the tequila, in a blender and blend until frothy. Cover and refrigerate for the flavors to marry. To serve, pour the sangrita into stemmed glasses. Pour the tequila into shot glasses.

A cheeky little variation to drinking it neat. There are many other variations within the Olmeca brand, including a Reposado and the Tezón range mentioned above. A great addition to any bar or drinks cabinet.

Check out the rest of the photos, taken at The Circle 360, via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. 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.

Don Julio Tasting Notes

Don Julio

Tequila is another one of those brands that can split opinion right down the middle. As explained when i touched on blended whisky, stigma seems to carry most onto the trend that tequila is there to be slammed down with some salt, lemon and lime. Well i couldn’t agree more. It’s traditional to mask the taste of tequila with citrus and salt just to make the experience more palatable. But what you shoot in the bars and pubs is not the good stuff, and in good stuff i mean made using 100% blue agave. To non-tequila fans that means nothing, but a staple in the tequila world in Don Julio is more than happy to show the way.

The journey of creating Don Julio is a process in that each bottle consists of 100% pure blue Weber agave plants from the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. Each plant is allowed to grow for seven to ten years before being harvested which develops its unique flavour for Don Julio. Aged in American white-oak barrels, Don Julio has been able to create the worlds first luxury tequila. And it all came about due to one man.

Don Julio is named after its founder, Don Julio González-Frausto Estrada, who began distilling tequila in 1942 at age 17. Gonzalez-Frausto established his own distillery, La Primavera in Jalisco, Mexico, and spent the next 40 years improving his craft. In 1985, Don Julio González-Frausto celebrated his 60th Birthday, with his sons commemorating the date by creating a Tequila in his name, Don Julio. After guests enquired if it will be available for sale and following the sheer popularity of the tequila in Guadalajara and neighbouring cities, they decided to launch the tequila in 1987.

So a relatively new tequila, created essentially as a birthday present. But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on each expression that I’ve been lucky enough to experience –

Don Julio Blanco – 38%

Soft notes of citrus and lime on the nose that develops into a smooth offering on the palate. Quite light to begin but has a heavier finish with hints of pepper lingering.

Don Julio Reposado – 38%

Barrel aged for 8 months. Soft lemon and fruit aromas on the nose followed by delicate hit of spice. Very soft on the palate with vanilla and cinnamon mixing well. Sweet ending.

As you can imagine, the versatility of Don Julio can also rack up some impressive cocktails –

Reposado Paloma
Reposado Paloma

Reposado Paloma

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients –

30 ml Don Julio Reposado
60 ml Grapefruit Juice
Splash of Lemon-Lime Soda
Salt Rim (optional)
Lime Slice

Method –

Combine Don Julio Reposado and grapefruit juice in an ice-filled highball glass. Top with a splash of lemon-lime soda and garnish with a lime slice. Salt rim optional.

or 

Blanco Luxury Margarita
Blanco Luxury Margarita

Blanco Lxury Margarita

Glass –

Rocks

Ingredients – 

50 ml Chilled Don Julio Blanco
20 ml Agave Nectar
20 ml Fresh Lime Juice
Lime Twist

Method – 

Mix Don Julio Blanco, agave nectar and lime juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake well. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with a lime twist.

The great thing about Don Julio is that its versatility doesn’t just stop at cocktails, it’s also a great food pairing –

Farmer’s Cheese With Herbs

Ingredients – 

1 Farmer’s Cheese (from Los Altos)
1 Romaine lettuce
1 Package of pita bread
Olive oil
Oregano
Thyme
Basil

Preparation – 

The day before, cut the cheese into small squares and marinate it with olive oil, oregano, thyme and basil. Wash the lettuce and tear into small pieces by hand. Make a bed with the lettuce, then spread the cheese with herbs on top and serve the pita bread on the side.

Pairing With Don Julio Blanco –

The lactic tones of the farmer’s cheese are heightened by the spices. The olive oil gives it very nice tones when accompanied with Don Julio Blanco, as the sweet notes of the cooked and raw agave, with its fruity and delicate spicy and herbal tones, enhance the cheese’s flavor and bring out the herbal notes of the spices.

I always find your onto a winner when you can really use your spirit collection in so many ways. Grab yourself a bottle and get creative!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. 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.

AquaRiva Tasting Notes

AquaRiva

Everyone loves a celebrity endorsement and drink brands are no exception. Ciroc vodka have P Diddy, Atlantico rum have Enrique Inglesias and Cointreau have Dita Von Teese, but on the odd occasion, brands are created or have significant input into a liquid. Crystal Head is a collaboration involving Dan Aykroyd, Manchester band Elbow created their own ale and now Cleo Rocos has got in on the act with her AquaRiva tequila.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet Cleo when she ventured my way last month, and I experienced first hand her tequila range and why her collaboration with business parter Stewart Freeman of The Tequila Society is making waves in the tequila business.

But first, a little about how AquaRiva came about.

Wanting to make tequilas that were interesting and complex, and would work well in cocktails, Cleo sought out master blender Carlos Perez to help create a hand crafted, premium tequila. Spending 10 months to perfect the Blanco, Reposado and Premium Reposado, they decided on using hand selected 8 yr blue agaves as well as volcanic spring water from the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico.

The label itself gives credit to a 17 yr art student named Jamie who Cleo met on the London Underground. After seeing his work, Cleo commissioned Jamie to create a distinctive label for her tequila, and so came an oil painting of Jamie and his girlfriend embracing on the wing of a plane.

Back to the tequila and the AquaRiva range. Cleo describes the Blanco and Reposado (which is aged for 3-6 months) as ‘bar’ tequilas i.e tequilas that are great for Cleo’s perfect Margarita recipe (see below). The Premium Reposado however is created by being aged for a minimum of 6 months and is there sipping tequila, although there is nothing against having the full range neat.

So how do the range fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on each –

Cleo Rocos and Stuart Freeman
Cleo Rocos and Stuart Freeman

AquaRiva Blanco – 38%

Soft on the nose with aromas of white chocolate and butter blending well. Nip of spice on the palate with peppery flavours creating a lingering after-taste.

AquaRiva Reposado – 38%

Very soft with a corn aroma on the nose with a slight scent of smoke following. Ripe fruit and soft caramel flavours on the palate with a slight hint of spice at the end. Short.

AquaRiva Premium Reposado – 40%

Notes of cream and butter on the nose producing a soft mix. Spice start on the palate with flavours of pepper, citrus and nuts developing a lingering finish. A rather dry ending.

A great range and one to really try all three on their own. But if this takes your fancy –

Cleo’s Perfect Margarita

Glass – 

Rocks

Ingredients – 

35 ml AquaRiva Blanco or Reposado
25 ml Fresh lime juice
15 ml AquaRiva Organic Agave syrup

Cleo's Perfect Margarita
Cleo’s Perfect Margarita

Method – 

Lots of ice, shake well and pour into a rocks glass. Rim the glass with an orange zest and salt if you like.

Another reason to give AquaRiva a try is the fact that it is now an award-winning brand, awarded a MASTERS Medal in a blind judging with The Spirits Business in February 2012.

They also produce a AquaRiva Organic Agave syrup which is gluten-free and a healthy alternative to sugar. Even this has won itself an award as it was voted best Blue Weber Agave Syrup / Nectar by The Spirits Business.

Don’t just take my word for it though, purchase yourself a bottle, have a sip and then create yourself a Margarita that Cleo herself has said you won’t get a hangover from. What more can I say!

You can purchase the range here and the organic agave syrup here.

Check out the rest of the photos, taken at The Liquorists #22 Redbank, via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. 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.

Day of the Dead with Olmeca

Check out the following for some ghoulish fun this halloween involving Olmeca tequila!

Let’s face it – Halloween’s for kids. So this autumn, get on board with the Mexican fever that’s sweeping the UK and celebrate Mexico’s big national holiday, Day of the Dead, with some Latin cocktails from award-winning Tequila, Olmeca Altos. Day of the Dead is one of the biggest dates in the Mexican calendar and is becoming increasingly popular all over the world. To celebrate, Olmeca Altos is linking up with popular Mexican street food chain, Wahaca to host a four-day festival of music, food, art and film at The Old Vic Tunnels in London from 31st October to the 3rd November. Olmeca Altos bartenders will be on hand every night serving delicious Day of the Deadinspired cocktails, so if you haven’t tried Tequila for a while, head down to the Old VicTunnels and sip on an Altos Paloma or give the Altos Mexican Mule a go. Tickets are available from the Old Vic website so snap them up now while you can! If you’re feeling adventurous and fancy being the first of your friends to throw a Day of the Dead party, here’s a selection of easy recipes from Olmeca Altos to help you create some delicious, authentic and colourful cocktails to ensure your Day of the Dead celebrations trump the kids’ Halloween party next door.

Tommy’s Margarita

Tommy’s Margarita

35ml Altos Blanco Tequila
25ml Freshly squeezed lime juice
10ml Agave syrup

Garnish – Lime wheel + jasmine flower

Paloma

35ml Altos Blanco Tequila
15ml Fresh lime juice
1 pinch of sea salt
Top up with grapefruit soda

Glass – Highball, on the rocks

Garnish – Lime wedge

Jasmine Margarita Punch (serve 2)

35ml Altos Blanco
25ml Freshly squeezed lime juice
10ml Agave syrup
150ml Freshly brewed Jasmine tea

Glass

Wine glass, on the rocks

Garnish

Lime wheel/ jasmine flower

The Liquorists Tequila Trail Review

Last week I took part in the latest installment of the hugely popular spirit trails hosted by the ever knowledgeable The Liquorists, with this night focusing on that sometimes forgotten category – tequila. A ‘veteran’ so to speak of these trails (I’m now on eight and counting – living up to my Drinks Enthusiast name!) With five bars to view and five tequila brands to explore, you could sense both an air of excitement and worry as the gathering learnt about the history of tequila from Tom Sneesby, whilst having the nagging thought of ‘will he be bringing out the salt and lemon’??

Starting off at The Liqourists HQ, #22Redbank , we were treated to one of the more well-known brands of the tequila world – Jose Cuervo. However instead of the standard gold and silver liquids you find in most pubs and clubs, we were to be on the good stuff, the Tradicional. Coming with a slight harshness on the nose, it softened nicely until it hit your palate. A short, sharp but fresh blast set you up nicely for the complimenting cocktail, the traditional and classic Margarita. Served up by Jody Monteith, the simple blend of triple sec, agave syrup and a double dose of Jose Cuervo Tradicional went down as quickly as the food – barbequed sweet corn, tacos and nacho pots with lashings of salsa, guacamole and cheese.

A short taxi ride to Apotheca, a bar that is no stranger to hosting a spirits trail, had Don Julio Reposado waiting for us. The first luxury tequila to hit the spirit market gave the gathering a sense of the difference that tequila can offer between Blanco, Reposado, Anejo and Extra Anejo. As you can imagine, the ‘rested’ tequila (meaning it has been aged for a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels) had a little more sweetness to it, with a spice which went well with our Mango and Rosemary Margarita complete with a rosemary salt rim.

Tabatio Anejo Blanco at Kosmonaut

El Jimador Blanco was to be the next offering in one of Manchester’s favourite bars – Socio Rehab. Comparing the El Jimador to our starter brand of Jose Cuervo, the El Jimador created a more peppery nose but a mouth-watering palate which balanced well against the Paloma cocktail created by Manchester’s finest and involving pink and white grapefruit. Hula shook the night up though with their blanco brand Casa Herradura Plata. Complete with a Tommys Margarita that uses agave nectar for a twist on the classic, the soft nose counteracted the spice start on the palate, but re-wrote the rules on longevity.

Last but not by any means least, the new addition to the Manchester bar scene was to be showcasing Tabatio Anejo as Kosmonaut came complete with a long cocktail of tequila sweetened with the ever favourite crème de cassis.

As mentioned before, I’m a veteran of these trails, but can easily say i still get rather giddy when these approach, especially when it involves brands that even I have never got round to trying. It’s also introduced me to Kosmonaut and taken me to old haunts which make you truly appreciate that these bars really know what they’re doing on a wider scale when on the topic of spirits. As for The Liquorists though – well, 5 cocktails, 5 venues, 5 spirits with food thrown in? You’ll be foolish not too. GET ON THEM

Check out the rest of the photos via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. 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.

Calle 23 Tasting Notes

Drinks Enthusiast has lately been expanding out into the category of Tequila, with Calle 23 the first to grace the pages.

Not many consumers choose tequila as their drink of choice, unless it’s mixed in a margarita or tequila sunrise, and it probably gives many glimpses of nightmare sessions from their youth with lemon and salt, and to be fair I can put my hand up and admit to be a part of that. But these days? Well I only go for the 100% stuff – which means in English ‘the good stuff’!

So a little about tequila and Calle 23 then.

Calle 23 tequila is produced in the Mexican state of Jalisco and more specifically the Highland (or Los Altos region) town of Zapotlanejo. Agaves from the fields between Arandas and Tepatitlan are harvested for their fruitier characteristics compared to the Lowland areas of Mexico which produce more earthy, powerful herbaceous flavours.

Tequila can only be produced from the Agave Tequilana Weber (blue variety) and needs to be between 6 to 9 years to reach full ripeness. From this, there are two options for tequila – the first is tequila mixto which has to contain at least 51% of agave sugars, while the rest can come from another different raw material with sugar cane being the most common. The second is tequila 100% de agave which has to contain 100% of agave sugars and must be not only produced, but also bottled in Mexico. Calle 23 tequila is 100% de agave tequila. There are also three variations of tequila –

The Calle 23 Range

Blanco – usually not aged, ageing time maximum 59 days. Calle 23 Blanco is not aged, to fully express the agave character.

Reposado – ageing time anywhere in between 60 days to 1 year. Calle 23 Reposado is aged for 8 months.

Añejo – ageing time anywhere in between 1 year to max 3 years. Calle 23 Añejo is aged for 16 months.

So after deciding where the tequila should be produced, how does it differ from other productions of spirits?

The whole 100% agave Tequila process has to follow the following steps:

Harvesting – the plants are harvested by skilled “Jimadores”. The process is fully manual, only with the help of a tool called “Coa”.

Cooking – agave plants are slowly cooked, and this can happen either in stone ovens or in stainless steel autoclaves. Calle 23 tequila slowly cooks its agaves in stainless steel autoclaves for 7 hours, then lets the temperature drop down for 3 more hours. This manages to get the heart of the agave cooked and the outside of the plant not overcooked or burned.

Milling – agave plants are milled after the cooking to extract the fermentable juice from them.

Fermenting – the extracted juice is fermented either in wooden tanks or in stainless steel tanks. Calle 23 tequila uses stainless steel tanks and uses different yeasts depending on the style of tequila to achieve: different from Blanco and Añejo, to the Reposado.

Blanco has been created with 2 specific yeasts allowing the agave flavour to express itself the best. For Reposado, one yeast is in common with the Blanco and Añejo, and one yeast is different in order to enhance the balance between agave & spiciness given by the initial tequila, and the slight wood character given by the aging. In the Añejo, wood being a major component of the final tequila, importance has been to focus back on the agave character of the initial tequila put in the barrel, yeasts used are the same as in the Blanco.

Distilling – the fermented juice goes now through a double distillation process. Calle 23 tequila distills in stainless steel pot stills, made with copper serpentine inside the still.

Bottling or Ageing – depending the final tequila to achieve, the distillate can be either bottled or find its place in oak barrels.

Calle 23 Blanco – distilled to aprox. 54% abv and diluted with distillery well water down to 40% abv. and bottled.
Calle 23 Reposado – distilled to aprox. 54% abv and aged in ex bourbon casks for 8 months. When perfect rest is reached, tequila is diluted with distillery well water down to 40% abv. and bottled.
Calle 23 Añejo – distilled to aprox. 54% abv and aged in ex bourbon casks for 16 months. When perfect rest is reached, tequila is diluted with distillery well water down to 40% abv. and bottled.

Calle 23 tequila is the brainchild of Sophie Decobecq, a French-born biochemist, which after her experience in South Africa following and taking care of agave spirit production, fell in love with Mexico, with tequila and with the whole aura of traditions and myths around it. She moved to Mexico 8 years ago, and used her expertise to develop what her and her team define “the tequila they could drink for breakfast, lunch, dinner and goodnight cure”. Having launched in 2009, Calle 23 has already won awards including Double Gold for the Añejo at 2009 San Francisco Spirits Competition, gold medal for the Reposado and bronze medal for the Blanco, Best New Product at CLASS Awards 2010 and ‘Chairman Trophy’ at the US Ultimate Spirits Competition.

So after all that, i give to you my tasting notes on each –

Calle 23 Blanco – 40%

Fresh, subtle and ripe on the nose, but a rather short hit on the palate, yet smooth and velvety is a bolder characteristic to enjoy.

Calle 23 Reposado – 40%

Strong, almost herbal and medicinal notes on the nose, but a smooth palate with a hit of sweetness before a short finish.

Calle 23 Añejo – 40%

Sweet with a slight caramel and fudge aroma on the nose, very smooth and almost creamy on the palate with a short finish.

All three varieties can be sipped over ice, and of course in many a margarita, but have you tried this instead?

Gold Rush

Gold Rush

Glass –

Martini

Ingredients –

50ml Calle 23 Blanco
10ml Galliano L’Autentico
100ml fresh Pineapple juice
20ml fresh lime
12.5ml suagr syrup
1 basil leaf

Method –

Shake vigorously all the ingredients with ice. Double strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with pink grapefruit on the rim.

Check out the Calle 23 website here, and if your in the UK, you can purchase Calle 23 via Amathus.

Take a look at the rest of the photos from my shoot at Dawnvale Leisure Interior Solutions via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. 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.

24 Days of Christmas Cocktails – Day 15

Nearly on the home stretch now, and we have Patrón tequila leading the way!

The Bell Tolls

Day 15 – The Bell Tolls – Patrón

Glass –

Rocks glass

Ingredients –

60ml Patrón Añejo
25ml herbal liqueur
50ml white grapefruit juice
15ml cane syrup

Method –

Combine all ingredients into an ice-filled shaker, shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.

Garnish with a sprig of Thai basil.

 

Each day for the next 9 days their will be a different christmas cocktail added to the site, so sign yourself up to be the first to find out! Make sure you follow me on Twitter (and the hash tag #24daysofchristmascocktails) or Facebook for instant updates.

 

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. 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.

Funkin Puree Passion Fruit Margarita & Cosmopolitan Tasting Notes

Funkin Puree are a well-known brand of fruit purees commonly used in most bars and restaurants. When I contacted Funkin regarding the use of their purees back when I worked at Casa Tapas, they sent me 3 ready-to-serve pouches to try – Cosmopolitan, Mojito and Passion Fruit Margarita. The Mojito pouch has unfortunately long gone but today I review the other two classics.

Passion Fruit Margarita –

Funkin Puree Passion Fruit Margarita

I mixed the pouch with 1 25ml shot of Jose Cuervo Silver and stirred in a high-ball glass. As you can see by the picture, the cocktail would look a lot better with more ice in it – I only used two cubes for a short drink. As you can imagine, the distinctive smell of passion fruit hits your nostrils straight away and it seems to mask the tequila aroma. Upon taste there was a subtle sweet passion fruit texture until it hits your throat where it seems to release itself on your senses. You get the slight kick of the tequila but the mixer seems to subtly over-power it and I think it works well.

If you were to choose a tequila to go with the Passion Fruit or even the classic Margartia they have, try to edge for the silver variety. I think gold tequila may clash a little too much with the mix and take the enjoyment away from you.

 

 

Cosmopolitan –

Funkin Puree Cosmopolitan

This was hard to put my thumb on. The taste gave me a slight cranberry and lime on the palate, yet no hint of vodka (although admittedly that may have to do with the choice of the only open bottle of vodka I had – Co-op Imperial). The aromas gave off the same ingredients, yet they seem to mix quite well together. Don’t understand? I think what I’m trying to say is that it’s not the same Cosmopolitan you would order in a bar, and it doesn’t look like one either. But if you did a blind tasting of this, although a little thicker in texture, the only drink you would think is the Cosmo. I think it’s a hard drink to master in a puree style, it’s a little delicate if ordered fresh and is well-known to a lot of people. But I think they have just about done it. Its well worth a try, even if it’s just to check off your drinks list.

You can purchase the whole range of Funkin Purees here including Pina Colada, Daiquiri, Woo Woo and Bramble – http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/nlpdetail.php?prodid=5007