From the top bartenders to drink makers at home, here are some of the best-kept secrets to help you up your agave-based cocktail game immediately as summer heats up.
Got (Coconut Water) Syrup Game?
Yes, the sweetener in your agave-based drinks will likely define how you first interpret the recipe. Our brain is so well trained to detect sweetness early. Everything else that follows is typically forgotten or takes second place.
But not all sweetness is created equal. The reason bartenders experiment with demerara, white, agave, maple, and other sugars is that it provides variety, as it can be prepared at different dilution points, for example.
Maceration is another technique we follow a lot these days. However, syrups are typically more precise to work with and offer endless possibilities for mixing. Keep experimenting!
Starting with the underlying assumption that syrups are mixed 1:1 (equal parts of granular sugar + water), you can begin to create variations that fit both the palate and the occasion.
The CM 2:1 Demerara Coconut Water Syrup
3/4 cup coconut water
1 cup demerara
½ teaspoon extra virgin coconut oil (for aroma)
In this version, we’re mixing demerara sugar with coconut water at slightly imbalanced proportions. It results in a syrup with an earthy aroma, which can be added to a margarita or any agave recipe calling for sweetness (not all do!).
Since the coconut water has a high sugar content of its own, we scale back from the 1:1 ratio to account for the extra sweetness. This syrup works well for drinks that require more dilution, like stirred cocktails.
Mix the ingredients in a clean, well washed small pot or kettle (you don’t want your syrup to taste like last night’s onion soup). Cook over low-medium heat until solids are dissolved. The oil is entirely optional, though, as it is added for increased aromatics. The small amount won’t be detectable in a mixed cocktail other than by scent.
Spice Up the Margarita, or Whatever Else You’re Cooking
Some of us were born with the unique talent of ingesting hot peppers without showing any sort of remorse after the fact. If you’re like me, you’re washing your hands like crazy after touching some of these fiery vegetables while experimenting with them in different types of spirited agave drinks.
For beginners, we’re personally huge fans of the serrano pepper, but some can go beyond that without much trouble. We found this to be an excellent guide in exploring Mexican chiles to complement the drink recipes you may have in mind. If you’re a fan of heat, you can’t go wrong. And there’s always room to increase the heat if you’re unsatisfied.
The jalapeno is the standard for anyone who’s enjoyed a spicy margarita, and habaneros add life and color to any recipe. Chile arbol is our absolute favorite; chipotle, a close second. Still, these are only a few among so many distinct options.
Build Recipes Using Seasonal Flavors You Love
Adding seasonal fruits is an easy way to add flavors you love to proven recipes mastered over time. That simple margarita everyone always compliments you on will be up for a second round of praise with a simple twist or addition that subtly changes the drink’s entire character.
A simple strawberry, when muddled into a margarita, will add color, tartness and structure to the final mix. These days, we’ve been digging the early summer vibes with plenty of seasonal fruits. We have started to macerate them into our mix before shaking it or simply diluting the fruit into a lovely syrup. Here are some ideas:
Tequila and mezcal can be easily combined to create an entirely different category of agave-based spirits. We’ve seen a lot of margaritas topped with mezcal, but that’s scratching the surface for what the two agave distillates can do together. Nonetheless, it’s so much fun to begin a margarita with a splash of good mezcal and feel the taste dissipate into the mouth as the drink goes down. Who’s thirsty?
Mezcal typically ranges much further than tequila, so the possibilities are endless when you start familiarizing yourself with the options. Due to its less limited geography and innovative aging techniques, you are left with several options, like the youthful joven and the more mature espadin expressions. They exemplify the range of the category and what it can do to a simple drink recipe.
Now, Pause for A Drink
Putting some of these tips together in an innovative riff to our beloved Oaxacan Old Fashioned is quite easy. These small variations are ultimately a few of the building blocks you can use right now to put together a better drink than you did last time.
Mix tequila, bitters, and syrup and cracked ice, diluting well for about 45 seconds. Transfer to your chosen vessel over a large cube of ice, previously laced with salt. Garnish with a dry chile arbol.
This is a simple drink featuring our most aged expression, with one year of cask time. Two sips in, and we’re reminded that we may be at a proverbial fork in the road.
Let’s face it: 2020 has been full of surprises and a great time of reflection. Continuous improvement has room in every aspect of our lives. Whichever task, skill, hobby or chore we’ve been putting off, this time has given us all a moment to reflect and reassess…we hope that you’ve used this time to do something better. If not, there’s always room for improvement the next time.
For our service professionals everywhere, we stand with you. Thank you for the tips, we hope to come to see you all soon.
Did you know that tequila has some of the toughest regulations in the liquor industry? It can only be made in certain parts of Mexico including the area surrounding the city of Tequila –– the states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit and Tamaulipas. Many standards of regulation have to be followed in order for blue agave based spirits to be labeled ‘tequila’. And in addition to the plant being grown in the ‘tequila’ approved regions of Mexico, the Tequila Regulatory Council holds tight regulations over all other parts of the production as well. These tight regulations are part of what make tequila one of the best liquors to sip on or mix with (in our opinion). So it’s no surprise that many people hop on Google to learn more about tequila.
And if you’re an avid tequila drinker like us, you may know that there are three main types of tequila: Silver, Reposado and Añejo. But do you know the difference in these tequilas and what they’re best suited for? There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the different types of tequila: Silver, Reposado and Añejo. A very short answer in the difference between Silver, Reposado and Añejo is how long the tequila has been aged for. But there’s so much more to learn about the different types of tequila.
Keep on reading if you’ve ever asked the question(s):
And we’ll answer everything for you (and then some)!
What is Añejo Tequila?
When most people think about tequila, they probably aren’t thinking of an aged spirit with hints of vanilla, caramel and spices. But by definition, añejo is a tequila that has been aged for a minimum of 12 months in oak barrels, creating a gorgeous amber hue. The aging process creates a tequila that is bolder and richer than Reposado tequila or Silver tequila. Because of this, they’re typically sipped neat rather or served over ice rather than mixed into cocktails.
What Makes Casa Mexico Añejo the Best Añejo Tequila?
Slowly baked in clay ovens, naturally fermented and double-distilled in stainless steel pot stills, our finished product then rests for a minimum of 12 months in new American White Oak barrels. This transformation allows the product to obtain its exceptional taste and caramel hue through natural processes.
Tequila aficionados appreciate the initial caramel notes and subsequent smooth oak flavors that are produced by this uniquely nuanced spirit. This expression is best served neat or with a minimal amount of ice.
What is Reposado Tequila?
Reposado means “rested” (or literally, “restful”) in Spanish, and reposado tequila rests anywhere from two months to a year before they’re bottled. Reposados take on the gold or straw yellow hue from the barrels in which they are aged, which are typically oak or white oak barrels. The type of barrel changes the flavor of each distillery’s tequila, but typically, you can expect a mellow flavor with hints of oak. Reposado tequilas are often used in premium mixed drinks or are great for a shot.
What Makes Casa Mexico Reposado the best Reposado Tequila?
Slowly baked in clay ovens, naturally fermented and double-distilled in stainless steel pot stills, our finished product then rests for a minimum of 6 months in new American White Oak barrels. This transformation allows the product to obtain its exceptional taste and golden hue through natural processes.
The sweet and subtle ginger notes, followed by a slight oak finish and hints of cinnamon, delightfully awaken your palate. Our reposado is suitable for sipping or as the foundation for your favorite tequila-based cocktails.
Is Anejo Tequila Better than Reposado?
It’s not that one’s better than the other, they’re just different. It’s all based on your personal preference and what you’re using the tequila for. Keep reading to learn the main differences.
Anejo and reposado are different tequila in their fermentation, color and flavor notes. The main difference between Anejo tequila and Reposado tequila is the aging period. Anejo means “old” or “vintage” in Spanish, while reposado means “rested”. Anejo is aged for a minimum of one year and up to three while reposado is aged for a minimum of two months.
And then there are the barrels. Anejo is aged in small barrels that hold up to 600 liters while Reposado is aged in barrels that hold up to 20,000 liters. Oak from the United States, Canada and France are usually preferred in making Reposado. Some tequila companies use other barrels that are typically used to age wine, whiskey and scotch while others use charred oak barrels to achieve a smokier flavor.
Anejo barrels typically come from Jack Daniels barrels or whiskey or bourbon distilleries. Because Anejo is more aged than Reposado, it creates a more complex flavor and tasting notes.
Anejo is also darker and more caramelized in tone than Reposado because of the aging process. Reposado has a straw yellow color compared to the brownish caramel hue (or darker yellow hue) of Añejo.
What is Silver Tequila?
Silver Tequila is an unaged tequila that is usually bottled and packaged immediately after being distilled. However, some distillers prefer for the spirit to settle and finish for a couple or a few weeks in the tanks before they bottle and package it. In essence, this tequila is in its purest form and features the truest flavors of the blue agave since it has not been aged. This is why some distillers call Silver tequila “the essence of tequila” because it offers the taster the most genuine, unadulterated appeal of the blue agave.
Silver Tequilas are Great for Mixed Drinks
Because Silver Tequilas are not aged, they are usually less expensive than Reposado or Añejo. That’s why they’re great for mixed drinks and margaritas. However, our Silver Tequila is also a great sipper –– read more about the Casa Mexico Silver below.
What Makes Casa Mexico Silver the Best Silver Tequila?
Slowly baked in clay ovens, naturally fermented and double-distilled in stainless steel pot stills, our finished product presents as a remarkably smooth crystal-clear spirit. Each sip reveals graceful earth tones, followed by crisp sweet citrus, finishing with hints of spice. It is suitable both for sipping or as the foundation for your favorite tequila-based cocktail.
As of October 28th, 2005, Extra Añejo tequila is the newest classification of tequila by the National Committee on Standardization. The difference between Extra Añejo and Añejo is that Extra Añejo has been aged for at least three years. However, it is not required to specify the aging time in the label. Like Añejo, it’s aged in oak barrels with a maximum capacity of 600 liters. And it’s alcohol percentage has to be lowered by diluted water. So, it’s almost the same as Añejo, except that instead of requiring a minimum of one year of aging, it requires a minimum of three years. And this ultra-aged tequila is darker in color than añejo with a dark mahogany shade. Casa Mexico Tequila does not currently produce an Extra Añejo tequila.
Gold Tequila (Joven Tequila)
Gold Tequila is sometimes coined “Joven Tequila”. If you took Spanish up to the 5th grade at least, then you’ll probably know that joven means “young” in Spanish. This tequila is known as gold tequila because of the golden color that the liquor has because of flavoring agents including sugar, oak tree extracts and caramel coloring before it is bottled. But, gold tequila can also be the combination of blending unaged Blanco (Silver) tequila with aged (Añejo Tequila) or even Extra Añejo tequila. Gold tequila isn’t as popular as Silver, Reposado and Añejo. But it’s typically best used for mixed drinks or margaritas as it’s generally less expensive. Casa Mexico Tequila does not currently produce a Gold Tequila.
Not All Tequilas are Created Equally
After reading this, you now know that not all tequilas are created equally. The three main types –– Silver, Reposado and Anejo –– differ in taste, smell, hue, texture and more. While some tequilas are made for mixing or producing the perfect margarita, others are made to be savored and enjoyed on their own. Now that you’ve been educated in tequila, it’s time to make a toast to your new knowledge! Head over to our Shop page to purchase any Casa Mexico tequila online. ¡Salud!
About Casa Mexico Tequila
Casa Mexico Tequila is a tequila company that produces a Silver, Reposado and Añejo tequila. Owner Don Buccio’s journey into tequila production began when he purchased some of the highest quality agave plants in Jalisco, Mexico. He has spent the last 20+ years perfecting his vision of creating a unique, yet authentic, premium agave spirit. Casa México Tequila encompasses our founder’s love for both Mexican culture and his family heritage — Rich in history. Rooted in tradition.
Looking For A Healthy Alternative to the Margarita?
Though we always advocate for moderation, we see no reason why a fruit-based cocktail can’t also include additional ingredients that also make you feel good and alive.
A Masterclass for the Soul
We connected with Beverage Director for The Madera Group Global in Los Angeles, Charity Jonhston, who wanted to put together a Masterclass for her friends to educate the group on how to make tequila drinks with a healthier appeal. Charity, a native of Los Angeles, has been instrumental in the rise of tequila and mezcal in the Southland. She leaves a mark wherever you can find her cocktails, most recently, even to-go. The agave-based recipes she created were filled with flavor and displayed meticulous presentation.
Right before our world moved indoors, Charity got together with her close friends who were looking for a way they could enjoy premium, fresh-made Margaritas poolside, not relying on pre-mixed sweet and sour, which act as a shortcut for those still conquering craft drinks in the comfort of their homes. You’re typically also spending more time making the drink than enjoying it, especially when four people want drinks.
What About Spirulina – 5 great benefits!
Charity has always believed that any opportunity to drink is also an opportunity to introduce health benefits and tips to the consumer. For this recipe, she introduced Spirulina used as a binding agent and for its excellent health benefits. Why?
Spirulina adds often needed balance from its briny notes, similar to a saline solution.
It is particularly rich in minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium;
It is a complete protein and a source of healthy fats.
The blue-green algae’s color comes from chlorophyll, a detoxifier found in all green plants.
The blue comes from phycocyanin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant that is also known to increase the growth of stem cells.
Spirulina is no stranger to cocktail recipes, and it’s a commonly used ingredient among juicers, and has been for ages. Be sure to watch for quality when purchasing as there are many brands of Spirulina out there, but not all Spirulina should be created equally!
Time Management – Bartender’s Most Important Skill
Nobody likes waiting too long these days, and the goal is typically to avoid spending an hour in the kitchen to yield a single round of drinks. In such cases, one can’t even enjoy their drink without someone saying they are ready for another one, and it’s back to the grind—and a bartender never says no to another round. In that vein, every bartender’s goal should be to look for ways to be efficient while remaining engaged with the rest of the crowd.
Relying on The Senses to Get it Right Every Time
If you’re making 10-15 drinks per hour, you probably shouldn’t have a taste of every single one. You must rely on tact and visual cues instead, which takes a lot of practice. Such as ice pebbles becoming less noticeable while dilution accelerates without chilling further. Sound can even tell you when a drink is ready.
“I can almost hear it when dilution needs to stop.” – Charity Johnston – Beverage Director
Tools of the Trade
A muddler, a cocktail shaker, tongs, and a jigger. Are all these things really necessary? Maybe not, but having the right tools will help with the efficiency and consistency of flavors. When prepared with the right tools, the outcome should be easier to attain.
Some of these tools require practice and have their share of quirks. Bartenders develop a sense of comfort with these tools, often learning when and how to demand more from each instrument.
What makes a good cook, bartender or craftswoman, is an obsession with detail and a deep connection to the senses. Much like our founders, Charity is continuously looking for innovative barware that can help her staff replicate her recipes every time, with minimal variability.
Off Script: A choice for Cucumber, Reposado Tequila, and Amaro
In movies, often, actors go off-script to produce the best results. Think of drink recipes as a script. Most people think clear tequila is a requirement for a margarita, but we also love Reposado as it can provide an extra layer of depth to a simple drink recipe.
Cucumbers tend to be earthy, refreshing, and delicious with highland tequila. Tequila from Los Altos benefits from a richer soil and a green-grass exuberance, and in the Tequila Valley yields more earthy and floral sensations.
This recipe also opens up the possibility to include an Amaro (a type of fortified wine) to the drink instead of commonly used Triple Sec or other orange liqueurs. Amaro, meaning bitter, makes the cocktail a little more refreshing and earthy.
Fun Fact: Amaro was once used for medicinal purposes.
Thirsty yet? Here is the recipe for one if you’re just in the mood for a quick and refreshing drink.
By way of Jalisco, Mexico, a smooth, deceptively ‘light on its feet,’ tequila-based cocktail proves a knockout success within East Los Angeles’ bar culture.
A Legend Is Born
The Golden Boy is a punchy cocktail, meticulously crafted by innovative bartender Dan Rook, that pays homage to boxing legend, Oscar De La Hoya. A career mixologist, Dan – much like Oscar – has fought his way through the ranks to become a nationally recognized figure within his industry. Having begun his trade slinging drinks in Chicago pubs, Dan recently left the Windy City for Hollywood’s bright lights with a sole mission: to educate Angelenos in the art of mixology and authentic craft cocktails that transcend the ordinary.
Cocktails are the product of a specialized craft that, like boxing, requires dedication, focus, and daily practice. Just as De La Hoya’s story epitomizes the spirit and tenacity of hard-working Angelenos, The Golden Boy cocktail represents a labor of love born of the same grit and raw determination.
Garcia, also a native of East Los Angeles, carries an impressive undefeated record at the early age of 21. As a talented businessman, Oscar is always looking to those who can exuberate the qualities he often saw in himself.
Oscar De La Hoya will forever be a part of the pantheon of all-time boxing greats. A generational trailblazer for the sport, De La Hoya won titles in 6 different weight classes and a gold medal in 1992. After retirement from the rings, De La Hoya went on to become a legendary promoter and business entrepreneur. Today, he is a role model for young people everywhere who have to work vigorously to beat the odds stacked against them.
‘I owe everything to my cultural heritage, how I grew up, where I grew up, and the values my parents instilled in us, which I still live by. To this day, I work as hard as I can every single day, but make sure I’m always well balanced and happy.’- Oscar de la Hoya
A Flip Expression: Fiery, Well Balanced, and Happy
When trying to emulate such a man in an iteration of a craft cocktail, one should consider his DNA – examine what makes him tick. Many good tequila-based cocktails build their flavor profile from a well-balanced canvas of agave nectar, tequila, and lime. As the 2002 title bout against Fernando Vargas taught us, De La Hoya is a fiery fighter, a trait Dan expressed through the heavy influences of cinnamon and spice in our bitters and chocolate shavings.
A flip, differs from a sour, as it includes the entire egg – the yolk plus the whites. It’s an exploration of the palate, through texture and accentuated sour notes – which is one of the reasons why Dan Rook loves flips. He has been a skillful artist at recreating classic recipes with an unexpected spin. This creation will be no surprise to those who have followed Dan throughout his career (in some of the top establishments in Chicago and Los Angeles).
Choosing the Right Tequila – a lightly aged Reposado
There are advantages to using a Reposado to mix with agave and lime, as compared to drinks employing Reposado’s more youthful relative, the Blanco.
An old bartender once said that your shade of tequila should match the time of the day you’re imbibing it. The earlier, the clearer? That’s one approach, but in this case, the Reposado’s light profile of cinnamon makes it most suitable for what Dan’s trying to emulate. Oak aging, even for a mere six months, will do wonders to open tequila’s minerality, indicating the highland agave used in the distillery process.
In the end, you want to leave the drinker speechless, free of any preconceived notion they might hold against trying something light and novel.
Touch of Spice and Melancholia: Shaved Abuelita Chocolate
Most Mexican pan dulce recipes will ask for some cinnamon, and the combination of the spicy Firewater Bitters, and silkiness of the egg make a perfect pair. Plus, the Mexican chocolate shavings garnished on top make The Golden Boy a sweet afternoon pick-me-up. Flips offer a delightful dessert alternative.
And for those feeling adventurous, one whole premium coffee bean, crushed among the chocolate, can prove to be the energetic boost most of us need towards the end of an arduous battle in the daily ring of life.
When dry shaking, be sure to hold both parts tightly as the air will expand the mixture.
Practice makes perfect. The secret to aerating (by dry shaking) without getting tired quickly is practice, just as a boxer must spar before a big fight. Repetition over time will yield improved results.
Chill your glassware for a minimum of 30 minutes before you plan to use it, but ideally for a few hours whenever possible.
Wait until the last moment to pull your glassware from the refrigerator or freezer to allow for maximum chill.
The Truth About Tequila was first published in 1975 by Gregory Curtis, a writer for Texas Monthly magazine. The article does a fantastic job of the depiction of the early days of tequila in the U.S. dating back to the early 1970s. Most importantly, though, Curtis’ article tells the story of tequila’s origins in Jalisco, Mexico, and the spirit’s journey north of the border.
Almost 50 years later, Curtis’s article still provides one of the most detailed accounts of how blue agave becomes tequila. We wanted to breakdown his findings here but add some further explanations and give an updated story.
All Tequila is Mezcal, but not all Mezcal is Tequila.
We want to get it straight once and for all. Every tequila is categorized as a mezcal, but as the plant used to in tequila isn’t the same plant used in producing mezcal, one cannot say that mezcal is tequila. Production details aside, regions and components for making tequila are very distinct. Much like with fine wines— each has a unique terroir; thus, one mustn’t merely group all agaves.
Agave is not a Cactus By The Way
Another common misnomer, debunked by Curtis, is that the agave plant is not a type of cactus. Agave, which is a succulent, typically retains more liquid towards its roots. Cactus, on the other hand, will yield pulque, not tequila— el maguey. Though many of us not native to Mexico is not expected inherently to know the distinction.
Tequila Drinking Face
“Do you like that stuff straight,” he said, “or should I smooth it out for you?”
“Smooth it out with what?” I said. “You got a wood rasp handy?”
He grinned. I drank a little more of the tequila and made a face.
“Did somebody invent this stuff on purpose?”
— An excerpt From Finger Man by Raymond Chandler as cited in The Truth About Tequila, by Thomas Curtis.
The biggest inspiration for Don Buccio, the founder of Casa México Tequila, was the unfavorable, sour facial expressions made by people right after tasting tequila. It became his mission to develop a high-quality spirit with the simple concept of a smooth, enjoyable tequila.
Don Buccio wants you to know the Truth About His Tequila, Casa Mexico
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood: A Long History of Partnerships
It took both the Spanish colonizer distilling the agave using techniques from the Old World to perfect it, and the wit of influential figures to popularize it in places like the United States.
It’s not common knowledge that famed actor and vocalist, Bing Crosby, saw a demand and an opportunity to import tequila and essentially became a pioneer of agave spirits in the United States. After Crosby, many people of influence followed suit and discovered a deep infatuation with Jalisco and its most secretive destilerías.
Today, it’s a widely accepted belief that for the best jimadors, one must find the road to Jalisco: the road most traveled by influential figures in search of the perfect terroir and tequileros.
The Boom Years Are Here
For a long time, tequila in the U.S. was a scarce commodity and limited to a few large producers. As a result, many Americans have had insufficient exposure and education of agave spirits and their particular nuances.
Nowadays, we’re living in a time that some like to call The Tequila Boom Years. A lot of different varieties and styles are now on the market, and an interest in the history, farming, and culture behind agave spirits has increased in the United States. Long gone are the days when many Americans hadn’t tasted tequila before. ¡Gracias a Dios por eso!
… Baby Boomers Got it All Started
Baby Boomers gave tequila its first rush in America. In 1973, consumption was up to 11 million liters: an increase of about 400% in five years. Rumor has it that The Rolling Stones tour in ’72 was fueled by tequila, particularly in the form of the Tequila Sunrise, recommending to fans that tequila in the morning is not such a bad idea after all. Feeling inspired, young Stones fans founded a tequila movement, loosening up from the constraints of basic beer and whiskey. They turned to tequila during the day for a good time.
And The Best Is Yet To Come
We’ve come a long way from the 1975 account of tequila’s start in the United States, and now, fortunately, there are many varietals and expressions of agave spirits out and available to us in the United States.
The growth in the market was a direct response to the rise in consumer demand over the last few decades.
Much like in other parts of our modern lives, we have come to covet only the best for things that please us (or give us headaches, too, for that matter). You expect the best and the highest caliber, whether it’s from your iPhone or your stockbroker — so of course, you’d only ever want the best from your tequila.
BONUS: The Sangrita is the salt – tequila – lime better alternative
Sangrita is a traditional chaser popular in México and is pretty simple to create with ingredients commonly found in the kitchen. To make sangrita, mix citrus juice (like that of grapefruit, orange or lime) and hot sauce together with a bit of salt and serve on the side. Sangrita provides the drinker a cooling few moments after downing a sip or two of tequila. When in Jalisco, the locals don’t skimp on the hot sauce, and many consider a sangrita chaser as the only method to drink tequila. Don’t misunderstand its purpose, though; the sangrita doesn’t exist to mask the taste of tequila, first to cool off the temperature and accentuate the joven agave notes.
Today we meet Josue Romero, The Garnish Guy from Instagram, to deconstruct one of our favorite drinks: The Margarita. Josue joined us to talk a bit about how to create the perfect version of this popular tequila-based drink, and in this case, using fresh strawberries, brown sugar, and mint. And even though perfection in his world is usually synonymous with complexity and flawless execution, he helped break down a few simple concepts that anyone—from the cocktail novice to the seasoned mixologist— can put in practice to build the perfect margarita every single time.
No Ordinary Margarita
Many elaborate techniques to create complex margaritas exist out there. Yet, lots of folks prefer to keep things simple and stick to a basic calculation of frozen vs. rock and salt, no salt, which is absolutely okay. We, as cocktail enthusiasts, are just pleased people are starting to get comfortable experimenting at home, using garnished rims and playing with a variety of glassware.
The margarita Josue breaks down for us is no ordinary margarita, but then again, Josue is no ordinary bartender. Keep reading to learn the ins-and-outs of how to make his strawberry-mint recipe using Casa Mexico Tequila Blanco.
No tequila cocktail recipe has withstood time as well as the margarita, but some people can be a bit confused as to what goes in it. When someone asks what’s in a margarita, what follows is often an answer consisting of what it tastes like instead of the actual components.
— It’s a sweet and sour adult drink, with some savory flavors and some spice. Then you add tequila.
— Tequila, lime, and salt?
The answer is pretty basic. Tequila is at the center of a four-piece balancing act consisting of sweet, sour, salty, and heat. For many, these flavors— or dimensions,as we can call them— exist to mask the harshness found in many tequilas. This harshness can typically be gauged by looking at the drinker’s face, right before the sweetness and sourness of the other ingredients of the cocktail kick in upon first sip. The smoother the tequila, of course, the smoother the margarita.
To craft the perfect margarita, one must understand that it is imperative to get the proportions right. An imbalanced margarita will rob the other ingredients of a chance to shine. The cardinal rule is 2:1:1—two parts tequila, one part sweet and one part sour. Once you’ve achieved those three elements in these proportions, you are ready to add special touches.
Casa Mexico Blanco
For the tequila, we will be using our Silver, otherwise known as the Blanco expression. It’s categorized as such because it has not gone through an aging process in our American oak barrels; this allows it to boast a crisp, clean taste making it a fantastic base for any of margarita, be it fruity, sweet, or spicy.
Rather than highlighting the spirit itself, the Blanco expression grants a space for all other ingredients to shine and work as a symphony of flavors. Using a different expression would completely change the margarita. Take, for example, our Añejo: it is aged for a year and has notes of nuttiness and smoked oat, which would detract from the other flavors in this particular recipe.
The Strawberry Mint Syrup
Josue is a master at making syrups and shares with us how easy it is to make this one. Getting the syrup right is the most crucial part of this recipe and a bit time consuming, but it can be prepared in batches in advance to save time. We’ll use sugar, water, fresh mint, and strawberries for our ingredients and a muddler, saucepan, and strainer for our tools.
The strawberries need not be huge, and a handful goes a long way. Making syrup is less intimidating than a lot of people assume, think of is as actually just flavoring sugar. We’ll be using a technique called maceration, in which the sugars get dissolved in the fruit with the aid of a muddler and a little bit of boiling water. This technique creates an immediate strawberry mint simple syrup that can be strained and kept for use the next day or so.
Fresh fruit is always the best choice when creating cocktails. Choosing fruit that comes from a squeezable bottle is more costly, bad for the environment, and the taste is typically below standard. Having said that, though, most people struggle with extracting juices direct from the fruit by hand, but there are great tools out on the market to help with this, such as power juicers, citrus reamers, and squeezers.
In Southern California and México, where many of the Casa México Tequila familia reside, it’s a great privilege to have access to fresh citrus year-round. It’s no wonder we can enjoy quality, craft margaritas in all seasons.
For one drink, two limes should yield plenty of juice. If the limes are stubborn and dry, try cooking them a bit to make it easier to extract the juices.
Depending on personal preference, you will want to adjust the amount of pepper used. Having the pepper shaken over ice with the rest of your drink will cause it to shatter by the sharpness of the ice and will allow the powerful spicy notes to incorporate into your margarita. Keep in mind when you’re prepping your pepper that the seeds and the gills (a.k.a. the white parts of the pepper) will contribute to the intensity of the heat, so adjust accordingly.
Pro Tip: Try using a bell pepper to keep things on the milder side, or to try something new! Bell peppers yield an earthy tone that goes quite well with any margarita.
Shake, Pour, Serve
Shaking is the traditional way to mix a margarita so get ready by adding your ingredients proportionately into a vessel (such as a cocktail shaker), and have a salt-rimmed glass nearby for when you’re ready to pour. Be sure to add some large ice to chill your drink at the same time as you mix it, and use large cubes to prevent over-dilution as they will melt slower, keeping your drink fresh.
Shake your concoction intensely, and make your best Brian Flanagan impression. Once you feel the vessel is cold to the touch, you’ll know that the ingredients have mixed well enough and have chilled thoroughly. Next, add fresh ice cubes into your glass and pour in your cocktail, straining out the old ice cubes.
Don’t forget the garnish! Garnishing with aromatic sprigs of mint will help to play with the senses while releasing more of the flavors into the drink as it is consumed.
If you want to make a large batch, this recipe can be executed in stages which can easily be made up to a day before to save on time.
Enjoy responsibly. ¡Salud!
The Strawberry Mint Margarita
Yield Makes 2 servings
4 oz. Casa Mexico Blanco Tequila
2 oz. strawberry mint syrup
2 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 pepper of choice, chopped (we used a serrano pepper)
Run lime wedge around the outer rims of two rocks glasses and dip rims in salt. Set aside.
In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, strawberry mint syrup, lime juice, and pepper.
Fill with ice and shake until thoroughly chilled, about 15 seconds (the bottom of a metal shaker should frost over).
Fill glasses with fresh ice and strain margarita into both glasses. Garnish with fresh mint and strawberries if desired and serve.
For the syrup:
8 strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 sprigs of fresh mint
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
Combine strawberries, fresh mint, brown sugar, and boiling water in a ceramic bowl and muddle slightly to mix.
Steep for a few minutes, then muddle a bit more to incorporate the ingredients.
Pour syrup into a jar through a mesh strainer and let cool.
Hoy nos reunimos con Josue Romero, The Garnish Guy de Instagram, para crear una de nuestras bebidas favoritas: la Margarita. Josue se reunió con nosotros para hablar un poco sobre cómo crear la versión perfecta de la popular bebida a base de tequila, en este caso, usando fresas frescas, azúcar morena y menta. Y aunque la perfección en su mundo suele ser sinónimo de complejidad y ejecución impecable, hubo algunos conceptos simples que cualquiera puede poner en práctica para construir la Margarita Perfecta.
Margarita poco ordinaria
Aunque existen varias técnicas muy elaboradas para crear diferentes tipos de margaritas, la mayoría se basa en la típica congelada vs en las rocas y sal vs sin sal, ¡y eso está bien!
Estamos felices de que la gente ahora esté experimentando, utilizando vasos escarchados con Tajin y servidos en diferentes tipos de vasos.
Esta no es una margarita ordinaria, pero Josue no es un barman ordinario. Durante nuestro tiempo juntos observamos y aprendimos sobre los enigmas de cómo hacer una receta de fresa y menta, mezclados en dos onzas de Tequila Blanco de Casa México.
Por cierto; ¿que hay en una margarita?
Ninguna receta basada en tequila ha perdurado por mucho tiempo, así sucede con la encantadora margarita. Cuando alguien pregunta ¿qué hay en una margarita? típicamente la respuesta consiste en cuál es su sabor, y no realmente qué es o qué contiene.
– Es una bebida agridulce para adultos, con algunos sabores salados y algunas especias. Luego agregas tequila.
– Tequila? Limón + Sal?
El tequila se encuentra en el centro de estos cuatro valores de equilibrio: dulce, agrio, salado y picante, e incluso las personas menos conocedoras de Margaritas lo saben. Para muchos, estos sabores, simplemente existen para enmascarar el sabor del tequila, muchas veces representado como propiedades maléficas, que se puede descubrir mirando las caras de las personas, justo antes de que el dulce y el cítrico de los otros ingredientes entren en acción.
Las proporciones son importantes
También es extremadamente importante obtener las proporciones correctas. Una margarita desequilibrada les robará a los otros ingredientes la oportunidad de sobresalir. Entonces, la regla esencial es 2-1-1 (2 onzas de Tequila + 1 parte dulce + 1 parte agria). Con esta base estás listo para agregar tus toques especiales.
Elegir el tequila correcto es imprescindible para el éxito.
Casa Mexico Blanco
De nuestros Tequilas utilizaremos el Blanco, lo que significa que no ha pasado por proceso de maduración en nuestras barricas de roble americano. El Anejo, por ejemplo, es madurado durante al menos 12 meses, dando como resultado un sabor con notas de roble y cuero, que, en esta receta estamos tratando de evitar.
Nota: El Tequila Blanco es perfecto para fruta fresca y margaritas picantes.
Hay muchos otros elementos para resaltar. Hemos incluido chile que es algo que cambiará por completo la receta. Una porción de tequila blanco es nítida y como un lienzo en blanco en el que estamos tratando de resaltar el perfil del Tequila en sí mismo.
Jarabe de fresa y menta
Josue es experto en hacer jarabes y comparte lo fácil que es hacerlo. Este es el paso más importante en la receta y puede tomar algo de tiempo, pero se puede preparar con anticipación.
Nuestras fresas no deberían ser enormes, y realmente no necesitas muchas. Simplemente está condimentando el azúcar, utilizando una técnica llamada maceración, en la cual los azúcares se disuelven en la fruta con la ayuda de un machacador y un poco de agua hirviendo, esto crea un jarabe simple de menta de fresa que se puede colar y guardar para una fiesta al día siguiente.
Nuestro jarabe está listo.
No hace falta aclarar que la fruta que usará en tus bebidas debe ser fresca y no debe provenir de una botella. En realidad, es más costosa y el sabor suele ser de menor calidad y por debajo de nuestras expectativas. La mayoría de nosotros luchamos exprimiendo jugos, pero hay excelentes opciones que nos pueden ayudar en la cocina.
En el sur de California y México, es un gran privilegio tener acceso a cítricos frescos, por lo que tiene sentido que la bebida haya sido tan popular durante tanto tiempo.
Dos limones deberían ser suficiente para preparar una bebida o dos. Por lo general son fáciles de exprimir. Si estuviesen secos, intenta calentarlos un poco antes de exprimirlos, seguramente extraerás más jugo.
Dependiendo de qué tan picosa te guste tu bebida, deberás ajustar la cantidad de picante que te gustaría usar. El tener el chile sobre hielo junto con el resto de su bebida hará que el hielo libere las notas de especias que se incorporarán a tu bebida. Entonces, las semillas y las venas (partes blancas del chile) agregarán mucho sabor, así que ajústelas a su gusto.
Intenta usar un chile poco picante, seguirá dando un tono salvaje que combina bastante bien con cualquier margarita.
Agitar, Verter, Servir
Es tiempo de agitar con un hielo grande para evitar una dilución excesiva mientras se enfría la bebida al máximo. Agitar es la forma apropiada de mezclar una margarita servido en un vaso alto con hielo y escarchado con sal agregará los toques finales a esta MARGARITA PERFECTA. Decorar con menta aromática es lo más apropiado, ya que jugará con los sentidos mientras libera más sabores en la bebida a medida que la vas consumiendo. Además, la hierba verde es un paralelo perfecto para la fresa roja y el tequila cristalino.
Aunque la receta es un poco elaborada, se puede realizar por etapas y debe producir más de un vaso. Se recomienda prepararlo desde un día antes.
Disfruta con responsabilidad. ¡Salud!
Margarita de fresa y menta
Puede servir hasta cuatro margaritas con esta receta.
2 onzas. Casa Mexico Blanco
1 onza. Jarabe de fresa y menta
1 onza. Jugo de limón recién exprimido
1 chile de tu elección (Serrano)
Para el jarabe:
1/2 taza de azúcar morena
1/2 taza de agua hirviendo
Mezcla el azúcar y corta las fresas en agua caliente. Déjalo reposar antes de colar.
Agrega cubos de hielo grandes a la coctelera, agita bien. Sírvase en un vaso alto con hielo. Decora con menta.
Agrega menta fresca. Abofetear las hojas liberará parte del atractivo aromático de la menta.
El azúcar morena es menos procesada y tiene mucho más sabor.
Al momento de agregar el azúcar a la fruta, empapa la fruta macerada con otra parte igual de agua hirviendo y déjela reposar un poco.
El agua caliente actuará como un catalizador para liberar todos los sabores de la fresa, la menta y el azúcar.
El ácido de las margaritas generalmente proviene del Limón, aunque la toronja y las limas son una interesante variación.
Prepara con anticipación y almacena el jarabe de menta y fresa para fiestas y reuniones.
Proporción de jarabe y cítricos. Las igualdades en estas partes son un estándar de oro, hay que tratar de ajustar estas porciones ya que algunos azúcares son más dulces y la acidez de la fruta varía mucho.
Agregue un picante diferente su receta con un chile poblano.
Como cantinero, es posible que no pueda probar cada bebida, por lo que es importante entrenar a sus otros sentidos como el olor, el color, las imágenes deben ser parte de la experiencia.