Californians: Cozy Up with Casa Mexico Tequila for the Holiday Season
Check out these 15 Specialty Cocktails Featuring Our Silver Tequila and Anejo Tequila (The Best Anejo Tequila 😉)
In California, residents are on a stay-at-home order (and have been for most of 2020). That means many will be ringing in the New Year on our couches. With bars and restaurants closed, some of us may be feeling nostalgic for our favorite cocktails. If you have extra time at home (we do!), why not try your hand at creating one of your favorite drinks? Or, if you need some inspiration, we’ve put together a list of 15 specialty tequila cocktails that will keep you and your loved ones in high spirits during the holiday season. Dig into this list and purchase a bottle (or two) of our Casa Mexico Silver Tequila or our Anejo Tequila.
The Golden Boy
The Golden Boy is a cocktail inspired by boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya and skillfully crafted by innovative bartender Dan Rook.
Add the ingredients to a tightly sealed shaker and dry shake. The objective is to mix the elements while also aerating them – so shake the shaker as hard and as long as possible.
Fill the shaker with ice and shake until thoroughly chilled, about 15 seconds until the bottom of the metal shaker frosts over. Strain the cocktail into a chilled glass. Then, garnish with shaved chocolate and, if desired, Conchita. Salud!
Be sure to hold both parts of the shaker tightly when dry shaking because the air will expand the mixture.
Ideally, you want to chill your glassware for a couple of hours when you have the time, but a minimum of 30 minutes should suffice if you are short on time.
Leave the glassware in the freezer until the last moment you are ready to pour your cocktails to achieve the maximum chill.
.5 chopped pepper of choice, we like to use a serrano pepper
For rim coating: lime wedge & salt
For garnish: fresh strawberries & minced mint
Rub a lime wedge around the rim of your glass. Dip the rim in salt and then set it aside. Next, combine our Casa Mexico Silver Tequila, lime juice, strawberry mint syrup, and pepper in a cocktail shaker.
Fill the shaker with ice and shake for 15 seconds or until chilled. An excellent way to tell when the shaker is chilled is when the bottom of the shaker frosts over ❄️. Then, fill a glass with ice and strain the margarita into the glass. Garnish with fresh strawberries and minced mint if desired. Cheers!
Strawberry Syrup Ingredients:
8 hulled and sliced strawberries
6 fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup brown sugar
Combine all of your ingredients in a ceramic bowl and lightly muddle to mix. Let the mixture steep for a few minutes, then muddle a bit more to distribute the ingredients evenly. Pour syrup through a strainer into a jar and let cool.
To release some of the herb’s aromatic appeals, you can spank your mint before adding it to your drink. 😉
Use brown sugar because it is less processed than white sugar.
The hot water releases all the flavors from the sugar, mint, and strawberry.
Try substituting the sour component in your margarita – typically lime – with either grapefruit or lemon.
Make a large batch of the strawberry mint syrup the night before you plan to make your strawberry mint margaritas.
Start with equal parts syrup to sour ratio and adjust from there.
Add a little spice to your recipe with a dash of the chopped poblano pepper.
La Bifurca (Proverbial Fork in the Road)
This is a simple drink featuring Casa Mexico’s Anejo – the best anejo tequila. After just a sip or two, we find that we may be at a proverbial fork in the road.
Mix your tequila, bitters, and syrup with crushed ice. Dilute well for about 45 seconds. Add your dash of mezcal over the large cube of ice. Transfer the mixture to your chosen glass with a salted rim over the large cube of ice. Garnish with a dry Chile de Arbol.
¡Feliz Año Nuevo! (Happy New Year)
Light up your New Year with this sparkly and refreshingly fruity cocktail – if you love lemon, pineapple, and blueberries, you’ll want to save this one.
Gently muddle six blueberries in a shaker. Combine the remainder of ingredients except for the prosecco in the shaker with ice and vigorously shake. Double strain into a champagne flute and add a splash of prosecco. Garnish with a blueberry skewer.
Coconut Matcha Madness
Use Casa Mexico Silver Tequila in this creamy, matcha-flavored cocktail.
Splash of coconut water syrup. Click here for our mouthwatering recipe.
Dash of cinnamon
To taste: squeeze of lime for acidity
For garnish: cinnamon stick & grated cinnamon
Build your Coco Matcha Madness in a Collins glass and stir with crushed ice. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and grated cinnamon to taste.
Fun fact: A Collins glass is cylindrical and narrower and taller than a highball glass.
Also a fun fact: If you were scratching your head wondering what a “highball glass” is, it’s a glass tumbler used to serve “tall” cocktails and other mixed drinks that contain a large proportion of a non-alcoholic mixer and are poured over ice. It is often used interchangeably with the Collins glass, although the highball glass is shorter and wider in shape.
This recipe is a rejuvenating blend of hibiscus syrup, watermelon juice, and rosewater that makes for a genuinely New Year-worthy cocktail.
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until cold – double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with grated chocolate.
We’ve all heard of a whiskey sour, but this tequila twist to the classic fruity sour cocktail will take your taste buds on a ride. 🚌 If you’re tired of the same old margarita and are looking for a new flavor with a bit of a kick, then give this spicy grapefruit sour a whirl.
In a cocktail shaker, add all of your ingredients with ice. Give it a hard shake to mix the ingredients and chill your beverage. Next, strain out the ice and give it another hard shake. Strain into your glass and garnish with a slice of grapefruit or jalapeño.
Cucumber Coconut Margarita
If you want a sweet and refreshing take on the margarita, try this recipe that is tempered with coconut water and cucumber.
Combine all ingredients with four cucumber slices in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously to chill, then strain onto the ice in a highball glass. Use your remaining three cucumber slices to garnish. Lookin’ fancy!
Blue Curaçao (a liqueur flavored with orange peel and cloves) gives this cocktail its bright blue festive color. A combination of lime and tropical Red Bull make it an exciting New Year’s Eve choice.
Combine ingredients into a blender with ice, then blend until smooth for a frozen variation of this cocktail. Elements can also be mixed with ice in a shaker, shaken vigorously, then strained into a glass over ice. Slice a pineapple wedge to garnish.
Picosita (A Little Spicy 🌶️)
Featuring Casa Mexico Reposado Tequila, this cocktail is one-of-a-kind using muddled cantaloupe to accentuate a mellow, mildly creamy texture complemented by spicy habanero peppers.
2 slices of habanero chile (reserve 1 for garnish)
In a cocktail shaker, combine your tequila, simple syrup or agave nectar, muddled cantaloupe, lime juice, one slice of habanero chile, and ice. Shake the mixture vigorously, then strain into a short glass over ice. Garnish with remaining slice of habanero.
Sparkling Strawberry Basil
Enjoy a strawberry rendition of the classic paloma with an earthy touch of basil to balance the strawberries’ sweetness and grapefruit’s acidity. This deliciously fruity cocktail is dangerously smooth – you’ll want another!
Rub your glass rim with lime and smoked sea salt. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, except for the LaCroix. Shake until chilled and thoroughly mixed. Pour through a fine strainer into a highball glass over fresh ice. Then top with LaCroix, strawberry, and basil garnish.
This Paloma recipe has a distinct flavor that combines sweet and spicy.
Coat the rim of your glass with lime and Tajín. Add all of your ingredients except for the pepper into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously to chill and thoroughly mix. Strain into your glass over fresh ice, and top with pineapple soda. Garnish with a slice of pineapple.
The Old Fashioned – Tequila Rendition
This cocktail uses Casa Mexico’s Reposado Tequila to emulate this whiskey-based classic into a tequila rendition for us tequila lovers.
Pour ingredients into a glass over fresh ice. Stir until mixed and garnish with orange peel.
The Tequila Swizzle gets its name from a swizzling technique with a swizzle stick that tops the drink with a stimulating foamy froth. This cocktail is slightly sweet and refreshing, combining citrus and sweetener with minced mint leaves.
Fun fact: A swizzle stick is a small stick used to stir drinks. The original swizzle sticks were created in the 18th century at a rum plantation in the West Indies using the branch of the Quararibea turbinata (also known as the “Swizzle stick tree”).
Line the bottom of your glass with fresh mint leaves. Lightly muddle the mint leaves. Add all remaining ingredients but the bitters into a Collins glass filled with crushed ice. With your swizzle stick (or bar spoon if you don’t have a swizzle stick yet), swizzle the cocktail holding the spoon in the palm of your hands and twirl until there is foam on top and the glass frosts. Not only is it delicious, but it’s a presentation! Add four dashes of the bitters to the top, then garnish with mint.
The Smoky Horchata
The Smoky Horchata cocktail is a twist on the classic spiked eggnog, only with a little more sweetness and spiciness. You’ll love this if you love sweet cocktails.
For garnish: fresh grated nutmeg, cinnamon stick & 1 dollop of whipped cream (or Cool Whip)
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add Casa Mexico’s Reposado Tequila, mezcal, simple cinnamon syrup, and horchata eggnog. Vigorously shake until the ingredients are combined and chilled. Pour into a rocks glass or coupe glass if you want to be extra fancy. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream, freshly grated nutmeg, and a cinnamon stick.
Fun fact: The coupe glass, also known as the Champagne Coupe or the Champagne Saucer, is a stemmed glass featuring a broad, shallow bowl. As you may have guessed, this glass was developed initially for champagne, however, changing tastes have replaced it with a fluted glass as the go-to glass for champagne drinkers.
You can easily make this cocktail with store-bought eggnog and horchata, but if you would like the satisfaction and have the time to go a homemade route, here is how to make your horchata eggnog from scratch.
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar or low carb sweetener
2 cups rice milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. grated nutmeg
2 tsp. simple cinnamon syrup
1/2 cup toasted almond flour
1/2 cup toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
Mix the almond flour and coconut flakes in a frying pan. Toast over medium heat until the mixture becomes fragrant and browns, then set aside.
For the eggnog, mix the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until creamy. Next, combine the rice milk and heavy cream in a pot over low heat, stirring continuously to prevent from burning. Add a small portion of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks in a bowl and mix before adding the whole mixture back into the pot. This will keep the eggs from cooking and turning hard. Whisk on medium heat until the mixture thickens and can stick to the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and mix in the simple cinnamon syrup, nutmeg, and toasted coconut and almonds. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, add to a blender, and thoroughly blend it until creamy smooth. Once fully blended, pour a fine strainer into a pitcher, and your horchata eggnog is ready to be mixed into a delicious tequila cocktail or enjoyed by itself.
Ready to put your skills to the test?
If you’re feeling inspired by these cocktails and are ready to put your bartending skills to the test, head over to this page to buy a few bottles of our tequila online. We may all be celebrating a bit differently than we used to, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still make it a great time! Find your silver lining and treat yourself this New Year. With Casa Mexico Tequila, you will be in good company with great spirits and recipes to keep you celebrating! 🎉
The 1700s: The Ban of Spirits Leads to Underground Production
In the 1700s, a newly opened port on the Pacific Ocean named San Blas helped aid in mezcal’s popularity. It was heavily exported because its reputation as a quality spirit was growing, even into central Mexico. Unfortunately, in 1785, the production of all spirits, including mezcal, was prohibited by Charles III because he wanted to favor Spanish wines and spirits. Of course, this only stopped the public production of mezcal; production continued underground, literally. The native population began to bake the agave underground, a practice that continues in the present day. This ban didn’t lift until around 1792-1795 when the newly appointed King Ferdinand IV realized that prohibition wouldn’t stop production, so he decided to heavily tax the product instead.
During the War of Independence, mezcal and tequila declined in popularity, not because of their quality but because Acapulco’s port replaced San Blas as the Pacific Ocean’s principal port. After 1821, when Mexico gained independence, tequila rose in popularity again because Spanish products were less attainable.
The first legally licensed tequila manufacturer was none other than Jose Antonio Cuervo (yes, like Tequila). He obtained the rights to cultivate a parcel of land from the King of Spain in 1758. The property, dubbed the “hacienda Cofradia de las Animas” from Vicente de Saldivar, had already been used to run a private distillery. In 1795, Jose’s son, Jose Maria Cuervo, obtained a license to produce mezcal wine from the King of Spain, thus founding the first official Mexican distillery. Jose Cuervo’s distillery was very successful, and when he died, he left his holdings to his son, Jose Ignacio, and daughter Maria Magdalena. When Mary Magdalena wed Vicente Albino Rojas, the property was used as her dowry. A dowry is property or money on the bride’s side of the family that is essentially given to the husband on their wedding day. (Does that make Mary Magdalena a sugar mama?) Upon acquiring Mary’s property, Vicente changed the name to “La Rojeña’ and amped up production.
Fun fact: The University of Guadalajara was partially paid for by taxes on mezcal wines.
The 1800s: Tequila is First Bottled and Demand Skyrockets
During the war, soldiers on all sides were consuming large amounts of tequila. Agave plants were also being exported to Europe and the colonies as ornamental plants, but only some would thrive in the local ecosystems. Americans were first exposed to tequila during the war in the 1840s, but without the railroad in place yet, tequila couldn’t be heavily distributed.
Around 1810-1820, Jose Castaneda founded La Antigua Cruz, which Don Cenobio Sauza acquired in 1873. Sauza changed the name immediately to La Preservancia in 1888, and it’s held on to that name ever since. It’s rumored that tequila was first exported to the United States in 1873 when Sauza sold three barrels to El Paso del Norte. Sauza was notorious for his “badass” demeanor and began policing his plantation by himself (with the help of a few employees) to keep bandits away. Before his untimely death in 1906, he purchased 13 more distilleries and dozens of agave fields for his personal use. Present-day, the family owns 300 agave plantations and is the second-largest tequila manufacturer. In 1976, the family sold the company to the Spanish corporation, Pedro Domecq.
Fun fact: In the 1800s, it was common to name the distilleries after their owners, adding “eña” to the name, such as La Floreña and La Martineña. Later on, the naming of distilleries changed to reflect values or convictions, such as La Preservancia (Perseverance).
During the 1800s, many other distilleries were established; some thrived, and many failed. In 1861, Tequila Herradura (horseshoe) was founded by Feliciano Romo and is present-day a company museum. Herradura was the first to produce reposado tequila and always has only made 100% agave tequila.
In the 1860s and 1870s, Destiladora de Occidente and Tequila Orendain were established. Today, Tequila Orendain is the third-largest exporter of mixto tequilas.
Fun fact: Tequilas that say 100% Agave on the label are just that, 100% Agave. Mixtos are required to be made from only 51% Blue Agave sugars. The other 49% can be made from any different type of sugar, like high fructose corn syrup. Mixto producers usually add colorings, flavorings, and thickeners to make it look like a premium tequila. We do not produce mixto tequilas at Casa Mexico Tequila; we have only 100% agave tequila. In other words, we’re the real deal.
By the 1880s, railroads had been established, which fueled tequila’s spread further into North America. By 1893, “mezcal brandy” was a regular export into the United States. It even won an award at the historic Chicago World Fair that year.
The stability in Mexico (the Porfiriato period) during the late 1800s fueled tequila’s popularity and growth.
Fun fact: The Porfiriato is a term given to the period when General Porfirio Díaz ruled Mexico as president in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, coined by Mexican historian Daniel Cosío Villegas. Porfirio Díaz is known for his long-standing presidency and strong centralized state in Mexico. His elitist and oligarchical policies favored foreign investors and wealthy landowners, culminating in an economic crisis. In 1911, he was removed as a result of the Mexican Revolution.
Distilleries in Jalisco were slowly transitioning from producing aguardiente to tequila to meet demand. Around this time, the product that had many names simply was dubbed “tequila” in the same sense that brandy made in a specific French region is known as cognac. In 1854, a reference to mezcal wine as “tequila” was recorded by the French traveler Ernest de Vigneaux, but it would be a few more decades before this name was common.
Fun fact: Aguardiente translates to firewater, which most Americans nicknamed whiskey. But instead of whiskey, it’s sugarcane liquor – similar to rum, but more potent and not as sweet.
Three MILLION agave plants. That’s how many plants Cuervo had planted and grown by mid-century. That’s a lot of tequila! Cuervo died before railroads were built, and Jesus Flores took over the distillery and property. Around this time, the distillery began bottling tequila, the first to do so (everyone was still using barrels).
But by the end of the century, most distilleries were bottling tequila to increase sales. As modernization was beginning (railroads and technology advances), the number of distilleries in Jalisco grew to 100, but then dropped to 32 when the Diaz Regime (the President during the Porfiriato period we mentioned earlier) collapsed. Mexico was thrown into instability and turmoil.
Flores decided to move the distillery to a larger property that was closer to the newly built railroad. The new site was called La Constancia. By 1880, Cuervo sold 10,000 barrels of its tequila in Guadalajara alone. But in 1900, after Flores died, his widow quickly married the administrator of the distillery, Jose Cuervo Labastiida, and the name “Jose Cuervo” was reinstated. Now the property had four million agave plants. In the present day, La Rojeña (Cuervo) is still the most extensive tequila producer with an enormous export market.
The 1900s: Mexican Patriotism Continues the Growth and Popularity of Tequila
During the Revolution in the early 1900s, tequila became a symbol of patriotism and national pride. Tequila went hand in hand with the “badass” rebels and gun-slinging heroes (or villains!) of that time. Simultaneously, distilleries conveniently “forgot” about how the Revolutionary Army raided their plants and confiscated their tequila. Most owners were never repaid, but many of the larger plants suffered when the government redistributed their agave-planted land to peasants later on.
Tequila Makes a Comeback after the Great Depression
By 1929, only eight distillers left in Mexico were left to suffer through the Great Depression. Post-Revolutionary leaders, such as Victoriano Herta, traded tequila for French cognacs. But tequila pushed through, making a comeback because of its popularity amongst the Mexican people.
It was also around this time that modern techniques, such as yeast cultivation, were introduced. When peace returned after the Great Depression, the industry grew immensely. When Prohibition was introduced into the United States, tequila’s popularity grew even further when it was smuggled across the US/Mexico border.
Distillers Tarnish the Reputation of Tequila by Using Non-Agave Sugars
In the 1930s, distillers began to use non-agave sugars, such as cane sugar, fermentation, and the sugar from agave. This would prove to be a fatal mistake and was a massive blow to the entire industry, negatively tarnishing its reputation for decades.
Tequila Rises in Popularity Again Because European Spirits are Exported Less Frequently
During WWII, production and demand for tequila increased due to European spirits declining in inventory; between 1940-50, agave fields in Mexico expanded by 110%. In 1948, tequila exports fell when national consumption grew yet again (thanks to the portrayal of tequila as a machismo drink of heroic rancheros). Despite the slump in exports, the increased demand during the war meant more money coming in, so many distilleries upgraded their facilities and modernized their practices.
Thanks to agricultural reform under President Lopez Mateos, 30 million acres of land was parceled out to farmers, some of those going to maguey farmers across the country.
As early as 1944, the Mexican government decided that any product labeled as “tequila” must be made by distilling agave in Jalisco. These standards were laid out between 1944-1947, and they have been revised and upgraded since then.
Fun fact: Sometime between 1930 and 1955, the margarita was born in Mexico, becoming the most popular mixed drink in bars for a few decades.
In 1964, distillers were legally allowed to use up to 30% of sugars other than agave, which then climbed to 49%. The blander product, created by non-agave sugars, was favored by Americans and boosted export sales.
More current efforts to regulate the tequila industry came about between the 1960s-70s, with two organized groups formed during WWI and WWII, which would eventually evolve into modern society’s regulatory organizations.
The 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico Gave Tequila Worldwide Exposure
The Olympic games also propelled tourism from the United States to Mexico. When the baby boomer generation visited, they discovered premium tequila brands that set it apart from cheaper products imported into the United States. This helped transform tequila from a “party drink” into something more sophisticated, much like wine.
In 1974, the first set of regulations setting out where tequila could be produced were published but later amended in 1976 when the first NORMA was released. It was also around this time that tequila gained worldwide recognition and acceptance as a product originating in Mexico – the Appellation of Origin was published in 1977.
What is a NOM (formerly known as NORMA)? The Official Mexican Standard for Tequila NOM-006-SCFI-2005 Alcoholic Beverages – Tequila – Specifications defines a NOM as:
This NOM applies to all processes and activities related to the supply of agave, production, bottling, marketing, information, and business practices linked to the distilled alcoholic beverage known as Tequila, according to the specifications of this NOM. Said beverage is subject to the process detailed below, using Agave of the species tequilana weber blue variety, grown in the federal states and municipalities indicated in the Declaration.
Furthermore, this NOM establishes the technical specifications and legal requirements for the protection of the Appellation of Origin of “Tequila,” per the current General Declaration of Protection of the Appellation of Origin of “Tequila,” the Law, the Industrial Property Law, the Federal Consumer Protection Law and other related legal provisions.
In the 1980s, Chinaco was released, the first premium tequila sold in the United States.
Other Countries Attempt to Imitate Tequila
In 1994, the Tequila Regulatory Council (Consejo Regulador del Tequila, or CRT) was founded to oversee production, quality, and industry standards.
Two years later, Mexico signed an international agreement for all countries to recognize tequila as a product that can only be produced in certain regions of Mexico. The EU then signed a trade accord in 1997, recognizing Mexico as the sole producer of tequila.
South Africa allowed a distillery to open and manufacture a product they called “tequila.” But a South African firm in Graaff Reinet announced that it would also open a tequila plant in 1998, using locally grown blue agave from Mexican stock that had invaded their ecosystem. Although they called it tequila, it was only 10% agave, with the remainder being other inferior alcohols and sugars.
Protests from the Mexican government halted the plans of Reinet Distillers, and they renamed their product “Spirit of Agave” (not quite as catchy as tequila).
Spain and Japan have also attempted to produce tequila. In response to this, Mexican tequila manufacturers have opened trade offices in Madrid and Washington to protect tequila and promote it in foreign markets.
To guarantee tequila’s quality, the Normas Oficial Mexicana (NOM) was established in 1978 to regulate all agricultural, industrial, and commercial processes related to tequila.
Only five regions in Mexico can legally make tequila. Most are within the northwest part of the country and 100 miles or less from Guadalajara:
Capilla de Guadalupe
Zapotlanejo and Atotonilco)
The rest are in the states of:
These areas are all dry with loamy, clay soils. They are mostly plateaus and highlands. Specifically in Jalisco’s Tequila region, the fields crowd the slopes of two extinct volcanoes.
Americans are the largest consumers of tequila. Since the 1990s, tequila consumption has risen again in Mexico, and internal sales almost equaled exports. Although the United States is the largest consumer (and has been for many years), Mexican consumption has grown apace, and internal sales almost equaled exports by 1997.
The Consejo Regulador del Tequila (Tequila Regulatory Council) reported 1,377 registered domestically bottled brands from 150 producers as of November 2013. Two hundred eighty-five other brands from 34 producers are bottled internationally.
The History of Tequila in North America Part 1: Pre-Hispanic Era – 1700
Did you know that tequila was the first distilled drink in North America? Or that it was the first commercially produced alcohol? Yes, tequila history is robust, rich, and rooted in pre-Hispanic times when natives fermented sap from the local agave (also called maguey) into a drink called pulque.
Quick fact: Pulque is a milky colored, sticky liquid that creates a light foam. It’s made by fermenting the sap of maguey plants. Pulque was so vital that it had even had a god, Patecatl. Mezcal is derived from the cooked heart of agave plants. Tequila, a variety of mezcal, is made all (or mostly) from the blue agave.
The history of tequila’s growth from a cultural and traditional beverage to a modern and widely distributed spirit is as chaotic, turbulent, and obscure as Mexico’s growth.
Mezcal – The Granddaddy of Tequila
The exact date isn’t known, but we know that mezcal was first produced just a few decades after 1521 when the conquest brought the Spaniards to the New World. Mezcal was referred to as “mezcal brandy” or “agave wine.” Then, “mezcal tequila,” and finally shortened to “tequila” as we know it today. It was named appropriately after Tequila, a quaint town in Jalisco, Mexico.
Quick fact: “Mezcal” in Nahuatl means “the house of the moon,” to mean the core, the essence, the center, etc. Nahuatl (pronounced Nah-wat) is a Uto-Aztecan language spoken by about 1.5 million people in Mexico. Classical Nahuatl is a language used by the natives of the Aztec empire. It was used as a lingua franca Mesoamerica from the 7th century AD until the Spanish conquest.
The Meaning of the Word “Tequila”
What does “tequila” mean? The exact meaning is a mystery but is said to be a Nahuatl expression. There are a couple of ideas about its meaning lurking around the internet, including:
“The place where it is cut” – due to the abundance of obsidian (naturally occurring volcanic glass) that natives used to make different hunting and kitchen tools.
“A place of tribute” – during the Aztec empire, it was used as an offering to the emperors and consumed during religious rituals and festive ceremonies.
Jose Maria Muria, a Mexican historian, believes that it means “the place where plants are harvested,” or “the place where a lot of work is done,” according to his book, “A Drink Named Tequila.”
The Meaning of the Word “Maguey”
The first mention of maguey is by Peter Martyr, who said, “they say the first inhabitants lived contented with the roots of dates and magueans, which is an herb much like unto that commonly called ‘sengrem’ or ‘orpin.’”
The species of agave, called maguey by the natives, grows luxuriantly over Mexico’s table-lands and its neighboring borders. It is so useful to the people that they call it “miracle of nature.”
The Nahuatl referred to maguey as “metl” or “mexcametl,” from which the word “mezcal” is derived. They worshipped it as a sacred plant and an earthly representation of the goddess Mayaheul, who had 400 breasts to feed all 400 of her children.
The Agave Plant: Over 9,000 Years of History
Beyond an alcoholic drink, natives used the plant leaves to create a hemp-like fiber used for rugs, mats, clothing, rope, paper, etc. However, historians are unsure when humans learned to ferment maguey’s sap into an alcoholic drink (AKA pulque). Pulque was already custom when the Spanish Conquistadors arrived. But they liked it so much, by 1520, they exported it back to the Old World and began distilling it into a more potent alcoholic beverage.
Quick fact: In Spain and across Europe, it was dangerous to drink water. Instead, most people drank beer and wine with their meals. Naturally, they wanted to create a more potent alcoholic beverage from pulque since they were not fans of staying hydrated with water.
In his first letter back to Spain, the Conquistador Cristobal de Oñate (founder of Guadalajara in 1531) wrote to King Carlos V about sugar obtained from agave…” From these plants, they make wine and sugar, which they also sell.” It was so popular that the wine trade with Spain began to decline. So, in 1595, Phillip II (King of Spain from 1556-1598) outlawed planting new vineyards in Mexico and other Spanish colonies to maintain the market for Spanish products, AKA collect taxes on wine exports.
Tequila in the 1600s
Don Pedro Sánchez de Tagle y Pérez Bustamante was a Spanish aristocrat but his nickname is “The Father of Tequila.” Don Pedro was born in Spain but later sailed to Mexico and married his first cousin (back before they banned that sort of thing). When Phillip II banned planting new vineyards, Don Pedro jumped at the neglected blue agave plants’ opportunity. Around 1600, he built the world’s first tequila factory. It probably comes as no surprise that he amassed a great fortune due to its popularity and ended up serving as the Prior of the Consulado – head of the largest “corporation” in Mexico at that time. Don Pedro is credited with introducing the idea of cultivating this agave on a mass scale and producing it into tequila.
By 1621, “wines of mezcal” were growing in popularity in Guadalajara and being noted in local records. Because it hadn’t been previously authorized for distillation and manufacturing, Governor Don Juan Canseco y Quiñones came up with a great plan to collect taxes on the production. By 1636, “wines of mezcal” were generating enormous funds for public works. And “wines of mezcal” were used for more than just fun. In 1651, Jeronimo Hernandez stated the health and medicinal benefits of tequila, including rubbing it on injured or affected parts of your body. Have you tried this in 2020 😝?
1666: Tequila, Jalisco Officially Becomes a City
After the conquest, the area around today’s Jalisco state was initially called New Galicia (named after their current governor La Torre Argus De Ulloa y Chavez) by the Spanish conquerors. Tequila officially became a village in 1666. Operating autonomously, it wasn’t until 1821 that Jalisco joined the government of Mexico.
Quick fact: The village of Santiago de Tequila (now known as Tequila) was founded in 1530 by Franciscan friars. They moved many of the locals here from Tequila volcano, but by 1541, natives revolted against Spanish rule. Locally, The Tecoxines and Caxcanes in Tlaltenango, Xochipila, Nochictlán, and Teocaltech rebelled first, with those in Tequila joining later. They revolted at the top of Tequila Mountain, and Friar Juan Calero of the monastery near Tequila went to try and alleviate the situation. Still, he was annihilated with arrows and rocks. The natives stripped him naked and hung him on the local stone idol. Brutal!
The History of Tequila is Fascinating, Mysterious, and Nuanced
If you’ve read up to here, then you know just how mysterious the roots of tequila are. Although there are mixed messages about tequila and maguey’s meaning, one thing is sure: the plants have played an enormous role in Mexican history for hundreds, if not thousands of years. With a rich history in the pre-Hispanic era, the Spaniards turned it up a notch by turning agave into a more robust spirit (tequila) to suit their drinking habits (these people didn’t drink water, remember). If you’re interested in learning about the more recent tequila history, stay tuned for our next article, The History of Tequila in North America Part 2: 1700 – Present Day, which we will post soon.
Casa Mexico Tequila’s website is a great place to buy tequila online. You can buy tequila online on this page: https://www.casamexicotequila.com/order-online/. Tequila is a great gift, whether you are gifting yourself and staying at home during these pandemic times, gifting a friend, family, or loved one, or saving it for a special occasion. It’s always a good idea to buy tequila online: especially Casa Mexico Tequila. With the holidays coming up, you may want to buy tequila online and ship it to loved ones you cannot visit due to the pandemic.
How is Tequila Made? Learn How in These 7 Comprehensive Steps
As the owner/founder of Casa México Tequila, Don Buccio’s journey into tequila production began when he purchased some of the highest quality agave plants in Jalisco, Mexico. For the past 20 years, he’s perfected 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.
Casa México makes its authentic tequila from blue agave, a succulent plant found in Mexican regions. We can break down tequila production into seven steps: harvesting, cooking, extraction, fermentation, distillation, aging, and bottling. Every effort is regulated by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila, ensuring that general guidelines are followed to guarantee maximum quality. Each distillery has its agave source, processes, quality control, and techniques to perfect and refine the taste.
Step 1: Harvesting
The growing, maintaining, and harvesting of the agave plant continues to be a physical effort based on centuries-old techniques passed down from generation to generation. Casa México’s tequila is estate grown and distilled using plants harvested exclusively from our agave fields. Jalisco’s temperate climate allows cold ocean air currents to interact with the desert’s heat to enhance the agave’s quality and complexity, allowing them to flourish. Our plants spend eight years maturing before moving through the harvesting process. Casa México makes its tequila from 100% Blue Agave Tequilana Weber.
The “Jimador,” also known as the harvester, removes the agave leaves with a sharp curved tool called a Coa. They trim over 200 leaves surrounding the agave’s heart (or piña) until the whole heart is extracted from the ground because the piña is the only part of the agave plant used to make tequila. Fully grown piñas can weigh from a hefty 80 pounds up to a whopping 300 pounds. Although size doesn’t matter, the agave piña size is not nearly as important as its sugar content. As the agave gets older, the longer the piña accumulates, and the starches convert into fermentable sugars. It takes about 15 pounds of piñas to produce one liter of tequila. After we harvest the tequila, we cook it.
Step 2: Cooking
When the piña is cooked, steam injection using traditional brick ovens or stainless steel autoclaves activates a chemical process within the piña that converts complex carbohydrates into simple fermentable sugars. Cooking the piña softens it, making sugar extraction easier. And once it’s softened, we can begin the extraction process.
After we cook the piñas, we transport them to have the sugar extracted at a milling area. The cooked piñas are smashed to release the juice, or “aguamiel,” that is then fermented. The traditional method is to process the piñas with a large grinding wheel powered by tractors, oxen, or mules within a circular pit, also known as a “tahona.” Modern distilleries use a machine to separate the juices from the fiber. Once the piñas are processed, they are cleansed with water and strained to remove the juices. Then we can begin fermenting the piñas.
Step 4: Fermentation
Simply put, fermentation turns sugar into alcohol. Regarding making tequila, this takes place within large wooden vats or stainless steel tanks. Traditionally, fermentation was controlled by adding the yeast that naturally grows on the agave leaves. Now, distilleries use a cultivated form of wild yeast. Depending on the method used, it can take anywhere from seven to 12 days. Once the tequila has fully fermented, we can begin the distillation process.
Step 5: Distillation
Distillation is a very scientific process. But essentially, it’s when the alcohol becomes concentrated by using heat and steam pressure. Typically, we do this within distillation towers or stainless steel pot stills. Some tequilas are distilled three times, but most are distilled only twice, including our Casa México Tequila. The first distillation is called “deztrozamiento” or “smashing.” This takes a couple of hours and produces a liquid known as “ordinario” with an alcohol level of around 20%. The second step is known as “rectification.” This process can take about three or four hours and produces a liquid with an alcohol level near 55%. After the second distillation, the tequila is considered “blanco,” or silver tequila. When we start distinguishing between silver tequila, reposado tequila, and añejo tequila, that is where aging (step 6) comes into play.
Fun Fact: Casa México Tequila is slow-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.
Step 6: Aging
Nearly all aging containers are either French or American white oak barrels. Typically, they are used to age bourbon or even Jack Daniels. Reposados age from two to 12 months while añejos age for one to three years. Extra añejos are aged for more than three years. As the tequila ages longer, the more color, flavors, and tannins it will exude. Other factors affecting tequila’s flavor are the barrel’s age, what the barrel was previously used for, and if the barrel has been burnt or toasted for a smoky, robust flavor.
Fun Fact: At Casa México, our finished reposado product rests for a minimum of six months in new American White Oak barrels. This transformation allows the product to obtain its exceptional taste and golden hue. Our finished añejo rests for a minimum of 12 months in new American White Oak barrels at the same time. This allows the añejo to obtain its exceptional taste and caramel hue through natural processes.
To be considered tequila, it must be produced and bottled in five Mexican states: Jalisco, Guanajuato, Nayarit, Michoacán, and Tamaulipas. We grow our agave and produce our tequila in Jalisco, where tequila originated and industry standards must be met. Other states are only allowed to grow blue agave in defined and small regions. Every 100% agave tequila produced must be bottled in the designated Mexican regions and must show on their labels “Hecho en Mexico / Made in Mexico.” Any non-100% agave tequila, also known as “mixtos,” can be bottled and sold anywhere else throughout the world.
Fun Fact: There is a city in Jalisco named Tequila. It sounds like an excellent place for a vacation!
Did this answer your question, “How is Tequila Made?”
We hope we broke down tequila production for you in these seven steps. Many environmental and human factors give each brand of tequila its own unique and distinctive taste.
Casa México Tequila is honored to partner with the El Nacimiento Distillery, a family-owned and operated establishment spanning five generations with over 100 years of experience growing agave and distilling tequila.
Bonus: Difference Between Tequila and Mezcal?
Now that you know how tequila is made, another question may arise: What is the difference between tequila and mezcal? The liquors typically go hand in hand as spirits originating from Mexico and being made from the blue agave plant. That is about as far as the similarities between these two go. Here are some of the key differences between the two.
All tequilas are considered mezcals, but all mezcals are not considered tequilas. Similar to how bourbon and scotch are both whiskey types, tequila is technically a type of mezcal. Mezcal is defined as any agave-based liquor, according to spirits writer John McEvoy. Tequila is an agave-based liquor that is only made in Mexico’s specific regions and must only be made of the bue agave plant. On the other hand, mezcal can be made from more than 30 different agave types. The most common agave varieties used for mezcal are arroqueño, tobaziche, tepeztate, tobalá, and espadín, which accounts for up to 90% of mezcal and is the most common agave.
Tequila and mezcal also generally come from different regions of Mexico, although there is some overlap. Tequila is produced in five places: Guanajuato, Michoacán, Tamaulipas, Nayarit, and Jalisco, which is where the actual town of Tequila is located. Mezcal can be produced in nine different areas of Mexico. These areas include Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Michoacán, Puebla, and Oaxaca, which is where over 85% of all mezcal is made.
Another difference is how they are distilled. Tequila is produced by steaming the agave inside industrial ovens before being distilled two or three times in copper pots. Alternatively, mezcal is cooked inside pits in the ground lined with lava rocks and filled with wood and charcoal before being distilled in clay pots. Some large-scale mezcal producers have switched to more modern methods. Simultaneously, craft mezcal makers continue to use this more traditional method, which is where you get the smoky flavor commonly associated with mezcal.
The last, most apparent difference between tequila and mezcal is how they are labeled. After the distillation process, tequila and mezcal are both aged inside oak barrels. The aging categories of the two spirits are defined slightly differently when they are labeled. For example, tequila comes labeled in three varieties: blanco, reposado, and añejo. Mezcal is also categorized into three slightly different groups by age, including joven, reposado, and añejo.
Next time you’re out with your friends, you can impress them with your knowledge as a real connoisseur of how tequila is made. Then you can explain what the difference between tequila and mezcal is, something only a true tequila fanatic would be able to tell you.
As we mentioned above, you may not be patient enough to wait for our tequila to get shipped directly to you. If that’s the case, feel free to use our online store locator to find a liquor store near you that offers Casa México Tequila. Visit this link and type in your ZIP code to begin your search.
When it comes to the best añejo tequila, Casa México’s añejo is a strong contender. Slow-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 produced by this uniquely nuanced spirit. This expression is best served neat or with a minimal amount of ice.
If you’re looking at Casa México’s Silver Tequila, you can buy tequila online through this page. Casa México’s Silver Tequila is the perfect tequila for your favorite tequila cocktails, a deliciously refreshing margarita, or enjoyed straight up with a salted rim and lime wedge.
Buy Tequila Online – Casa México Añejo Tequila
If you’re looking at Casa México’s Añejo Tequila, you can buy tequila online through this page. We make our award-winning añejo from only the finest blue agave picked from the mineral-rich, deep volcanic soils of the highlands in Jalisco, Mexico.
Buy Tequila Online – Casa México Reposado Tequila
If you’re looking at Casa México’s Reposado Tequila, you can buy tequila online through this page. The sweet and subtle ginger notes followed by a slight oak finish and hints of cinnamon delightfully awaken your palate. It’s suitable for sipping or as the foundation for your favorite tequila-based cocktail.
Buy Tequila Online – Order Tequila Online
If you’re thirsty for Casa México Tequila, you can buy it online through this page. Now more than ever with COVID-19, we prioritize your safety and are happy to offer you a safe and affordable way to buy our tequila online.
Tequila has undergone a great transformation in the United States over the last several decades. Once considered liquor for partying or shots only, it’s now revered as a sippable, appreciated beverage. Whether you’re mixing or sipping, you’ll experience craftsmanship. Yet, even as the taste for Mexico’s national spirit has spread, there’s a lot of information and questions that people still want to know about this amazing agave distillate.
What Can I Mix with Tequila?
Maybe it’s easier to answer, “what can’t I mix with tequila?” If you’re into sipping tequila cocktails and looking for new ideas on what to mix with the Mexican spirit, here are a few great mixers:
Tequila + Your Favorite Soda
This is an easy two-ingredient cocktail. Aside from a margarita, it’s popular among a lot of people. While any soda will work, seltzer that has a high mineral content is among our favorite. Garnish with a wedge of lime that you can squeeze into the drink, and you’re done!
Tequila + Grapefruit Soda
AKA the Paloma, this is a popular way to drink tequila. If you like bright, citrusy, and slightly bitter, you’ll love this combo. Depending on your preference, you can use silver or reposado tequila for the base of the cocktail. A silver tequila keeps the drink light and crisp, while a reposado tequila makes it richer and more decadent. Garnish and squeeze in a fat wedge of lime and a pinch of sea salt. This drink will help you survive the hot summer months!
Tequila + Pineapple juice
They go together better than mac and cheese. Fresh pineapple juice is more ideal than canned, but either way, you’ll end up with a cocktail that is tropical, fruit-forward, and downright peppery. Best of all, literally any tequila – be it silver, reposado or añejo – works as the base of this drink.
Tequila + Orange Juice
AKA the Tequila Sunrise, is typically enjoyed at breakfast, but in this global pandemic of 2020, you can enjoy it whenever you please – we won’t judge! We prefer to use a reposado tequila to mix with orange juice because it lends its vanilla notes well to the orange juice.
Bonus tip: if using fresh orange juice, whisk it for 20 seconds. This will give it a fluffy, airy and creamy texture. Salud!
Tequila + Agave Syrup
Extremely refreshing and a great choice for summer, this is essentially an Old Fashioned without the bitters. We prefer to use our reposado or añejo for more depth and flavor. To bring this drink to life, use a tray of ice, mixing glass, bar spoon, agave syrup (2 parts agave to 1 part water) and your preferred amount of tequila.
Tequila + Vermouth
Vermouth is red or white wine flavored with aromatic herbs, made chiefly in France and Italy and used in cocktails. Tequila and vermouth can be combined in a myriad of ways – the types of tequila and vermouth you use will create entirely different cocktails. For a vegetal riff on a martini, you can use silver tequila with either dry vermouth or a semi-sweet blanc vermouth, which will produce a rounder, more velvety texture in the drink. For a richer, spicier take on the Manhattan, mix a reposado or añejo with sweet vermouth.
Tequila + Bloody Mary Mix
Kick vodka to the curb. Tequila lends so much more flavor to the Bloody Mary. And if you want to kick it up a notch with the spice, add a jalapeno. You can use our silver tequila to make a Bloody Mary, but a reposado or añejo will lend more flavor to the Bloody Mary.
We hope that answers your question, “What can I mix with tequila?” It’s ultimately up to your taste and preference. The best way to drink and mix tequila is exactly the way you prefer to drink tequila. There’s no wrong way, and it depends on the type of tequila you’re drinking. Some of the best tequilas are just as enjoyable neat, and slowly sipped, as the finest whisky, scotch, and rum. Some people like taking tequila shots with lime and salt. Citrus and hot sauce go especially well with the fruity, spicy notes of tequila – which is why tequila cocktails like the Screwdriver, Margarita, Bloody Mary, and Paloma are so delicious. Salud!
What is a Tequila Sunrise?
No matter what time of year it is, you can enjoy a Tequila Sunrise. A Tequila Sunrise is similar to a Screwdriver, except that you also mix in grenadine (and garnish with a cherry!).
Grenadine is a commonly used, non-alcoholic bar syrup, characterized by deep red color and a flavor that is both tart and sweet. It is popular as an ingredient in cocktails, both for its flavor and to give a reddish or pink tint to mixed drinks.
Casa México Tequila is a tequila company that produces silver, reposado and añejo tequilas. 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.
Where Can I Buy Tequila Near Me?
Head over to our Store Locator to locate your nearest liquor store that carries Casa México Tequila. Most of our locations are in California, Texas and Colorado, but feel free to input your ZIP code to find our tequila near you.
Slow-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.
Slow-baked in clay ovens, naturally fermented and double-distilled in stainless steel pot stills, our finished product then rests for a minimum of six 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.
Slow-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.
Here’s Casa México’s Guide to Celebrate Mexican Independence Day!
It’s a day of celebration for Mexicans and millions of Mexican Americans who remember a historic moment, often drinking top-shelf tequila in cocktails, neat or with ice.
September 15 is a day marked with celebrations, with fireworks and displays of vibrant patriotism spilling through the streets of the capital, Mexico City. It is also a day of remembrance for many of those who went down as heroes during that time. The festivities are underway.
If you’re in Los Angeles, from where our founders come from, it’s tough to escape Mexican culture. It is, after all, the place where millions of Mexicans and Mexican descendants call home. It influences everything that we do, from clothing to language, ultimately shaping our city. Mexican Independence Day is usually a lively time to be an Angeleno, as most carry this day with pride and a sense of accomplishment, even from far away. And this year, it couldn’t be any different. Despite limitations, you can still head to Olvera Street for a lively annual celebration of art, folklore, music, and some good tequila to add some responsible fun to the mix. From architecture to cuisine – you can see Mexican culture resonating in the small details of everyday life.
East LA Mexican Independence Day Parade and Festival
We’re disappointed to learn that one of the longest-running Mexican Independence Day parades in the U.S., the Mexican Independence Day Parade and Festival, was entirely canceled for the 2020 edition. In a typical year not called 2020, you’d probably see Oscar de La Hoya among other advocates of the Mexican American community in attendance to celebrate. The event is a staple of Mexican American Heritage, typically taking place on Mednik Avenue and Cesar E. Chavez Avenue in East LA. – it’s worth recognizing it for the cultural value it provides to the community.
Mexican Independence Day is a time to also remember the wonderful Mexican American music that’s traveled north of the border with its descendants.
Los Angeles Lindo y Querido is one band to know – their music inspires and reminds us of Los Lobos (La Bamba) among other famous rock bands from the time. It is commonly associated with the Chicano movement that shaped Mexican American culture in the United States. Those who didn’t know Mexican music for its rock and roll roots and influences should pause and see how rich that universe is. This year, you can catch the celebration of music in a two-day virtual event online.
This two-day virtual event taking place on September 15-16 will bring festivities to YouTube and Twitter channels.
To help you celebrate, head to your favorite restaurant and check their menu. You will likely find your favorite cocktail to take home with a special meal while celebrating with those close to you. Or head to an open patio near you, where slowly, but surely, we’re getting our hospitality partners back to work. And that means more tequila drinks for us to enjoy.
Take the Paloma from bartender Clare Ward, currently featured at her swanky, casual West Hollywood, CA joint. If a patio is not in your future for dinner, you can try her concoctions at home with minimal work.
They are genuinely astonishing, and knowing us, we had to have at least two of each – tequila or not.
Forget To-Go, Get It Delivered to Your Doorstep Instead
In 2020 delivery apps popped up everywhere. For those of us who were homebound from the quarantine, this was revolutionary. With so many people spending time indoors, it is great to know you can get, let’s say, cucumber margaritas delivered to your doorstep, anytime you’d like.
This revolutionary company out of Los Angeles has brought the bartender base’s knowledge to the shelved cocktail with the precision required to deliver a consistent cocktail experience every single time. Using a proprietary system that separates the fresh-pressed juice from the alcohol contents, the cocktail embarks on a journey, from the manufacturer to your house, never losing refrigeration and assuring maximum freshness.
The prep and mix are minimal and allows you to interact with the beverage creation process instead of merely consuming. Once twisted to mix the liquids, the bartender at home can practice mixing and shaking the cocktail before pouring over ice. The variations from here are up to you. The garnish, glass, ice format, even a float of something more substantial, that’s all up to you. You can even throw it in a blender with some ice if slushies are your thing. It’s your house, your bar, your drink. The possibilities are endless, and the DRNXMYTH Cucumber Margarita is just what we needed for a massive day of celebrations both in Mexico and worldwide.
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.