Tag Archives: tequila

Tequila. Champagne. Good times.

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Every year my pals host an Oscars viewing party with cocktails themed around the top ten nominated films. This year, their take on the film Hell or High Water was a minerally, bubbly, earthy glass of deliciousness they called Tequila or High Water. I loved it, and immediately demanded the recipe. As it turns out, it’s a variation on a French 75 that’s sometimes called a Tequila 75. Like a French 75, it should be made with Champagne but can be made with good old sparkling white wine if you have Champagne tastes on a sparkling budget. We went with the latter, but if you’re on the red carpet and someone else is paying for your drinks then hell, go with the high(cost) ‘water’, baby.

INGREDIENTS

30ml tequila

15ml lime juice

15ml sugar syrup

Champagne or sparkling white wine, to top up

GLASS

Champagne flute

METHOD

Chill the Champagne flute. Add tequila, lime juice and sugar syrup to a cocktail shaker that’s half full of ice. Shake it like you mean it, then strain into the chilled flute and top with whichever bubbly you can afford.

RECIPE BY

There are recipes all over the internet for this cocktail – I googled ‘tequila Champagne cocktail’ and found this one here.

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Tequila Surprise

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Here’s an easy twist on the once-trendy tequila sunrise that might just bring it back into vogue – or, at least, into Cosmo. (It’s already winning points for its ability to inspire both a terrible magazine pun AND a cocktail pun in one phrase.) Adding orgeat or falernum (use whichever you have on hand) adds a luxurious or tiki vibe, respectively, to this brightly coloured crowd-pleaser.

INGREDIENTS

30ml tequila

15ml orgeat or falernum

5ml grenadine

fresh orange juice (enough to fill the glass)

GLASS

Rocks/tumbler

METHOD

Half-fill the glass with ice. Add the tequila, orgeat or falernum and enough fresh orange juice to fill the glass, and stir. Pour the grenadine over the back of a bar spoon – it should slowly settle into the glass to create the ‘sunrise’ look.

 

RECIPE BY

I really shouldn’t take credit for just adding an ingredient to a classic cocktail…but I will.

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Averna y Tequila

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A while ago the lovely Ginny* over at Coupe Half Full mentioned a full-on cocktail called Averna y Tequila. There’s no messing around here – you can guess the main ingredients by the title – and as I already had both Averna and tequila handy I thought I’d give it a go. The only thing missing was fresh grapefruit juice and enough bravado to try this beast.

As it turned out, I didn’t need the bravado. Although perhaps not a particularly sophisticated cocktail, it’s a very drinkable one. The tequila’s minerality and slight smokiness is highlighted, so if you like tequila there’s a good chance you’ll like this cocktail. And the bitterness of the grapefruit juice is offset by the caramely notes of the Averna, which, despite belonging to the Amari – or bitter liqueur – family, is relatively sweet and flavoursome (it is not as bitter as Campari, for example, the Amari most people are familiar with). The downside? There’s no real mystique about this drink; each flavour is fairly discernible, so when you tell someone what’s in it, there’s only an, ‘Oh right,’ as a response, rather than that lightbulb moment some drinks elicit (you know, that delighted, ‘OH!! Right!’ you sometimes get). Maybe that’s the problem with naming the drink after its principle ingredients – it removes the element of surprise. But if that’s the only problem with this drink then I have no problem with it at all. In fact, I think I might have another. Cheers!

INGREDIENTS

1.5 oz (45ml) silver tequila

1 oz (30ml) fresh grapefruit juice

3/4 oz (22ish ml) Averna

GLASS

Rocks/old fashioned/tumbler

METHOD

Shake all ingredients together with a heap of ice. Strain into a glass that’s half-full of fresh ice. Garnish with a wedge of grapefruit. (In summer, this might be good as a long drink, served in a Collins glass and topped with soda. If we ever get a hot day here – hello, Melbourne, I’m talking to you – I’ll give it a go and let you know the result.)

RECIPE BY

I followed this recipe: http://www.foodandwine.com/fwx/drink/ciao-averna-3-great-cocktails-italian-liqueur

CROCODILE PROP BY

The wee beastie in the photo was handmade by the talented Made by Rozzle.

*Not only does she write sublime posts about cocktails, she has Gin in her name. Awesome.

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Mezcal Margarita

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According to bucketloads of experts, it’s hard to achieve anything in life unless you have a goal. This is probably why, every time a workplace performance review comes around, I am asked to set myself some ‘measurable and achievable’ goals. Apparently, ‘don’t get fired’ is not a good enough goal, despite how hard it can be to achieve, and ‘world domination’ is not achievable, so this year I have set myself a goal of trying to get better acquainted with tequila. It is both measurable and achievable so I’m not sure why my boss was so cross when I submitted it to her but at least I did not get fired (thereby achieving one of my previous goals. If I keep this up I might achieve world domination).

Often sold in comical, sombrero-wearing bottles, tequila has finally shrugged off its ‘one tequila, two tequila, three tequila floor’ reputation and is now where gin was a few years ago: deservedly enjoying a revival. (Thankfully, that revival has also led to it being sold in much better packaging, such as these beautiful bottles by Milagro.) I admit I’m late to the tequila trend but that’s largely because up until now I’ve been busy drinking gin instead. I also admit I know very little about tequila and even less about mezcal (you can read about the differences between them here), and what I’ve learned so far amounts to this:

  1. Tequila and mezcal are both made from agave plants. By law, tequila can be made only from a specific type of agave: blue agave. Mezcal, however, can be made from any agave. Therefore, all tequila is mezcal, but not all mezcal is tequila.
  2. Tequila tends to be lighter than mezcal, which can be as smoky as a Scotch and kinda heavy on the palate. Which means, according to the bartenders at the Everleigh, that if you want to experiment with mezcal-based cocktails you might be better off using half mezcal and half tequila so the end result is not so overpowering. (This is what the Everleigh crew did when I asked, vaguely, for ‘Something with mezcal in it’ during my last visit – which was, of course, strictly for research purposes. How else do you expect me to achieve my goal?!)
  3. Any goal is more easily achieved with a visit to the Everleigh, aka my spiritual home, especially if that goal is to drink fabulous cocktails, such as the one below, which was inspired by their advice of mixing tequila and mezcal together.

MEZCAL MARGARITA

INGREDIENTS

Caster sugar and a wedge of lime, to rim the glass

25ml tequila

25ml mezcal

15ml mandarin vodka/triple sec/Cointreau

15ml freshly squeezed lime juice

30ml freshly squeezed orange juice

10ml sugar syrup

GLASS

Cocktail

METHOD

Rub the wedge of lime around the rim of a cocktail glass, then dip it in a plate of caster sugar. Pop the glass into the freezer to chill.

Shake all other ingredients together in a shaker that’s half-full of ice. (Mandarin vodka or triple sec will add a nice high note of citrus to the drink, making it good for summer; Cointrea has a bit more depth and makes for a more interesting drink – and perhaps a bit better suited to cold weather.)

Strain into the glass and enjoy! Or don’t. That depends on whether your goal in life is to enjoy things or not…

TASTES LIKE

A much more mature margarita than the kind you used to get at Mexican family restaurants (shudder). The mezcal’s smokiness comes through nicely, but the citrus balances it out. It’s bright and refreshing, but definitely one to sip and savour, not quaff (unless drunkenness is your goal).

RECIPE BY

This recipe is loosely based on a Blood Orange Margarita recipe that appears in Shaken: 250 very sexy cocktails (Murdoch Books, 2004).

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Spiced Agave Old Fashioned

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This is such a modern version of an Old Fashioned that it should probably have another name, but apart from that I can’t fault it. And, like a traditional Old Fashioned, it lends itself to lots of variations. Use reposado (aged for at least two months) or añejo (aged for at least 12 months) tequila and you’ll get a light, flavoursome cocktail that conjures up images of autumn bonfires at sunset; there’s a bit of baking spice in there, some smokiness, and a sweetness that verges on burnt caramel but is balanced out by earthy overtones. Use whisky instead of tequila for a more straightforward, wintery drink, or go with rye whisky for a gingerbready flavour hit that’ll become your new go-to drink before you’ve got halfway through it.

COCKTAIL INGREDIENTS 

60ml tequila, whisky or rye whisky

10ml spiced agave syrup (recipe follows)

2 dashes Angostura bitters

orange peel twist, to garnish (optional)

cinnamon stick, to garnish (optional)

GLASS

Old-fashioned or tumbler

METHOD

First, make the spiced agave syrup (recipe below).

Next, measure 10ml spiced agave syrup into a heatproof cup. Add about 10-20ml boiling water and stir to dissolve the syrup. You’re doing this because agave syrup tends to form a clump and not mix well when you add it to ice and spirits; but if you dilute it just a bit, it works fine. Wait for it to cool a bit before using it in the cocktail – otherwise it’ll just melt the ice.

Add the cooled and dissolved syrup, spirit of choice and bitters to a mixing glass that’s half-full of ice. Stir well, then strain into an old-fashioned glass that’s half-full of ice. Garnish with the orange peel twist and cinnamon stick, if desired.

SPICED AGAVE SYRUP INGREDIENTS

200ml agave syrup (there are two kinds available, light and dark. I used light. According to the label on the bottle, the dark kind has a ‘wilder, earthier’ flavour.)

2 cinnamon quills

2 star anise

pinch of freshly ground white pepper

METHOD

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Infuse for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick. Allow to cool, then remove star anise and cinnamon and pour into a sterilised glass jar or bottle. According to the recipe book, it should keep in the fridge for about two weeks, but I’ve kept mine in the pantry for about that long with no problems. I also left the cinnamon sticks in the jar, in the hope they’d balance out the slightly-too-strong star anise flavour – which they did.

RECIPE BY

Both these recipes are in a little booklet called Simply Perfect Cocktails by Gee David. I’m not sure if it’s available for sale, sorry – my copy was included as a freebie as part of an order of spirits and syrups from Barware.

 

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