Did it take a trip to Santa Fe to learn to love Tequila? Yes it did. Instead of a morning Mimosa at brunch, the drink of choice will now be a freshly juiced lime, woven carefully with excellent Tequila. Why Tequila? Well, the flavor of the West is that of the Agave. There is nothing quite like the bracing acidity of citrus first thing in the morning,
Tequila is the product of the Mexican people. It speaks clearly of the arid nature of the land, the concentrated flavors of the agave fruit and the passion of the cask that gently ages the spirit, sometimes for months on end.
Tequila comes in several varieties: Blancos, Reposados and Anejos.
Blanco is also known as silver, white or plata. These are the “moonshine” of the Tequila world.
Reposados are aged on oak for a minimum of 60 days. Reposados are nutty, earthy and tinged with flavors of wood smoke, sage brush and citrus fruits.
Anejos are aged on oak for a minimum of 1 year. Anejos are more expensive than Blanco because of the time they rest in the cask. It takes time and therefore expense to age these emotional spirits.
What would you say if I told you that Arrogante Anejo is aged for a minimum of 18 months in cask? Would you be intrigued? I am. This is Tequila on steroids. More akin to a fine sipping bourbon than a fire driven shot, Arrogante is just too easy to drink. And there is the rub. Good luck finding it!
And if you need more encouragement to the quality of this highly expressive spirit, just ask Anthony Dias Blue. He awarded the Anejo 93 points! I’m not usually a point score guy though. I think if you like something and you drink it, all the better. Who really cares what someone else says. At the end of the day, it’s about your pleasure. Not someone who may have tasted 25 different varieties that day. Can you say palate fatigue? I sure can having judged sugar cane spirits at the Ministry of Rum. But I digress. I just love the expressive nature of Tequila and how it makes me feel inside. Buzzed? Certainly. Trouble? Perhaps. Danger? Absolutely.
But remember, this is not rock-gut Tequila from the years past. This is highly expressive liquor worthy of your muster. Try some in a snifter, without ice. I prefer mine that way unless I’m weaving it into a cocktail. Cocktail? Did someone say drinks?????
My friend Eleanor Leger is making an absolutely GORGEOUS Apple based BITTER liquor that I just am gaga over. Normally my go/to for bitter mixers is either Campari or Aperol. The Bitter from Eden Ice Cider Company may well be the most intriguing and satisfying NEW flavor to hit the market in recent memory.
When I learned that apples are a major crop in New Mexico, it got my taste buds tingling. Not just tingling, but down right salivating. Apples are a favorite flavor of mine in cocktails. I like mine cut into slices, then grilled over hard wood coals or seared in a cast iron pan. This act of heating the crunchy fruit changes the way I think about apples.
Would I mix an apple based BITTER liquor with Tequila from Arrogante?
But what about sheer flavor? I add a bit of the Barr Hill Gin to this mix to add depth. Sure there is enough potency from both the Arrogante and the Apple Bitter, but this gin- distilled with honey is just the thing for this cocktail. I think you will concur. This is not a mash-up of flavors- it is a carefully measured cup of love.
You know from my writing that ice is one of the most important ingredients in a mixed drink. The ice to liquor level is essential to flavor and the character of the final product. Ice is not only meant to melt, changing the profile of a drink, but it is also meant to cool a cocktail. I’ve found that Mavea in Germany manufactures a water filtration pitcher worthy of your muster. If you seek this magic in your glass of water, point your browser towards their lovely site, filled with interesting suggestions for the use of “Inspired Water” ice. You might not agree with me on the method, but I will tell you straight out. Inspired Water is water with a soul. Can water have a soul? I believe it can. And this translates into the quality of the drinks that you make.
The Georgia O’Keefe Cocktail Serves two parched seekers of flavor
3 oz. Arrogante Anejo or your choice of super premium Tequila
1 oz. Barr Hill Gin (from Vermont)
2 oz. Eden Bitter or your choice of bitter liquor
3 oz. Freshly crushed apple juice, strained
6 drops exactly- Bitter End Memphis Barbeque Bitters
1 rosemary sprig
Ice made from the Mavea “Inspired Water” pitcher, frozen with both lime and lemon zests (zest lemons and limes directly into an ice cube tray, then freeze as normal)
To a Boston shaker turned upsides down, light the rosemary sprig on fire, letting the fragrant smoke fill the inside of the shaker
Add the liquors and the apple juice in one side of the shaker. In the other side of the shaker fill 3/4 with regular ice
Shake hard for 20 seconds
Add 2-3 large citrus infused MAVEA ice cubes to rocks glass
Strain the expressive liquors into your short rocks glass with a coarse salt crusted rim
Garnish with a small sprig of rosemary and 3 drops of the Memphis Barbeque Bitters over the top of this salty delight!
Sip and dream of the desert!