Pretty much every day of the year is (Inter)national X day for a variety of values of X, from pillow fights to mine awareness and osteoperosis to gin. Somewhere hidden in that range is Tequila and today is its day. So, Happy National Tequila Day!
Now, we totally understand that it’s just a day that was randomly selected by some long-forgotten marketeer to try and shift some Tequila, but we’re Tequila fans at TWE and need little excuse to delve into the world of agave spirits. We’ve written a few times on the blog about how Tequila, as well as its rustic cousin mezcal, are made, but we haven’t talked quite so much about how to enjoy them. A made-up, unofficial national day seems like the perfect opportunity.
So, starting simply – a shot of Tequila. Mention of Tequila shots with lime and salt is strictly forbidden within the hallowed walls of TWE, but there’s certainly nothing wrong about having a shot with an accompaniment. As mentioned in blog-posts-passim, two of the classic accompaniments are sangrita and verdita – ‘little blood’ and ‘little green’ – spicy soft drinks to be sipped alongside your tequila. As fortune would have it, we had a verdita at our recent Summer Cocktails and Spirits masterclass at our London shop (blog post to follow, although you can see what went on over on Storify) and Jon Lister, masterclass presenter and bartender extraordinaire, slipped me his recipe:
- 20ml apple juice
- 10ml pineapple juice
- 7.5ml agave syrup
- 7.5ml lime juice
- pinch of coriander (torn)
- 2 mint leaves (torn)
- 3 large dashes green jalapeño Tabasco
Place all of the ingredients in a blender with an ice cube, blend and then chill in the fridge. Or, if you need it immediately, it can be shaken up in a cocktail shaker. Grind some black pepper on top before serving.
Serve up your verdita in a similar size measure to your Tequila and take a sip of one, then the other. Jon’s verdita was made with Tapatio in mind, as the apple juice ties in with the appley flavours that often pop up in their Tequilas. We’d recommend a blanco, to get the full agave flavour experience, unadulterated by wood.
Drinking neat spirits isn’t for everyone and fortunately Tequila is flavoursome enough not to get lost in long drinks and cocktails. The canonical Tequila cocktail is the margarita, about as classic a cocktail you can get: Tequila, lime, triple sec – spirit, sour, sweetener. While orangey triple sec of some kind is usual, we prefer the bartender-favourite recipe from Tommy’s in San Francisco, swapping it for pure agave syrup:
- 50ml reposado Tequila
- 25ml lime juice
- 12.5ml agave syrup
Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with lots of ice. Fine strain into a chilled glass and serve with a wedge of lime. Some people like to give their glass a salted rim (rub some lime juice on the rim of the glass and then gently roll it in salt) for a bit of contrasting flavour, and many like to drink theirs over ice (crushed or cubed), but we rather like the simplicity of a glass with a three ingredient cocktail in it and no messing about.
A margarita is still quite a short drink, so as London is currently in the midst of a heatwave (even if it’s probably colder than a fierce Mexican winter), our final drinking suggestion is a bit longer.
- 50ml blanco Tequila
- 25ml lime juice
- 150ml grapefruit soda
- a pinch of salt
Fill a tall glass with ice, pour over the Tequila and lime, add a small pinch of salt and top up with the grapefruit. Thanks to having an excellent Caribbean restaurant near TWE HQ, we are generally not too far from a can of Ting, my favourite grapefruit soda. However, if you are not as blessed as us, you can craft an acceptable alternative with fresh grapefruit juice, soda water and an impressive slug of agave syrup.
To celebrate National Tequila Day, we’ve got an offer over on our main website on a selection of Tequilas – buy any two from a range of selected bottles (including Tequilas from Tapatio, Patron, Arette, Don Fulano, Don Julio, El Tesoro, 1800 and Casa Noble) and save £7. While we’d recommend keeping the añejo in the cupboard until the summer’s over (probably next weekend), a bottle of reposado or blanco is a key part of a summer cocktail kit, and what better excuse to experiment than a spurious national holiday.