It’s time to rethink tequila. And – lucky for all of us – learning to rethink tequila is incredibly fun and can be quite gratifying. This distilled spirit, derived from Blue Agave plant native to Mexico, has every bit of nuance as a fine wine or single–malt scotch. And throwing a tequila tasting party is a great way to acquaint yourself and guests with a variety of premium tequilas. A bottle of tequila Cazadores® goes far, making it an affordable way to entertain, especially when you consider the natural accompaniments like chips, salsa, guacamole and ceviche. You’ll be surprised by all the characteristics of tequila there are to talk about – appearance, aroma, color, taste and finish – and you’ll come away from the event with a deeper appreciation for an alcohol that deserves to be savored. Once guests have spent some time tasting tequilas, offer to mix up margaritas. You might find, though, that more than one guest opts to sip their spirits – straight up.
Cut all of your fruit and garnishes in advance, store in covered containers and group together with the other ingredients in each margarita at your bar station. Dipping fruits that brown in a mild solution of lemon juice and water will keep them looking fresh.
Put pouring spouts on all liquor and mixer bottles. Designate one cocktail shaker for each drink recipe that requires one. It’s helpful not to mix jiggers or stirring spoons as well. Always have a quality bar– or kitchen– towel on hand for quick clean up.
Print drink recipes on 4 x 6” yardstick and display in frames at your bar station. That way, guests can mix their own margaritas once the party is in full swing.
Set up several water or non–alcoholic Agua Fresca stations using our Glass Drink Dispenser with goblets nearby for easy self–service. It’s helpful to elevate the dispenser so the glasses fit easily under the spout. Create music playlist ahead of time that will help set the mood during the party – or, use ours!
Serve casual fare like salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole and ceviche. Pair with several types of chips, warm tortillas or taquitos.
Margarita Glasses – These large bowled, stemmed glasses are essential for enjoying the true margarita experience. In Mexico, margaritas are served in glasses similar to double old–fashioned glasses. Pottery Barn’s Casa Barware, which is modeled after authentic Mexican–style margarita glassware, is a great alternative to traditional margarita glasses.
White Wine Glasses – The traditional glass for tasting tequila is called a “caballito,” but, a good quality white wine glass, like our Schott Zwiesel White Wine Glasses, may actually be better for savoring the nuanced character of good tequila.
Glass Pitchers – Used to accommodate large batches of margaritas. It is recommended that there be one pitcher for each type of margarita being served.
Cocktail Shaker – An essential tool for the classic margarita, used to blend and chill ingredients before pouring into a margarita glass.
Jigger – Used for accurately measuring liquor for beverages.
Ice Bucket – Keep plenty of ice at hand for margaritas on the rocks.
Salt Dipper – Salt the rims of the glasses before pouring the margaritas. Run a lime wedge or two around the rims, then dip the moistened rims into kosher salt. You can also dip only half the rim in salt to allow gusts to taste with and without salt. Pour to just under the salt rim so that the salt doesn’t get into the drink prior to drinking.
Garnish Bowls – Add the final touch of a fresh Persian lime wedge, strawberry or other garnish to your beverage after salting the rim. Have bowls stocked with enough garnishes to go around. Bowls from our Agave Collection are ideal to hold garnishes and their authentic character adds to the Mexican theme of the party.
Hand Juicer – Used to extract fresh juice from citrus fruits, like Persian limes.
Plates and Napkins – Have stacks of cocktail plates and napkins available for appetizers and tapas.
Tequila is a unique liquor that is derived from the Blue Agave plant of Mexico. Available in two categories: tequila and 100% tequila agave. The two categories are defined by the percentage of juices coming from the blue agave. Each group is further broken down into the following varieties:
Blanco – Also referred to as “white tequila”, silver tequila is the original, traditional tequila. It is strong and features the true flavor of the blue agave. Look for hints of citrus, mint, spearmint, anise, apple or pear.
Reposado – This silver variety of tequila has been aged in white oak casks from two months to one year. Featuring a pale color, pleasing bouquet and mellow taste, it is popular and pricey. Look for hints of vanilla, almond, oak, honey, stone fruit, butterscotch or brown sugar.
Añejo – Same as Reposado tequila but aged over one year to attain an amber color and woody flavor. This variety is particularly tasty but quite expensive. Look for hints of toffee, chocolate, caramel, butterscotch, burnt honey, vanilla or tobacco.
Using premium brands of Tequila, like Cazadores®, familiarize yourself with the fine nuances of tequila by conducting a tasting. Serve an ounce at a time at room temperature in white wine glasses.
Instruct guests to do as they would with wine: swirl, sniff, sip, swallow. Have guest think about each tequila’s characteristics to help discover which is preferred. Sip slowly to savor the complexity of this refined liquor. Watch how it’s done by tequila expert Julio Bermejo.
Snack on tortilla chips between tastings to clear your palate. Once you know what your preference is, you can continue sipping tequila in the traditional manner or you can mix it into a top–shelf margarita.
Begin with La Bandera
Also called “The Mexican Flag,” this classic way of serving tequila consists of three parts – with colors to match the Mexican flag – a shot each of tequila blanco, sangrita and lime juice. Sangrita is a spicy, tangy mixture of tomato and orange juices, usually spiked with hot chiles and lime juice. Start by sipping the tequila and follow with lime juice or sangrita depending on your mood. This traditional drink is a perfect icebreaker for starting off your tequila tasting party.
Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times