While there’s no particular prestige that goes along with being a blogger, sometimes there’s a unique synergy of tastes which makes what we do that much more enjoyable. For several years, I have been an aficionado of good tequila having been turned on to it during a trip to Las Vegas. Since then, I have been exploring the intricacies of various different brands and styles of tequila and now own no less than eighteen bottles of 100% de agave tequila which I sample all the time.
It’s the 100% de agave which is the important part. For many of us who first tried college in our teenage or college years, our memories of tequila may not be pleasant ones. Hangovers or projectile vomiting due to drinking binges with mixtos such as Jose Cuervo has turned many a person off tequila for life. A mixto tequila is one that is not made with 100% agave, and is usually only 51% (or so) agave and the rest is other fillers, taste additives, and sugars (plus a little caramel coloring) to make it potable and give it that characteristic golden color. It is often harsher in taste and is usually saved for mixed drinks and/or margaritas.
100% de agave tequilas are just that…made from nothing but Weber Blue agave , and the heart of the plant is buy viagra online used to make tequila. The distillation process can make three estilicos, or styles, of tequila known as blanco, reposado, and añejo. Blanco means that the tequila is a purely white spirit that is not aged, and is bottled or stored immediately after distillation, or aged less than two months
in oak barrels. Reposado means “rested” and the tequila is aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels. Añejo literally means “(one) year” and the tequila is aged a minimum of one year, but less than 3 years in oak barrels.
At first, I didn’t know what Tabasco Spicy Tequila was, at least in terms of style. After a lot of patient inquiry and a little prodding, I found that the tequila was a mixto and is described as:
TABASCO Spicy Tequila is a unique and perfectly balanced fusion of authentic premium Tequila with the hot, spicy and bold kick of Tabasco®. The new TABASCO Spicy Tequila adds some flair to traditional cocktails such as the brunch favorite, Bloody Maria, and the forever faithful margarita.
Well, for as much as I was excited about trying this tequila, I was concerned about giving it a fair shake because of it being a mixto and because I wasn’t sure if it even qualified to be called tequila, since it was being produced in this country through the Heaven Hill Distillery in Kentucky. Tequila can only legally be called tequila if it made with 100% Weber Blue Agave and in a particular region in Mexico. My consternation was quickly addressed from Josh Hafer of Heaven Hill:
Please permit me this quick intrusion on behalf of Tabasco Spicy Tequila. The brand is a relatively new offering from us and, indeed, can create a bit of confusion. A couple years ago, we started working with the McIlhenny Family on the development of a spirits product that properly marries tequila with the spiciness of the acclaimed hot sauce.
Tabasco Spicy Tequila is mixto completely produced at La Madrilena (a long time partner of ours) and shipped to the US. Together, Heaven Hill, La Madrilena and McIlhenny did our very best to develop a quality flavored tequila using virtually every resource at our disposal, including McIlhenny’s and Heaven Hill’s combined experience in the mixology world. As a result, we worked closely with mixologists that had experience with Tabasco as a base for cocktails.
The goal of Tabasco Spicy Tequila was to marry the spiciness of Tabasco and Tequila. We believe we accomplished that goal. It’s a very nice product. And I hope you enjoy playing around with it.
As a company that cut our teeth on Bourbon, we have a pretty good appreciation for enthusiasts’ expectations of quality. It’s an expectation that we take very seriously. I hope that sentiment is reflected in this response.
Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc.
So there you have it. If that explanation satisfied me as an admitted tequila purist, then it gave me the go-ahead to try this tequila out in some mixed drinks. Taking some cues from the Recipes page from the Tabasco Spicy Tequila website, I settled on a couple that looked good.
2 oz. TABASCO® Spicy Tequila
1 oz. Orange Liqueur
½ oz. Lime Juice
1 oz. Cranberry Juice
Shake well with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and serve.
The Avery Island appealed to me because I’ve really liked the Citronge Orange Liqueur in mixed drinks. For as mediocre as Patron tequila is, they make a damn fine liqueur. I got my semi-chilled cocktail glass, a shaker canister, and the above ingredients, and mixed up a spicy drink. It looked like this:
While it doesn’t exactly photograph as well, what it DOES do is taste really, really good. It’s a bit of a margarita takeoff, with some added cranberry juice. I’m not sure how this tastes without the spicy element to it, but the spiciness in the tequila offsets the sweetness of the lime and cranberry juices quite nicely. One thing for sure is that this drink needs to be a lot more chilled than I had it. In fact, try leaving it in the freezer for a while before serving it. The colder it is, the better it tastes. A bit of a peppery bite, but nothing that would overwhelm the sensibilities of anyone who might be sensitive to hot & spicy foods.
1 1/2 oz. TABASCO® Spicy Tequila
1/2 oz. Orange Liqueur
1 oz. PAMA® Pomegranate Liqueur
Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Float a lime wheel with candied ginger.
This one definitely didn’t photograph well, but it didn’t matter too much…because I thought this one’s taste was way off as well. The only real difference in this one compared to the Avery Island was the pomegranate liqueur. I think the Pama pomegranate liqueur flavor overwhelmed the drink, honestly. If I were to make it again, I would likely only use half the amount of pomegranate liqueur and perhaps a touch more orange liqueur instead. It was tolerable, but not my kind of drink with its overwhelming sweetness that even the spiciness of the tequila could not touch.
In obligatory fashion, I did sample a shot glass full of this tequila straight out of the bottle. For a mixto, it’s actually pretty decent. I really did like the spiciness, and was glad that it didn’t taste too much like Tabasco sauce. It’s still not at all a sipping tequila by any stretch, but I dare say this makes some superb margaritas. I did mix up an ad hoc tequila using agave nectar as a sweetener, and it was also quite tasty. Probably even better had I made it blended, but certainly good enough to know that there were several ways I could have made margaritas with this tequila, and all of them could be spicy-good.
Overall recommendation: Well, this isn’t a good sipping tequila like you would expect from a 100% de agave tequila. It’s a mixto, meaning you’re going to use it in mixed drinks such as margaritas and other concoctions limited only by your imagination of what you can do with tequila. For this tequila, your mileage may vary. Given that I know of no other spicy tequilas like this one, it holds a unique place right now…or at least it will if it ever gets out of the marketing phase and into mass production. At the least, it’s worth a try in your local bar before you consider hunting down a bottle of your own. That, plus it being a snazzy-looking bottle helps too! Enjoy!