Tempt Your Taste Buds With These Tequila-Based Tipples

by Rebecca Rhoades
( July 24th, 2014 )

tacos and margarita

As I mentioned in my previous post about National Tequila Day, there’s more to tequila than margaritas. Following are just a few creative concoctions that will take your taste buds on a tantalizing trip south of the border.

¡Salud!

 

Minted MuleMINTED MULE
Created by Pete Vasconcellos of The Penrose in New York City; photo courtesy of Blue Nectar Spirits Company.

Ingredients
2 oz. Blue Nectar Silver tequila
½ oz. fresh lime juice
2 oz. ginger beer
mezcal to float (about ¼ oz.)
5 mint leaves

Instructions
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add tequila and lime juice and shake well. Pour in to a highball glass. Top with ginger beer, and float the mezcal. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

 

PALOMAPaloma
Recipe and photo courtesy of Trianon Tequila.

Ingredients
2 oz. Trianon Reposado tequila
1 oz. grapefruit soda
Fresh-squeezed lime juice
Kosher salt
Lime slice

Ingredients
Rime a glass with salt and fill with ice. Add tequila and grapefruit soda. Squeeze in fresh lime juice and a pinch of salt. Stir, and garnish with lime slice.

 

 

 

Charro NegroCHARRO NEGRO
Photo and recipe courtesy of Trianon Tequila.

Ingredients
2 oz. Trianon Blanco tequila
1½ oz. cola
Fresh lime juice
Sea salt
Lime slice

Instructions
Rim glass with salt and add ice. Add lime juice, cola, and tequila. Add a pinch of salt and stir. Garnish with lime slice.

 

Veni, Vidi, Bibi!


—Rebecca


Taco and margarita photo © Dave Pisani

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It’s Time to Celebrate National Tequila Day

by Rebecca Rhoades
( July 22nd, 2014 )

Did you know that this Thursday, July 24, is National Tequila Day? If you’re like most people, you probably didn’t even know that this holiday existed. National Margarita Day, which falls is February, has in recent years received increased media attention. But there’s more to tequila than margaritas, so it’s about time that this south of the border favorite is recognized for its own nuances and flavors.

tequila shot

A little background for those who aren’t familiar with tequila. Like it’s neighbor to the north Kentucky bourbon, which must be produced following certain rules and guidelines, tequila by Mexican law must be made in Mexico, specifically in the state of Jalisco and limited areas in Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit and Tamaulipas. It is produced from blue agave, and more than 300 million blue agave plants are harvested for tequila production in Jalisco annually. Higher-end tequilas are made with 100 percent pure blue agave, while cheaper brands, called mixtos, use less. By law, however, all tequila must contain at least 51 percent agave.

There are five different categories of tequila, each based on how long the distilled tequila is aged.

Blanco: bottled immediately after distillation.
Joven: blanco that is flavored or blended with aged spirits.
Reposado: aged two months to one year.
Añejo: aged one to three years.
Extra añejo: aged at least three years.

If your last experience with tequila included the words “lick it, suck it, slam it,” and ended with a pounding headache the following morning, you might be thrilled to know that tequila has grown up and that there are now numerous premium brands available on the market.

Cirilo Oropeza

“Maybe you have in your mind tequila from 30 years ago. It is different because now all tequila producers in Jalisco really are researching and investing for quality,” says Cirilo Oropeza (pictured), master distiller for the super-premium craft brand Espolón. “Years ago, [slamming tequila] was necessary. But now you can enjoy your tequila without salt, without lemon. You can enjoy it straight.”

Following are a few more fun facts about Mexico’s favorite drink, courtesy of my friends at Blue Nectar Spirits Company. And don’t forget to check back on Thursday for some tasty recipes to help you celebrate National Tequila Day in style.

 

tequila consumption

 

Veni, Vidi, Bibi!


—Rebecca


 

Photos © Dave Pisani

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Drinking Green Rum in Beautiful Blue Curaçao

by Rebecca Rhoades
( June 30th, 2014 )

Willemstad

One of the things I really wanted to do on my recent visit to Curaçao was to tour Landhuis Chobolobo, the factory that produces the island’s eponymous drink: Genuine Curaçao Liqueur. After all, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “Curaçao?” Caribbean? Maybe. Snorkeling? Perhaps. Colorful cocktails made with Blue Curaçao? Absolutely!

Sadly, the factory was closed during the few short days that I was in Willemstad, the country’s capital and a favorite tourist destination, thanks to both a bank holiday and a lack of weekend hours. To say that I was disappointed was putting it mildly.

But then I learned of another island specialty: green rum. I was beginning to sense a trend. It seems the people of Curaçao like their spirits like they like their buildings: colorful. But unlike Blue Curaçao, which is a staple of every bar menu from Knip Beach to Caracas Baai, there was only one place I could get green rum. So I grabbed my friends and our driver and headed to the famous Netto Bar.

Netto Bar

Located off the tourist path in the Otrobanda neighborhood of Willemstad, Netto Bar is a tiny hole-in-the-wall joint with a decidedly local flavor. Opened in 1954 by local resident Ernesto (Netto) Koster, Netto Bar has been serving its “world famous” house-made Rom Berde (Papiamento, the native language of Curaçao, for “green rum”) since its earliest days. According to Netto Bar’s history, Netto created the drink when he was a young boy.

Netto Bar rum sign

Rom Berde bottle

Not knowing what to expect, I sidled up to the bar and asked for my very own Rom Berde. Without even so much as a hello, the grumpy bartender (remember, this joint doesn’t cater to the tourist crowd) grabbed some plastic cups, filled them with ice, and proceeded to quickly pour measured shots of the brightest green liquid I’ve seen this side of antifreeze. I sniffed my cup. Sweet….very sweet. I tasted a sip. So this is what antifreeze tastes like.

Pouring green rum horiz

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t antifreeze. After all, I’m still alive. But Rom Berde tasted unlike any rum I’ve ever had before. If I had to compare it to anything, I’d say it tasted a bit like Jägermeister. Or Nyquil. Good old classic green Nyquil.

Pouring green rum verticalOf course, my barkeep wouldn’t let me in on the rum’s secret ingredients.

“What exactly is ‘green rum’?”

“Rum.”

“Um, okay, but what makes it green?”

“Green.”

Blink, blink.

I asked again. “What makes it green? What gives it its color?”

You guessed it.

“Green.”

At that point, I gave up, grabbed my drink, and joined my friends at a small table near the bar. In the end, while the drink wasn’t to my taste—supposedly it’s more palatable when mixed with coconut water—I definitely enjoyed the ambiance away from the tourist-focused restaurants and bars. Netto Bar is the ultimate island dive bar—a fun, laid-back place to go when you’re looking to escape the hordes of cruise-ship passengers. Here, you can relax, check out a game on the small TV that hangs over the bar, and enjoy a Polar beer or, yes, even a shot of day-glo green rum. I’m glad I visited, if only for a brief moment.

But I never did find out what was in Rom Berde.

 

Veni, Vidi, Bibi!


—Rebecca


 

All photos © Rebecca L. Rhoades
My visit to Netto’s Bar was part of a sponsored media trip. All opinions, however, are my own.

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