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FEATURED SPIRIT
claim 1873, Wikipedia suggests the 1880s, and the Cuervo website claims that they were shipping barrels to
California in 1852. What we can all agree on is that tequila has become a worldwide sensation.
The majority of tequila comes from the state of
Jalisco, specifically from the city of Tequila or the surrounding area. As well it should. The red volcanic soil
of this region, with heavy deposits of iron and aluminum, is ideal for growing agave. Sotol tequila, however, comes from the area in and around Chihuahua.
Today there are more than 150 tequila distilleries
in Mexico, which produce approximately 1,400 different brands. Most are made by huge multinational
corporations but cultivating agave is, most often, still
done by hand using traditional methods. The jimadores, who harvest over 300 million agave plants per
year, pass on their craft and lore from one generation
to another.
It takes around 10 years for the blue gave to mature
in order to produce tequila, and only the pina-the
heart of the plant-is used. But that's more enough:
the pina can weigh as much as 200 pounds.
Mexico is strict about its national drink. Until
2004, the country's Tequila Regulatory Council would
not permit any beverage with added flavors to use the
name tequila, and this is still true today for anything
labeled "100% Agave Tequila."
Tequila can be classified in different ways. The primary division is between 100% blue agave and mixed
("mixto") tequilas. The first takes all its sugars from the
agave plant, while the second uses only 51% or more. The
remaining sugars are derived primarily from sugarcane.
These two main branches can be split into five additional categories. Silver tequila-also called, platinum, plata, white or blanco-is clear and typically
unaged. This is a very pure drink-the natural sweetness of agave is clear and present. Tequila gold ("oro")
is usually a mixto with added colors and flavors. This
is a cheaper variety often used for cocktails. Tequila reposado is aged in wooden barrels or tanks from
anywhere between two and 11 months. These are also
called rested or aged. Tequila añejo is extra aged. It
must rest in casks no larger than 600 liters for at least
a year. The resulting beverage will be darker with a
smooth, rich, nuanced flavor. The final type, extra añejo, is aged for three years or more. This "ultra aged" variety, introduced in 2006, is the most complex, sophisticated version of tequila.
The most popular brands, according to sales data,
in the Luxury and Ultra-Premium Tequila categories
are: Patron, Don Julio, Milagro, Corralejo, Casamigos,

38 PURE SPIRITS

Cazadores and Herradura. In the Mid-Tier Tequila
Category, Jose Cuervo, Sauza, El Jimador and Margaritaville are favorites.
The only thing better than the rich history of tequila is drinking it. In America, the most popular way
to enjoy the spirit is straight down the hatch. Many
enthusiasts employ the "lick-shoot-suck" method. Lick
your hand between thumb and index finger, add a
healthy dash of salt, drink down a shot of tequila, and
suck the juice from a fresh lime. In Mexico, they call
this tequila cruda, but it's not the preferred technique.
Mexicans like to sip their tequila neat. In some parts of
the country, they have tequila with a side of sangrita,
which is a tangy combination of orange, pomegranate
and lime juices with a little chili powder. Mexicans also
like the patriotic bandera. You take three shot glasses
and fill one each with green lime juice, white tequila
and red sangrita-the colors of their flag.
Tequila is also a great spirit for mixing cocktails.
The margarita is the most iconic, of course, and it's
the #1 cocktail in America. but there are many others,
including the Tequila Sunrise, Juan Collins, Tequini,
Matador and Tequila Mockingbird. The most popular
cocktail in Mexico is the Paloma.
National Tequila Day is July 24, so be prepared.
Buy a premium tequila and sip it over ice or neat, the
traditional way. If you have a good quality spirit, you
should take the time to enjoy it.

The Margarita
2 ounces tequila ½ oz. triple sec
1 ounce lime juice 2 cups ice
2 teaspoons sugar ¼ cup salt
Lime wedge
Spread salt on a small plate. Run lime wedge halfway around
the rim of a 10-ounce glass. Dip the moist side of glass into the
salt. Set aside.
In a shaker, combine lime juice and sugar until the sugar
dissolves. Add tequila, triple sec and ice. Shake vigorously and
strain into the glass. Add extra ice as desired.

The Paloma
2 ounces. silver or blanco tequila ½ ounce lime juice
Grapefruit soda or seltzer Ice
Lime wedge ½ cup salt or sugar
Add salt or sugar in a shallow bowl or plate. Dip the rim of the
glass in water before putting it into the salt or sugar. Fill glass
with ice. Add tequila and lime juice. Float a little grapefruit
soda on top. Garnish with fruit.



MSA Pure Spirits 2018 Q2

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