Tequila is my preferred drink of choice. Yup, there it is. That look telling me you think I’m insane. What, too many crazy nights in college followed by quality time in front of the porcelain god? Did you vow never to bring a shot of tequila to your lips again?
You know, I once had that problem. It wasn’t tequila, though… it was gin. Don’t ask. Please… don’t. I care to forget that night (It’s all rather fuzzy anyway). You know what, though? I got over it. After a few years, I gave it another shot. And it wasn’t immediately my cup of booze, but time (and many, many more gin and tonics) healed my wounds.
We’re not here to talk about gin, though (that will come in a future post). Let’s get back to the topic at hand: tequila.
So, you may all be wondering why? Why the heck would tequila be my favorite liquor? Well, there are two reasons. I want whatever I’m drinking to have personality and, in the case of tequila, the flavors are quite pronounced. The first taste packs a mighty punch (yeah, it burns a little), but its complexity requires repeated testing, making it an interactive experience (Sip. What am I getting there? Sip. Oak? Sip. Vanilla? Sip. Caramel? Ok. Now the bottle’s gone. Good night). It’s hard to find a vodka or gin you can say the same about (note: I’m not proclaiming that they don’t exist… just harder to come by).
Tequila also holds up wonderfully in cocktails. Even in a mixed drink, where sweet ingredients like ginger beer or triple sec or tropical fruit juices are used, it still stands strong. The fact that the tequila can take all of these imposing flavors and maintain a prominent spot is a testament to its greatness.
Any form of citrus – lime, orange, grapefruit – complements the tequila’s smokiness. You’re not trying to disguise it, but when you’re creating a cocktail, the key is to create balance.
Most folks have given the old margarita or Tequila Sunrise a try, so I wanted to give everyone something a little different. Have you ever heard of a Moscow Mule? No? Until recently, I hadn’t either. At some point last year, I was at a bar on a particularly hot day and I was thinking, “Hey, a margarita would be great right about now. But, you know what? I’m tired of ordering the same thing over and over again.” So, the bartender (apparently a mind reader) flashed me his charming smile, stepped away and came back a few minutes later, holding a shiny copper mug. ”What is it?” I asked.
And that’s when I was introduced to the El Diablo (“The Devil”), a take on the Moscow Mule (vodka, ginger beer, lime). The vodka was replaced with tequila and a little creme de cassis (a liqueur made with blackcurrants) was added, giving it a lovely rouge color. Very quickly, I became hooked. It’s completely refreshing, but there’s a constant heat from the ginger beer that lingers in every sip, leaving a pleasant tingle on your tongue. What can I say, I like a drink that bites back a little.
Yield: 1 Drink
Glassware: Moscow Mule Copper Mug or a Short Tumbler
1 1/2 oz. (45 ml) tequila blanco
1/2 oz. (15 ml) creme de cassis
1 lime, cut in half
Lime slice for garnish (optional)
1. Pour the tequila and Creme de Casis into a serving mug or glass with ice.
2. Squeeze fresh lime juice into the mug and throw in one spent shell.
3. Top with ginger beer.
4. Stir and garnish rim of mug or glass with lime slice.