Tequila. This liquid brings many good/bad/amnesic memories to all of us.
Tequila has a deep heritage dating back to 1666 and making a great tequila takes at least 7 years as the agave plant develops the sugars required. The humble yet versatile agave plant has given birth to many a luxury tequila.
Below are some reasons why (in moderation – please drink responsibly) tequila can actually be good for you as you spend longer at home and a pick of our favourite luxury tequilas.
Pure agave tequila is low in sugar as it only has 50 calories per 25ml measure and no carbohydrates thanks to the distillation process. It has the least calories of any alcohol. Agavins, a particular kind of sugar in tequila, can help boost weight loss as they won’t raise blood sugar levels and are non-digestible.
Drinking 100 percent blue agave tequila after a full meal makes it a useful digestif as agave contains high amounts of inulin, which aids the digestive system by growing good bacteria. It is also a good prebiotic as the agave plant fibre nourishes the good bacteria already in the gut.
Fructans can promote bone health so supplementing diets with agave fructans can prevent bone loss and promote healthy bone formation. It also contains substances that enhance the absorption of calcium and magnesium in the body, both of which are essential minerals for bone health.
HOW TO TASTE TEQUILA
Firstly, glass choice. Drink it from a Riedel Ouverture tequila glass (the only glass designated for tasting by the Tequila Regulatory Council) which has a tall stem designed to lift fine tequila. Secondly, instead of throwing it down your throat, take a small sip, swish it around your mouth for two seconds, breath in deeply through your nose and exhale out. Finally, be respectful to this fine liquid when tasting and never spit. Always swallow.
WHAT ABOUT FOOD PAIRING?
Tequila goes well with food as there are 750 flavour notes in tequila compared to wine where there are only up to 150 flavour notes. Caviar has always been matched with vodka but caviar also goes really well with tequila.
King’s Fine Food have a wide range of delicate caviars that find harmony with tequila’s complexities especially blanco tequilas. King’s Fine Food sell the finest farmed caviar from around the world and deeply care about the provenance of their caviars with regular DNA testing (the first UK company to do this) and tracing at every step. If you’re a caviar first timer, King’s are also happy to advise you and help you choose the right caviar.
I recommend the Golden Oscietra caviar to go with tequila. This rare egg is rich, creamy and has a beautiful light gold colour. It is often bigger than the darker Oscietra egg. The delicate roes roll perfectly under the palate, gradually freeing their unique flavour.
When tasting caviar with tequila, it is better to take a small sip of tequila as above and then take a little caviar, tasting it slowly. The delicate savoury eggs and the tequila both have such clean pure flavours and work well together. Tequila literally cuts through the silky richness of caviar and counter balances the salty pop that quality caviar has.
OUR FAVOURITE LUXURY TEQUILAS
Casa Dragones Joven
Casa Dragones Tequila is an independent, award winning, strictly small batch producer creating ultra-premium sipping tequilas. They have two expressions, Blanco and Joven. Casa Dragones Joven is a blend of 100% pure blue agave silver and extra aged tequila which has been rested in new American Oak barrels for 5 years giving it a crisp, smooth character.
There are suitable nuances in taste based on each harvest and the individual batch number is on every bottle. Our batch (35) of Joven had aromas of grapefruit, green apples and garden herbs fill the nose while the palate offers notes of agave, pepper and cloves. A complex extra smooth finish is ideal for sipping and pairing with food including caviar, oysters and even hazelnut praline desserts, bringing out the nuttier notes. The bottle is also stunning and presented in a distinctive sky blue presentation box. The crystal decanter is hand engraved with pepita, a traditional Mexican engraving technique from the 1500s.
BUY IT HERE
A small batch, hand-crafted, ultra-premium tequila made its UK debut with Blanco (triple distilled) and Cristalino (matured for 18 months in American oak barrel and charcoal-filtered). Satryna is made from 100% Blue Weber agave sourced from the rich volcanic soil of Jalisco. After 12 years of nurturing, each agave is then carefully harvested, steamed for 24 hours, triple distilled then aged in oak barrels imported from Cognac and California. Triple distillation gives it that smooth finish but retains complexity.
Satryna Cristalino is remarkable. SO smooth and with a smoky undertone, we tasted delicate flowers, herby agave and a hint of honey. The bottles look striking too and stand out on any drinks trolley. Try this tequila with my favourite habanero corn.
BUY IT HERE
Young mavericks behind British tequila brand Enemigo Max Davies-Gilbert and Robin Clough have created an intriguing multiple award winning tequila. Enemigo means enemy. They want Enemigo to define itself as the enemy to negative tequila stereotypes surrounding the iconic spirit of Mexico. Its smooth, smoky and delicate. Enemigo 89 is aged for over a year after production and then a three phase filtration gives even more smoothness and flavour. The 89 stands for the number of recipes tried in creating it.
BUY IT HERE
CORTE VETUSTO MEZCAL ENSAMBLE II
Tequila is technically a mezcal although there are differences in production technique and in the types of agave used. Tequila is made from a single type of agave plant but mezcal can be produced from up to 28 varieties of agave (including blue agave) and is usually smokier in character.
Corte Vetusto is a range of multi-award winning small batch mezcals created to challenge perceptions on mezcal. The process begins by cooking agave which is then milled by volcanic stone. Once the agave is fermented naturally, it is then distilled twice. The result in the Ensamble II is a smooth, smoky liquid that is best enjoyed on its own.
BUY IT HERE
This fine liquid is handcrafted from the finest 100% Blue Weber Agave and distilled in small batches at Hacienda Patrón distillery in Jalisco, Mexico. It’s then aged in a combination of French oak, Hungarian oak and used American whiskey barrels.
It is warm amber in colour with an oaky wood, vanilla aroma. It is smooth and sweet with a long finish of caramel and smoky notes. Although delicious on its own as a sipping tequila, it also works well in a margarita. Each stunningly designed bottle comes individually numbered too.
BUY IT HERE
1800 CRISTALINO AÑEJO
Cristalino is essentially an aged tequila that has been filtered to remove the colour it picks up as it spends time in the barrel. This results in a tequila that has the complexity and character of a barrel aged tequila with the crisp bright notes of a blanco. Taste wise, the first thing we notice is buttery agave tones. This is full bodied yet has an easily palatable texture and oaky flavour, perfect for sipping neat.
Inspired by 18th Century décor, 1800 Cristalino Añejo is in a gorgeous crystal decanter style bottle with fine cuts in the glass creating striking crystal prisms.
BUT IT HERE
El Rayo is a premium, 100% agave tequila distilled using a unique blend of highland and lowland agave. The two unique blends of agave, No.1 Plato, and No.2 Resposado are grown over the course of eight years and roasted for 12 hours then twice distilled in 105-year-old copper stills.
El Rayo’s signature serve is the tequila & tonic that can be savoured as a long highall drink. We drank it neat from the freezer which was also delicious. Looking to dispel the outdated stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding tequila, we love El Rayo’s aim which is to create an experience that will encourage people to rediscover the spirit and to be the tequila that gets people drinking tequila.
BUY IT HERE
TEQUILA COCKTAILS BY LOLLIPOP
Now that we are spending more time at home, how about a home delivered luxury tequila cocktail in a bottle? Originally an immersive entertainment company, Lollipop also now recreate bar grade cocktails that will come direct to you.
Handmade in Chelsea and delivered all over the UK, we tried their Paloma with Don Julio Resposado, ting and grapefruit. Just pour it over ice, rim the glass with a good smoked salt and garnish with dehydrated grapefruit (provided by Lollipop in the package). Cocktails come in small bottles (140-180ml) and large bottles (500ml). Remember to chill your Paloma before drinking.
BUY COCKTAILS HERE
£18 (500ml bottle of Paloma)
Remember to drink responsibly, not reprehensibly.
By Mark Captain