For some reason, I have vivid memories of watching the men’s gold medal hockey game from the Vancouver Olympics four years ago. It’s likely because it was an exciting game with an overtime victory for Canada. But I also remember us celebrating with a few shots from a fine bottle of tequila we had just brought back from a vacation to Mexico.
So last Sunday, following a slightly more boring gold-medal final at the Sochi Olympics, I figured we should stick with tradition and celebrate with some fine tequila we once again brought home from our Mexican vacation. Mind you, we waited until supper, because a Mexican Margarita is a tough drink for breakfast during a hockey game that starts at 6 a.m.!
For those of you who shudder from painful memories or a bad taste in your mouth at the mere word “tequila,” I have a bit of info to share. This all started with a conversation with our son-in-law Mark, who is possibly the best researcher I know – especially about interesting things like tequila and craft gin (more on that in a later blog). I learned a bit more in subsequent trips to Cabo San Lucas, where the locals shared their tequila knowledge.
Tequila is made from the blue agave plant, grown in just a couple of areas of Mexico, primarily surrounding the city of Tequila. There are two basic types of tequila – 100% agave, and mixto, which can have no less than 51% agave. The remainder of the content of mixto is sugar, which I believe is what made me sick in university. To get good, pure tequila, it must clearly say 100% agave on the label.
The colour of the tequila relates to the aging process – the browner, the older, better, and more expensive:
- Blanco is bottled immediately or aged only up to 60 days
- Repasado is aged up to a year in wooden barrels
- Anejo is aged a year or more in oak barrels
- Extra Anejo is aged a minimum of three years
Some of the mixto has colouring added to make it looked like an aged tequila. Between that and the sugar, that impacts the quality and taste. I believe that like beer, the most popular brand is what they feed the tourists because the name has been marketed. The good stuff is what the locals buy.
We buy 100% agave blanco in Saskatchewan. When we are in Mexico, we bring home a Reposado, which is nice as a sipping drink on ice, a shooter, or in the Mexican Martini (below), a drink I learned to make from my ace researcher, Mark. Tequila is also great to add to frying shrimp.
A couple of other interesting facts. Mexican laws state that tequila can only be produced in limited, specified regions of the country, and Mexico is granted international right to the word “tequila.” The U.S. officially recognizes that spirits called tequila can only be produced in Mexico, although by agreement there are bulk amounts exported to be bottled in the U.S.
Our Reposado from Cabo San Lucas and our rimmer set. It’s handy if you like to salt the rim and it can be used for a multitude of drinks.
- margarita mix (I like Mr. and Mrs. T Margarita Mix by Mott’s because it isn’t too green and limey tasting. The more natural the better. You can even make your own with fresh squeezed limes and sugar)
- Olives (jalapeno and garlic stuffed olives from Costco are my faves)
- need a martini shaker or a strainer
- need a glass rimmer if desired
- Fill a shaker glass to half with ice
- Measure in 4 shots of tequila
- Add 8 shots of margarita mix (I always mix 2 to 1, mix to tequila)
- Shake vigourously
- Rim two martini glasses with salt
- Pour about a tablespoon of olive juice in the bottom of each glass
- Stab two olives and place in glass
- With a strainer, pour the mix into the two glasses and enjoy
A strange tradition, having a Mexican martini to celebrate Canada’s gold-medal win!