Just what makes a skinny margarita?

(and how do I make one?)

Skinny Margaritas – they’re not just for Real Housewives you know. More and more people are choosing their cocktails based on the calories in the glass. These drinks aren’t new – and this combination of ingredients isn’t out-of-this-world. Well, it is incredibly delicious, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make a drink that gives more to the “tum” than the “bum”. Keep reading and we’ll tell you how.

Let’s start with alcohol. Alcohol equals calories so if you want a skinny margarita you have to make sure you only use so much. So, if you are going to use less Tequila, use good tequila. Start with organic 100% de Agave Tequila, in particular, a Blanco Tequila (we suggest our own). That way, you get more of the agave flavor, which will complement the other ingredients nicely. Of course, you can substitute the Blanco for a Reposado or Añejo (take this quiz to see which Tequila is right for you), and you’ll be happy anyway you choose.

Next, select your favorite soda water. You can go with sparkling water or club soda here. At Tres Agaves, we prefer to use club soda because the added minerals really complement our Tequila’s natural terroir, rich herb and citrus notes, that comes from our home in the Tequila Valley.

Find a cold beverage soluble agave nectar. You don’t want one that will sit undissolved at the bottom of your drink – so pay careful attention to what agave nectar you buy. We, of course, suggest our own! It’s made only from the same agaves we use in our Tequila and filtered water.

Finally, pick out a fresh-looking organic lime. We prefer the real stuff, limes squeezed by hand at the bar or at home, instead of pre-squeeze lime juice – that way you are sure there is no added sugar. There’s something about cocktails made using natural, simple ingredients that gets us excited to squeeze limes.

Ok, so you have your ingredients, now what? Measure out 1.5 oz of 100% de Agave Tequila, 3 oz of your choice of soda water, 0.5 oz of agave nectar, and 1 oz of fresh-squeezed lime juice, add to a cocktail shaker, shake with ice, and pour into a Collins glass over ice. Garnish with a lime wedge as desired.

There, that’s it. A simple skinny margarita made with easy to get ingredients that will wow your friends and family. Enjoy!

What’s Your Tequila?

Our three tequila expressions: Blanco, Reposado and Anejo

As some people know, there are three different expressions of Tequila: Blanco, Reposado and Añejo. But let’s be frank (and less pretentious): expression just means age or aging.

Blanco Tequila, like a lot of white wine, is aged very little or (as is the case with Tres Agaves) not at all. Reposado is aged between 2 and 12 months and finally, Añejo is aged anywhere from 1 year to 3 years.

But the real question is which one is right for you? We’ve created this little quiz to help you figure it out.

1. The favors I like most in food are:
a. Herbal, earthy, spicy
b. Caramel, soft, cinnamon
c. Vanilla, pepper, citrus

2. The cocktails I go for are like:
a. Martinis or any spicy cocktail
b. Manhattans or Old Fashioneds
c. Palomas or Cosmopolitans

3. I mostly prefer:
a. Having my alcohol in cocktails
b. Sipping my alcohol neat
c. Somewhere in between

If your answers were:

Mostly A’s. Purer than driven snow, your answers suggest you are a Blanco person. Blanco provides the most herbal expression of tequila and so is great for mixing in a wide variety of cocktails including ones that are spicy or blend with other herbal types of liqueurs.

Mostly B’s: It seems like you like a bit of a mix because you lean towards Reposado. Because of its aging, Reposado gives you the best of both worlds – a bit of vanilla from barrels and some of the agave plant’s pepper notes. That makes it great for both fruit-focused cocktails or sipping neat.

Mostly C’s You may be someone who likes bourbon or other whiskeys because it seems you lean towards Añejos. Because they are aged the longest of the three expressions we are discussing here, Añejos pick up more flavors and color from the barrels, which makes them a bit richer and more mellow (just like whiskey). That makes Añejos great for darker cocktails or sipping on ice.

There are no wrong answers and we hope that this quiz encourages to try all sorts of Tequila. Just try and make it Tres Agaves Organic 100% de Agave Tequila ok?

Tequila Vacations: Beach Time in Sayulita

Sayulita may not make tequila, but that doesn’t find you can’t find good tequila and Margaritas there, in addition to enjoying the beach

Relaxing on a Mexican beach – fabulous. Doing so with hordes of other tourists- less fabulous. Now, there are no beaches in Tequila, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t spend time on one after trying out the Blancos, Reposados and Anejos of our home town. To avoid the crazy of Puerto Vallarta, try Sayulita, a charming, low-key surf town in the Pacific coast state of Nayarit, lives and breathes relaxation.  While you won’t be the only tourists, there giant tourist factory hotels are absent.

Fly into Puerto Vallarta International Airport or take the 4-hour drive from Tequila to Sayulita, and check into one of the many great inns and hotels in Sayulita.  We love Amor and Oz. Just be sure to make a reservation because the area’s busy season, November to February, can make accommodations far and few in between.  

Once you’ve settled, you can find almost every type of cuisine, from torta and taco stands to chocolate crepes and pizza.  We love Tacos El Tal and Don Pedros, a lively surf-and-turf restaurant sitting right on the beach.  Grab a table facing the sea and watch the beautiful orange and pink hues dance before you as the Mexican sun sets over the Pacific.  Fear not – there is ample Tequila for margaritas, cocktails, or drinking neat.

Take some time to take a relaxing stroll through the town with its picturesque plaza and small streets (including an alley decorated with a lot of papeles). Artwork from Mexico’s indigenous peoples is sold throughout Sayulita, including at Manyana, which ceramics, apparel, and other accessories sourced from Mexico.  

We’d be remiss to not mention the incredible beachscape in Sayulita.  The Central Sayulita beach has an incredible surf break, attracting surfers from Mexico, North America, and beyond!  Don’t worry – you don’t have to be the next Kelly Slater to enjoy a day out on the water.  When you’re done, get some fresh fruit juice and relax.  

If you have any places you love in Sayulita, let us know!

Tequila’s Miracle Plant

The Blue Agave plant is not just any shrub

This is a blue agave plant used to make blanco tequila, reposado Tequila  and anejo Tequila. Great agave makes great tequila makes great Tequila cocktails

Originally native to Mexico, the Blue Agave plant is now grown throughout the world.  But only the Blue Agave plant grown in Jalisco, Mexico (plus a few other municipalities) can be used to make 100% de Agave Tequila. In fact, it is the only ingredient for Blanco, Reposado and Anejo Tequila.  
Despite its appearance, the Blue Agave plant is NOT part of the cactus family.  The agave family have more in common with the lily, and have no relation to the cactus, despite both being prickly succulents.  Close relatives to the Blue Agave plant are onions, garlic, palm trees, pineapples, artichoke, and asparagus.  The semi-circular arrangement of their leaves, or layers, hints at a biological similarity.   

The Blue Agave’s unique characteristics are borne from the water-starved environment of Mexico, equipping the plant with a natural resilience to drought and water shortage, as well as a multitude of other, natural defenses. Perhaps it is this need to survive without a lot of water, Blue Agave plants have incredibly long maturity cycle. Most agaves are harvested after 5-7 years of growth, but some jimadores prefer to harvest the plants at 14 years of age.  The longer they mature, the more agavins (fructose) can grow in the piña (the ‘heart’) of the agave, which means more Tequila!  

If you don’t harvest the Blue Agave in time, a large, long stalk grows straight up, with yellow flowers that blossom at its end.  The flowers require much of the piña’s sugar to grow, so jimadores make sure to harvest the plant before the stalk, let alone the flower, grow.  If the plant is left to blossom, it will die off, as it is monocarpic.  

This is a lot of information – truly interesting information – but we don’t blame you if you want a drink to wash down these Blue Agave plant facts. Might we recommend our Organic 100% de Agave Blanco Tequila (but feel to try our Reposado and Anejo too)? Salud!

Mexican Independence Day

Mexican cuisine – Chiles en nogada

September 16th is Mexican Independence Day (no, it’s not Cinco de Mayo), and believe it or not Mexican and American Independence have quite a few things in common.

Both were seeking to overthrow a colonial government that had conquered the native peoples of that land – the British for the Americans, and the Spanish for the Mexicans.

In addition, both revolutions have a rallying cry “moment” that fanned the flames of freedom. The Mexican equivalent of the Boston Tea Party is “El Grito” – the day Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla called on Mexicans in the town of Dolores to rise up against the Spanish.

Hidalgo was already involved in the revolutionary movement and it was, in fact, José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara (the George Washington of Mexico) who asked Hidalgo to inspire people to revolution. On the 16th of September at 2:30 AM (having freed about 80 pro-independence inmates from jail), Hidalgo rang the church bells and gathered the populous and said (in essence): “Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe [symbol of the Indians’ faith], death to bad government, death to the gachupines [the Spaniards]!”.

Each year the President of the Mexican Republic shouts a version of “El Grito” from the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City: “Viva México! Viva la Independencia! Vivan los héroes!” Everybody else celebrates with fireworks, bands and the odd glass of Tequila. We suggest you join them, raise a glass of Tres Agaves Tequila, and cheer, ‘Salud’!

Your Guide To Visiting the Tequila Valley

Local Insights for a Perfect Tequila Vacation

Tequila, Tequila Cocktails, Agave, Margaritas, Tres Agaves, Paloma Recipe, Agave Plants
The town of Tequila at dusk (the perfect time to drink tequila cocktails)

We’re very proud of our home in Tequila Valley – so proud that we’d like to invite you to come and spend time with us there amongst the agave fields.

You’d start your journey in the town of Tequila, just a 45 minute drive from Guadalajara airport. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and for good reason. Stand in the town square and admire the Parroquia Santiago Apóstol church, built in the 17th century in the baroque style with beautiful stained glass windows. If you come at the right time, you will also see the “voladores” or flying dancers. These dancers climb a 50 ft pole, spinning around it using ropes tied to their feet.

Tequila, Tequila Cocktails, Agave, Margaritas, Tres Agaves, Paloma Recipe, Agave Plants
Voladores in the town of Tequila

When you have finished, wander across the square to the town hall and see a beautiful mural by the artist Manuel Hernández which shows the story of the creation of Tequila (the spirit) from agave by the Aztec goddess Mayahuel.

Before the morning is out, you have time to wonder over to the Museo de Tequila. There you can learn more about the history of Tequila, how it is made and see some ancient tools (as well as some very cool bottle designs from various Tequila brands).

After this, or at any point along the way, it would be wrong for you not to want to stop and quench your thirst. Try going to La Cata (https://www.lacatatequila.com/), a bar with a huge variety of Tequilas and knowledgeable staff. If you’re hungry, grab a Torta from La Casa de Nena (https://goo.gl/maps/RnMzkenuYo8kuub89) right off the square or wander around the market to find some fresh tacos.

After all that, it might be time for a siesta! More of what to do in Tequila in Part 2.

Blue Agave: Health Facts

You may have heard about this magical plant the Blue Weber Agave plant. And the fact that it is the only ingredient allowed in 100% de Agave Tequila (like Tres Agaves) is not the only reason.

The Blue Weber Agave plant is the only ingredient used in agave nectar. To make the nectar, the agave plant’s piñas are crushed to extract the juices, which are then heated and filtered to create the simple sugar fructose, and then concentred into a syrup. Despite the fact that there are more steps in making agave syrup than say, harvesting honey from a beehive, it’s still considered a healthy option. Agave nectar has:

  • The same calories as honey (54 cal per tablespoon)
  • A very low glycemic index (19-27 vs. 83 and 89 in honey and high fructose corn syrup, respectively) means you won’t get high blood sugar levels.
  • Agave contains saponins, which have anti-inflammatory and immune system-boosting properties (think quinoa and ginseng)

The agave plant is also the source of the probiotic inulin. Inulin acts as food for certain gut bacteria and has been suggested by numerous studies to relieve constipation and promote weight loss.

The more you know!

Guadalajara: Gateway to Tequila

Planning to Visit Tequila? Try Guadalajara on your way.

If you’re looking to get to know Mexico beyond the standard fare of Mexico City and beaches, look no farther than Guadalajara. It’s the second-largest municipality in Mexico and has been a hub for Mexican culture for years (did you know mariachi was born in Guadalajara)? And of course, the town of Tequila is only a 45-minute drive away.

The capital of the state of Jalisco, Guadalajara has a rich history, present in its incredible architecture. From cathedrals to churches and plazas, you can spend hours checking out the Instituto Cultural de Cabañas (a UNESCO World Heritage site) and the Catedral de Guadalajara, constructed in 1561. For a city founded in 1452, Guadalajara has done a remarkable job preserving its historical architecture – so don’t miss it!

Not enough culture for you? Ok, head to the neighborhood of Tlaquepaque, a beautiful, vibrant art district whose main streets feature dancers, merchants selling trinkets and handmade artwork, and street performers. Let’s see your haggling skills on display!

While you’re there, grab a margarita (or other Tequila cocktails), or even a shot at El Parián de Tlaquepaque. This square is filled with bars and restaurants and so is a great place to grab a drink and listen to some of the Mariachi bands playing for various patrons. Feel free to ask for a song, but use those haggling skills to negotiate a price upfront.

And don’t forget, after a long day, find yourself some authentic Mexican cuisine. We love Santo Coyote – the atmosphere is incredible and you can’t go wrong with their dessert buffet. Just make sure you leave room for their Tequila cocktails.