Winning Moves at Chico Bartending Showdown

Couldn’t resist posting this.

If I wasn’t worried about trashing my floor at home I would totally try this one. Steve Burke, of Madison Bear Garden in Chico, pulled this one off. It’s this kind of work that won him the Chico Bartending Showdown and a trip to the Tequila Valley courtesy of Tres Agaves Tequila!

Nice moves, Steve! Enjoy the juice down south!

Tequila Talk – NOM

“NOM” is short for Norma Oficial Mexicana (Official Mexican Standard) which are the official standards and regulations dictated by the Mexican Government.

Tres Agaves Tequila label with NOM info highlighted.

The Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) regulates production of NOMs for the industry and it specifically identifies that the spirit meets government standards to be classified as Tequila (much like a bottle of Champagne must meet certain standards in France.)

Since 1990 all 100% agave Tequila must have a NOM identifier on the bottle. The NOM number on the bottle indicates the distillery. In general the lower the NOM number (starting around 1100) the older the distillery.

“Frieday” Fact: The State of Control

At latest count there are at least 18 “control states” in the United States.

First, what is a “control state”? No, it’s not an over the top description of Miss Jackson (if you’re nasty) but a short-form name for a state government that controls the wholesale distribution and/or retail sale of alcohol – whether wine or spirits – to the general public.

In some states they control of distribution spirits but allow for the general retail distribution of beer and wine. In the U.S. of the states that control liquor sales only 9 actually run retail stores: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Alabama, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Others either permit licensed retail sales or contract out retail operations.

The entire list of control states includes: Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. (Plus a county in Maryland and a town in Minnesota.)

Everyone- from M.A.D.D., to distributors, to consumers, to importers- pretty much has an opinion about whether this set up is a good or bad thing. The State of Washington (where I am from) is opening up this question to the voters this Tuesday. The general argument pits potentially less tax revenue and decreased monitoring versus greater product selection at more locations at potentially cheaper prices. All things for us all to consider. On Wednesday, we’ll see what Washingtonian’s decide and learn what’s the “will of the people”.

Want to know more about liquor control in the United States?

A good review from Wikipedia can be found here and here.

You can also check out this from legalbeer.com.

Tequila Talk – Hijuelos

Hijuelos are the baby agave shoots or “pups” that grow up around the main plant when the plant has matured to about the 3 years of age.

In the wild agaves reproduce with the help of bats who pollinate the large yellow flower that emerges at five to seven years. As a practical matter this method of reharvesting has been widely abandoned because it takes too long and importantly the stock and flower rob the plant of vital starches required for making quality Tequila.

An hijuelo in the fields

As such, most farms cultivate the hijuelos and replant them as a means of replenishing the crop. To find out more about Tequila harvesting check out this site.

Frieday Fact: Yanks Like Tequila (a lot)

According to the Mexican National Chamber for the Tequila Industry 135 million liters of Tequila were exported in 2009 – and most of it heads north. Nearly 108 million liters crossed the border, representing almost 80 percent of all Tequila exports. That’s a lot of shots and margaritas, folks. How about over 3.6 BILLION?

Ready for some shots in Guadalajara
The top five Tequila importing (drinking and/or consuming) countries also might surprise you. Here’s how they stacked up in 2009:

1. United States (108 million liters)
2. Germany (5.9 million)
3. Spain (3.1 million)
4. France (2.3 million)
5. Japan (1.4 million)

Winning Recipes from Margarita Challenge

Thea Sommers, who bartends at Carefree Station in Carefree, AZ was the winner of the Tres Agaves Margarita Challenge at the recent Arizona Taco Festival. Thea was clearly on her game with her Apple Pie Margarita and Sombero cocktails. She served them up with sass and class.

Check out these photos.

We have a winner.

For those who want to make these winning cocktails here’s the secret to Thea’s success:

Apple Pie Margarita
1oz green apple puree
1oz cinnamon simple sryup
2oz Tres Agaves Tequila
3 squeezes of lime
sparkling cider

Add all ingredients into shaker, shake well, pour into a tall glass with cinnamon sugar rim, garnish with apple and carmel.

Sombrero
1 slice red bell pepper
2 cilranto leaves
2 oz Tres Agaves Tequila
1 oz Tres Agaves 100% Organic Agave Nectar
2 lime squeezes
Float of Mezcal
habanero sauce(abourt 2 drops)
Smokey Salt for garnish

Muddle red pepper, cilranto, and agave nectar, add rest of ingredients, shake well, strain, pour over ice into a bucket glass, garnish with a smokey salted rim and a slice of red pepper.

Sounds better than yummy, Thea!

Tequila Talk – Jimador

Agave harvesting is tricky business. First of all, they take at least 8 years to mature. Second, if you harvest them too early you’re gonna wind up with a bitter batch. Harvest them too late then the Tequila will be too sweet. Perfecting the process is the job of the jimador (HE-mah-door).

Jimador tending to the blue agave

The jimador is the master farmer who tends, picks and harvests the Agave plants to ensure that they are of the highest quality and harvested at precisely the right time. They tend the fields, select which plants are mature, slice off the leaves to expose the piña – which is then cooked, fermented and distilled to produce Tequila.

Getting to the heart of the agave

Want to know more about Jimadors? Check out Lalo’s – Tequila Connoisseur Corner.