Eric Rubin’s Journal: Tequila Interchange Project

Should foreign ownership of Tequila brands be allowed? Some argue no, but Eric Rubin disagrees with this view. In his most recent blog, Eric shares his thoughts on his trip to Mexico with the Tequila Interchange Project…

Ok, so I recently took part in the 2nd trip of the Tequila Interchange Project.

For those of you not familiar with the Project, I’ll let their mission statement do the talking:

“We’re a network of professionals engaged in promoting the education of the culture of Tequila in their local communities and abroad. We strive to create a highway of knowledge between teachers, workers, and connoisseurs of the culture of tequila, from the agave fields in Mexico to the cocktail bars across the USA. We are a network of connections and partnerships. We are both professor and pupil. We are the bridge of communication towards the future of tradition for tequila culture.”

I was fortunate to be selected and had a blast with my fellow team members. I admit that the radical leftist views of Latin American professors took me a little surprise, proposing no foreign ownership of Tequila brands! – but their knowledge, passion, and connection to the region were all very impressive.

The education and conversational aspect of the trip is what I found the most interesting, but I did feel that some of the goals expressed – while rooted in good intentions – could be problematic if not impossible to implement, and may be unfair to the large producers; not to mention small producers that are just starting to forge their own path…

Getting to your Proper Margarita

Hey

Today I was gonna write about the awesome home-cooked, holiday supper we had after yesterday’s sales meeting -each course featured a Tres Agaves product. But that will have to wait – check it out next week. Instead I’m reprinting a blog post done by Libation Lab’s Quinn Sweeney on the “proper” margarita.

Thanks for the words, Quinn!
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As much preacher as teacher, Eric Rubin is the agave evangelist from Tres Agaves Tequila who ran our Nirvino cocktail education event last week on making a proper margarita.

Conspicuously absent were the corn syrup, sugar cane spirits, sour mix and orange liqueur. Rubin promotes a margarita comprised simply of 100% agave tequila, fresh squeezed lime juice and agave syrup. His preferred 2:1:1 ratio is a bit sweet for me, but the quality of the simple drink shines through regardless.

The key to this recipe is the quality of the tequila. You get into trouble as soon as you pick up a bottle of “mixto” tequila, which is never indicated on the bottle with an honest “49% high fructose corn syrup” but simply by omission of “100% agave”. If the label doesn’t say “100% agave”, it isn’t.

I believe that if you prefer a fruity or exotic margarita, there’s no rule against modification, but remember that quality and simplicity are crucial. Substitute sweet and fruity ingredients for some or all of the agave syrup or lime juice to to maintain balance.

Rubin however, warns against frozen margaritas: “If you just blend up good ingredients with ice it both dilutes the drink and will also separate almost immediately due to no additives. The reason frozen ones with bad ingredients have such great texture is because they use corn starch or other thickeners to give it that milk shake smoothness.”

He does allow for salt in moderation, and told me, “… it came about during a bout of Spanish influenza in 1919/20 in Mexico. Almost all doctors told their patients to put lime and salt with almost all of their food. That led to Mexican men preferring their beer this way, which led to the whole shot with salt and lime phenomenon as well as salt on margaritas.”

So to recap, a proper margarita is the product of care, simplicity and purity as you will find in the recipe below.

The Tres Agaves Margarita
o 2 ounces Tres Agaves Blanco tequila
o 1 ounce agave syrup
o 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a glass with fresh ice.

Winning Cocktails at the Fillmore Holiday Cocktail Crawl

In the past few posts I’ve documented how I purchased, prepped and served all the Tequila cocktails that were featured at last night’s Fillmore Holiday Cocktail Crawl.

After my hosting duties were completed, I got to hang out with the 400 plus folks who attended and compare my creations with the experts. As a reminder here’s the drink list.

  • The Redevelopment
  • Fillmo’better
  • Jalisco Blossom
  • Joplin’s Juice
  • The Zapata
  • I sampled everything but The Zapata, which was “out” by the time I got there. So I’m trusting the law of supply and demand and that it must have been pretty tasty. All the drinks were high on the yum scale. In my own biased opinion my versions stacked up well against the Fillmo’better, the Jalisco Blossom and Joplin’s Juice. This is not to say I prepared better drinks than these Bartenders – only to say that they weren’t signifcantly worse.

    Sean McNeal’s 99 proof banana “frothing” on “Fillmo” was clearly on the money and on my lips. Mine was a little heavier in the glass – but still not bad. I preferred my version served up neat in a Martini glass. As you can see, though, I had no problem getting to the bottom of the glass. And apparently neither did anyone else as it was chosen the audience favorite. Congrats Sean!

    Finishing the Fillmo'better.

    The Redevelopment was clearly better and deLISH. It WAS the muddling of the Jalapeno. It made all the difference. It was spicier, better balanced. It was all at once sweet and sour with a pepper finish that made it come alive.

    I was too focused on enjoyed this and not focused enough on getting a shot. Wish I had a picture to share but, alas, I do not. I did snap this clinking of glasses though. A perfect way to finish off a great evening.

    One final toast.

    Bay Area folks: If you want to know which pubs are featuring these drinks, click here or pop me a comment. Happy to provide!