History of the Negroni: Count Negroni

The Negroni, and its cousin the Aperol Spritz, is the “it” cocktail right now. But just what is it and where did it come from?

It all starts with the creation of Campari in Italy in 1860. The inventor, a cafe owner in Novara, Italy, infused fruit and a secret spice blend into alcohol to create this now-famous liquor. The drink became popular, with most people adding sweet vermouth to lessen the bitterness of the original drink.

Americans coming to fashionable Milan in the early 20th century also took to the drink but preferred their aperitifs with soda water. The resulting concoction became known as an Americano. Cue Count Camillo Negroni.

In 1920 Negroni was at his favorite Florentine cafe when he asked the bartender to make his Americano stronger. The bartender switched out the soda for gin and the result was what we know as the classic Negroni.

Today there are many versions and derivatives of this favorite drink. Our preferred variation is to switch out the gin for, you guessed, Tequila (specifically our Añejo). Try our own Jalisco Negroni for the Tequila twist.

Salud!

How is Tequila made?: Distillation

Ever wonder how Tequila is made? You’ll often see Tequilas boast about being distilled twice or even three times. So let us let you in on a little secret: every Tequila is distilled twice and distilling more than that could actually make the Tequila taste worse.

Let’s start with the number of times Tequila needs to be distilled. Remember, we start by roasting agave, crushing them and then fermenting that juice. So far we only have a liquid that has 5% alcohol content. So we then distill it, separating the alcohol from the water, and we get something called Ordinario which has between 20% and 25% alcohol. But all Tequila has to (by law!) be between 35% and 55% alcohol, so we give it a second distillation and that gets up to between 50% and 55%. This is what every single Tequila company must do. This resulting Blanco Tequila is either bottled or aged to become Reposado and Anejo tequila

So is there anything in the distillation process that allows Tequilas to distinguish themselves? Yes! The first and last parts of Ordinario or Tequila to be distilled are called the tops and the tails of the distillation. They contain alcohols you definitely don’t want to drink (because…science). The skill of the master distiller is knowing just where the cut off points are to only keep the best alcohols.

So what about distilling 3 times? The fact is that every time Tequila is distilled, congeners – the molecules that give liquor their taste – get sacrificed. More distilling, less flavor.

By the way, at Tres Agaves we only distill twice in copper-lined stills. Our master distiller, Iliana Partida, is a 4th generation Tequilera so brings years of knowledge with her to craft a smoother, brighter Tequila.

Salud!

Bartending Tips – Provided by Tres Agaves

Buenos días, amigos! As a company whose mission is to help people create authentic Mexican cocktailsa, Tres Agaves is all about giving you, the home bartender, all the tools you need to do just that. Our organic 100% de Agave Tequila and organic margarita mixes are a start, but any good mixologist (amateur or professional) knows the ingredients are half the job. You need to know what you’re doing to make a refreshing cocktail.

That’s why we’ve reached out to our favorite mixologists on social media for their best and most useful bartending tips so we can help you make bar-quality cocktails at home. Here are a couple from two of our favorite mixologists: Tanner Johnson (@thebarologist) and Jason Yu (@jasonfyu).

“The importance of jigger use to stay consistent even when you think free pouring is cooler and ‘you have your pour count down.” – Tanner Johnson

“Work clean! Always make sure tools are clean and rinsed before and after each use.” – Jason Yu

History of the Martini

Tequila Martini made with organic 100% de agave cocktail

Like that of many cocktails, there are a number of origin stories for the martini.  While it may impossible to confirm the veracity of the following stories, they are entertaining nonetheless, and we can’t thank whoever invented the cocktail enough. Without the martini, we wouldn’t have the Tequila Martini!

One story traces the martini’s origins to Martini di Arma di Taggia, a bartender at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City prior to World War I.  His cocktail blended London dry gin, Noilly Prat Vermouth and orange bitters – similar to the modern-day Martini.  Another story places the origin in 1863, with Martini & Rossi, an Italian sweet vermouth, that customers would have ordered alongside gin.  A “gin and martini” may have evolved into the martini, a likely theory given the simplicity of cocktail names during the 19th century. 

The city of Martinez, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, claims the predecessor of the Martini was created by a local bartender named Julio Richelieu when a miner, who’d recently struck it rich during the California Gold Rush, asked for a glass of champagne.  Without any in town, Julio Richelieu whipped up a “Martinez Special”, a drink the miner recalled the next day having exceeded his expectations.  When he tried to order it in San Francisco, the bartender – obviously never having prepared a “Martinez Special” before – created one with one-part dry wine and three parts gin.   Yet another claims the drink was named after the strong recoil of the Martini & Henry rifle, in use by the British Army between 1870 and 1890.  Wherever and whenever the martini was truly first created, it took years before the ratio of dry vermouth to gin reached a more modern level.  A traditional martini is made with gin and dry vermouth at a 1:1 ratio and served cold with a green olive or lemon garnish.  The level of gin has increased with regularity over the years, with personal taste and subjectivity requesting ratios of 3 or 5:1, gin to vermouth.

While there isn’t a clear story on how Tequila came to replace gin as the standout spirit of the traditional martini, there’s no doubt that it is a variation on the classic cocktail worth a taste.   The Tequila Martini substitutes gin with Blanco Tequila, keeps the dry vermouth, and adds a lime garnish.  You’ll find the natural citrus and herbal flavors of our never-aged organic Blanco Tequila are well-balanced by the dry vermouth.  For a hot summer day, this cool cocktail will keep you feeling refreshed (and ready for a fiesta).  

Tequila Martini

Tequila Martini

Recipe:

Instructions:

  • Pour organic Blanco Tequila and dry vermouth into a mixing glass filled with ice.
  • Stir and strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  • Garnish with a lime twist and enjoy!