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

Dispelling Tequila Myths

Tequila has long had a lot of myths and misinformation surrounding it, which has resulted in it having a certain reputation. But now it’s time to clear up those myths so that you can enjoy tequila in all its glory.  

The Worm

Contrary to popular belief, a bottle of Tequila should never have a worm in it. Some low-quality mezcals contain worms, but it’s best practice to never drink any bottle with a worm in it. By the way, in reality, the worm isn’t really a worm at all, it’s the larvae from a butterfly caterpillar. The more you know.

Tequila is Guaranteed to Give You a Hangover  

No, only bad Tequila is more likely to do that (and only if you drink too much of it, which you should never do). There are two main ways to make tequila: one where 100% of the alcohol comes from the agave plant (100% de Agave Tequila), and another where only 51% of the alcohol needs to come from agave (Misto). It is the Misto that can make your head hurt, mostly because the non-agave alcohol content is frequently of poor quality to keep the price low.  The moral of the story: always buy 100% de Agave Tequila (and if you could make it Tres Agaves, that would be nice) 

You should only use Blanco for cocktails:  

While a Blanco is most popularly used in cocktails, really any Tequila varietal can make a great cocktail.  Try mixing our Reposado in your margarita for a little darker, smokier taste. You can also sub in. tequila for other alcohols in cocktails: try making a Manhattan with Añejo instead of whiskey. 

Tequila is produced from any agave, anywhere in Mexico 

It’s actually a lot more specific than that. Tequila can only be made from the Blue Weber agave, which (by the way) is not a cactus but a member of the lily family, and closely related to yucca, beargrass, and sotol.  What’s more, there are only five states legally permitted to produce Tequila.  While the majority of Tequila comes from the state of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas have municipal districts sanctioned to produce Tequila.  

All Tequila Tastes the Same 

Definitely not! Just like wine, Tequilas have terroire, an element of taste that comes from the environment where the agave was grown. Tres Agaves is made from agave grown in the Tequila Valley. The plants are older, the soil is more volcanic, and the weather is hotter and wetter. This results in spicier tequilas with a strong citrus element. In contrast, Los Altos (The Highlands) area, has soil that is rich in iron and weather that is both cooler and dryer. This results in slightly sweeter tequilas with hints of vanilla and fruit.   

There you have it – a few of Tequila’s most popular misbeliefs dispelled. Check out our products, we sell organic 100% de Agave Tequila and organic cocktail mixers. We have dozens of delicious cocktails recipes to step your bartending game up, as well! Salud.

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!

Tequila Education

Agave machine

At Tres Agaves, we use a 4 stage roller mill to crush the agaves and extract the sugars. While we remain traditional with our practices, we like to use modern equipment to provide you with the best tequila.

Strawberry Margarita Recipe here.

Strawberry Margaritas

Ingredients:

2 cups frozen strawberries
1 tbsp sugar or 1 tsp Tres Agaves Nectar
¼ cup water
4 oz Tres Agaves Blanco Tequila
3 oz triple sec
2 limes, juiced
ice
salt

Directions

to make strawberry syrup combine frozen strawberries, sugar and water in a small pot over low to medium heat. Continue to cook on low for about 30 minutes until strawberries have broken down and mixture is thick.

Remove from the stove, pour into container and refrigerate until chilled.

To make the margaritas, add about a third cup of the strawberry syrup to a cocktail shaker, The more you add the sweeter the cocktail will be.  Add tequila, triple sec, lime juice and ice.

Shake ingredients well and pour mixture  into two glasses, rimmed with salt if you like.

Makes: 2 servings