Who’s says what’s the best?

I’ve been doing a round up of the medals, awards and accolades for a PR piece (catch it later this month!) and thought it would neat to share a listing of some of the top competitions that taste, rank and differentiate the over 20,000 beverage brands that we all love. It’s certainly not an all inclusive list but it’s a nice resource.

Who’s the best? These sites can “help” you decide. Yet, ultimately, the best is what “you” like.

For 10+ years the Beverage Testing Institute, has been ranking beers, wines and spirits. You can catch their latest reviews at:

http://www.tastings.com/LatestReviews.html

For Tequila-specific reviews go to:

http://www.tastings.com/search_spirits.lasso?se=k&kw=2010TequilaAnejo&sb=All&sf=ScoreForSort&dt=All
http://www.tastings.com/search_spirits.lasso?se=k&kw=2010TequilaReposado&sb=All&sf=ScoreForSort&dt=All
http://www.tastings.com/search_spirits.lasso?se=k&kw=2010TequilaSilver&sb=All&sf=ScoreForSort&dt=All

TheFiftyBest.com opines on all things “fine living”. The online pub ranks everything from beer to Tequila as well as topics outside the beverage category. Here’s their latest Tequila ranking:

http://www.thefiftybest.com/spirits/best_tequila/

The International Wine and Spirit Competition, started in 1969 and is an international competition where winners are determined by a combination of blind tasting and chemical and product analysis. Here’s a searchable directory of spirit rankings:

http://www.iwsc.net/search/spirit/

The San Francisco World Spirits Competition prides itself on being the first international spirits competition held annually in the US. f
For a lit of their latest spirits results go to:

http://www.sfspiritscomp.com/pdfs/2010SpiritsResultsbyClass.pdf

The Spirits of Mexico Competition judges (naturally) Tequilas and Mezcals and other Mexican beverages. For a list of their latest results go to: http://www.polishedpalate.com/docs/SOM2010_Competition_Results.pdf

The Ultimate Spirits Challenge, is a blind tasting lead by F. Paul Pacult of the New York Times and Spirit Journal author. Here’s a link to the award winners:

http://www.ultimate-beverage.com/uscresults2010/#tequila

The Ultimate Cocktail Challenge is Paul Pacult’s companion cocktail competition. For the latest go to:

http://www.ultimate-beverage.com/cocktail-competition/cocktail-tasting-results/#category3

The World Beverage Competition is the largest combined international competition which boasts industry judges hailing from 6 continents. Here’s a link to their home page which lists beer, wine, spirit and beverage winners: http://www.beveragecompetition.com/home.htm.

If I missed any of note please let me know and I’ll post your comment with a link to the site.

Salud!

Tequila Talk: Mixto

In just a few months I’ve gotten immersed in the Tequila culture here at Tres Agaves and things I hadn’t even thought about are part of my everyday “lingo”. Yeah. I’ve now acquired Tequila “lingo”.

One such term that is now part of my daily parlance is “Mixto”. “Mixto” now trips off the tongue quite easily. As if I’ve always known that Mixto was a term indicating a class of Tequilas that are blended with at least 51% Blue Weber Agave and at most 49% of other products (which typically are high fructose corn syrup and/or other sugars). 100% agave Tequilas, like Tres Agaves, are just that- 100% agave. No sugar, or anything else, added. One taste will tell ya. Not all Tequilas are the same.

And now I know why.

“Frieday” Fact: The Birth of the Frozen Margarita

According the HoustonPress the frozen margarita was invented by Mariano Martinez of Mariano’s Mexican Cuisine, in where else? The “Big D”.

The Frozen Margarita debuted at Mariano's Mexican Cuisine in Dallas.

Mariano got the recipe from his Dad who used to mix up virgin versions for customers who then would add their own Tequila to get around Dallas’ dry liquor laws. When the laws changed in the early 70’s Mariano adapted it to make it “production ready.” Key to his success was modifying a slushy machine. Even back then technology was king. The drink was enjoyed by everyone from Trini Lopez to Lee Trevino but it was Southern Methodist co-eds, who were looking for a frothy sweet drink to “function” with, that popularized it. Chi-Chi’s, Chili’s, Azteca’s and Applebee’s all thank you.

Tres Tequila Traveler

Some people have all the luck. Take Eric Rubin for instance. He spends his days and nights talking about food and Tequila and doing gigs like this one in Vegas:

Pancakes. Tequila. Agave Nectar? Sounds like breakfast, lunch, dinner AND dessert, Eric. Although I think I’m gonna have to be sold on the “buttered” agave nectar. I do love it in a cocktail, for lime aid and I am seriously gonna try out the “fun” Arnold Palmer.

Seriously, Eric earned his stripes in the restaurant business, having founded Tres Agaves restaurants among others, and is one of the foremost experts in Tequila in country. The guy is a wealth of knowledge- from history to tasting notes and flavor profiles – Eric’s the man and as you can see from the above he’s not shy in front of the camera. So he’s a natural ambassador for both Tres Agaves and 100% Agave Tequila in general.

And right now he’s doing just that: leading a couple dozen folks on a Tequila tour in and around the town of the same name. Mixing in Tequila facts, shots, tours of the local sites and I’m sure one helluva Day of the Dead party. When you go on a tour with Eric you can count on two things: knowledge and Tequila will be shared and Eric will be doing a lot of the pouring – both literally and figuratively. If you want to learn more about Tequila, the business or spirits/food in general, Eric’s a great resource. You can connect with Eric on Twitter by clicking here. Who knows? He might just invite you to join him on his next great Tequila adventure.

Eric Rubin Leading a Tour at a Distillation Facility

Tequila Talk: Batanga

On our recent trip to Tequila we made the pilgrimage to La Capilla, a small corner bar that could be easily over looked except for it’s the birthplace of one of Mexico’s favorite drinks: The Batanga. Truth is the “streetside” view of the bar doesn’t display a lot of curb appeal.

La Capilla in Tequila, Jalisco.

But what happens inside is completely charming.

The Batanga was created in 1961 by Don Javier Delgado Corona, now the octogenerian bar keeper at La Capilla. The Batanga is basically Mexico’s version of the Cuba Libre – substitute Tequila for Rum. Here’s a clip of Don Javier making his famous drink. And on our late Friday night excursion the master, while not tending bar, was the fixture of the establishment. While his family carries on tradition of mixing up Batangas, Don Javier sat quietly in corner chair, overseeing all and quietly accepting the well wishes of those who stopped by.

Here’s his recipe:

  • 50ml Tres Agaves Blanco Tequila
  • 2 squeezes of lime
  • Top with Coca Cola
  • Rim with Salt.
  • “Frieday Fact”: One big cocktail

    According to the Guinness Book of World Records the largest cocktail ever recorded was a margarita made in Las Vegas, on October 15, 2010, by the folks at Ricardo’s Mexican Restaurant as a way to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the restaurant. Here’s a pic:

    World's largest margarita ever made - Las Vegas, NV.

    To achieve this feat they poured in a giant glass (ok, tank) measuring 14 ft. 10 in. tall and 10 ft. in diameter with 1,215 US gallons of Tequila, 750 gallons of sweet and sour mix, 396 gallons of triple sec, 187 gallons of lime juice, nearly 5,000 gallons of spring water and 20 lbs. of salt. (Note: I’d have gone for the simpler 2 part Tequila, 1 part agave nectar, 1 part lime recipe but I wasn’t in charge.)

    The record breaking margarita “weighed” in at 7,627 gallons, enough to serve over 80,000 individual margaritas! Now that’s a party!

    (FYI, the previous record, at merely 7,038 gallons, stood for nearly 10 years.)

    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.