Celebrating Día de los Muertos

This picture  was taken earlier today at La Calle, an Oakland Mexican restaurant that the Tres Agaves team frequents quite often for their delicious Mexican cuisine, more specifically their al pastor burrito gringo and carnitas tortas. The drawing on the upper right of this amazing collage is a print of the famous etching done by Jose Guadalupe Posada, entitled ‘La Calvera Catrina‘ or ‘The Elegant Skull’, from the year 1913.

Mariachi skeletons wishing you a festive Dia de los Muertos!

Uno + Dos + TRES = Perfecto!

The Faces in that (Mexican?) Frame

I should probably confess that in the age of dynamic design programs and versions of those programs like Photoshop and Illustrator CS5 – I do a quick scope to make sure no one in the office is looking – then open up MS Paint, which is not all that different than rocking a word processor at your desk.


Forget functionality, look at that color! No bueno!

So what kind of visual wonders do I construct in this truly masterful program (where you’re not able to edit much of anything without starting the whole project again!)?

Well heck, I thought, why not introduce the Tres Agaves team/bloggers in a festive frame with a Brady Bunch patchwork of faces (Jamie’s face is not that big in comparison to the others really; I’m learning to resize). But seriously, look at the detail in that frame! All those suns! So sunny! Not sure it’s Mexican really as I found it on iStockphoto but it could very well be Mexican? I typed in ‘Jalisco, authentic, frame’ in the search field.

You’re probably asking who are all these lovely smiling people in that totally Mexican frame? What do they do at Tres Agaves? What can I expect from their blogs? Head to the kitchen and mix yourself a Margarita (with Tres Agaves Organic Margarita Mix). Take a sip or two and read on…

I wrote these intros below so they are not members of the team team espousing grandiose thoughts about themselves…

Mia Harlock (me), Marketing Manager. I’ll be writing about things I see in the press, food and beverage-related tid-bits, and on occasion, events/festivals and random streams of consciousness blah that result from ADD and too much caffeine.
Steve Halili, Marketing Assistant. Steve is our social media dude so he’s the best resource for all things digital, which basically means all things these days, doesn’t it? Let’s narrow that field and say Steve will be waxing poetic about ‘community’.
Ned Cartmell, Marketing Project Manager. He’ll be blogging about Tequila mostly, maybe with a sports score thrown in now and again.
Chris Galante, Arizona & Colorado Market Manager. Out-and-about, in the field, bars and restaurants. It doesn’t matter what Chris says really: 97% of the time it’s funny.
Jamie Chilberg, NorCal Market Manager Jamie is that friend that’s so cool that she knows everything cool going on in your city, and I’m like “Where do you find about about all this?” but I think it’s just in her blood.
Eric Rubin, Brand Director. He’s our knowledge man: 100% agave Tequila, Jalisco, the culture and traditions of Mexico, spirits and the bar & restaurant industry. He’s also our op ed man, so expect some pretty passionate thoughts on things.

We’ll have 4-6 blogs (combined, not each) a month for all you readers moving forward, so make sure to watch this space…

No go finish off that Margarita!

Uno + Dos + TRES = Perfecto!

Regional Cuisine of Mexico… and not a burrito in sight!

mexi on plate
The many ingredients in Mexican ‘Mole’ sauce.

By Eric Rubin, Brand Director of Tres Agaves

I’m asked pretty regularly if I can give people a quick overview on the primary regional cuisines from Mexico, that is, the ones you see most often represented (correctly or not!) in Mexican restaurants in the U.S. Keep in mind, this is just a short blog entry, and Mexico is behind only France and China for the number of documented recipes for its native dishes.

To me you have three primary regional cuisines: Yucatecan and Oaxacan in the South, and Jaliscan/Michoacan in central Mexico. Yes, I know I’m leaving out Mexico City! I put northern/border cuisine as closest to Tex-Mex, which I’ll focus on in another entry. For now, I’ll give you my abridged summary on the differences between the regions just mentioned.

Yucatecan – Yucatecan dishes tend to be very colorful and lean towards a fusion of Spanish, Caribbean and native Mexican cuisine. Typical ingredients include: black beans, corn tortillas, pickled red onions, habañero peppers, salsas with fruit. Signature dishes are Cochinita Pibil, Panuchos, Poc Chuc, and Sopa de Lima. There is no distilled spirit native to the Yucatan.

Oaxacan – I’d say Oaxacan is the most complex of all Mexican regional cuisines. Signature dishes include Tlayudas, moles of all types, and molletes. Mezcal is native to Oaxaca.

Jaliscan/Michoacan – Jaliscan cuisine to me is the most rustic of the regions, rooted in a beautiful simplicity. Ingredients include: pinto beans, flor de mayo beans, corn tortillas, chile de arbol, Serrano chile. Signature dishes are Carnitas, Carne en su Jugo, Tortas Ahogadas, Birria, Pozole. And of course, Tequila is the spirit native to Jalisco!

Caprese Cocktail by Mixologist Patrick Johnson

Santa Cruz-based mixologist Patrick Johnson created this Caprese salad-inspired cocktail with Tres Agaves’ 18 month oak barrel-aged Añejo Tequila, our new Organic Margarita Mix, Cocktail-Ready Agave Nectar, and a medley of organic produce you can find at your local farmer’s market or real foods store.  A refreshing interpretation of the classic Italian starter dish.  (Gotta’ love that Mozzarella garnish!)

Ingredients:

2 oz Tres Agaves Añejo Tequila

1 oz Tres Agaves Organic Margarita Mix

Splash of Tres Agaves Cocktail-Ready Agave Nectar

1 medium sized organic cherry heirloom tomato

5 medium sized basil leaves

Small dash of celery bitters

.5 oz lime juice

3 turns of fresh cracked pepper

Dash of Chipotle powder

Small ball of Mozzarella cheese

Preparation:

– In a mixing glass muddle organic heirloom tomato and basil leaves.

– Add Tres Agaves Añejo Tequila, Tres Agaves Organic Margarita Mix, Tres Agaves Cocktail-Ready Nectar, celery bitters, lime juice, and fresh cracked pepper into salt rimmed glass.

– Add ice and shake hard.

– Fine strain through a tea strainer into glass.

– Add a dash of Chipotle powder to top of cocktail.

– Garnish with a cherry heirloom tomato, basil leaf, and small ball of Mozzarella cheese.

Flor Delice Cocktail by Alex Smith

San Francisco Chronicle’s 2011 Bar Star, Alex Smith

Check out our favorite monthly recipe created by Alex Smith,
winner of SF Chronicle’s 2011 Bar Star Award.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 oz. Tres Agaves Reposado

1 oz. Manzanilla Sherry

1/4 oz. Maraschino

1/4 oz. St. Germain

2 dashes Regan’s orange bitters

French maraschino cherry, for garnish

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.
Stir vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a very good quality French maraschino cherry.

Pepper Revolution!

Strictly reserved for the seasoned mixologists, we have a cocktail that is a true alchemy of savory and sweet, but still light and refreshing, with a sophisticated pepper kick as a result of the various/unique pepper infusions.

Patrick Johnson, mixologist based in Santa Cruz, constructed this libation especially for Tres Agaves at Hecho en San Francisco event on Cinco de Mayo, 2011.

Pepper Revolution

– 2oz Tres Agave Blanco

– 1oz Pepper infused agave syrup (see specifics below)

– Juice of 1 lime

Shaken, served on the rocks

Agave soaked peppers used as garnish

Pepper Agave Syrup

– 2:1 agave nectar to water

– Toast black pepper corns till fragrant

– Red, green, gold bell peppers sliced and seeds removed

– Anaheim and aji peppers deveined and seeds removed

– Cook till peppers are soft, and agave nectar dissolves fully into water.

– Remove from heat and let peppers remain in syrup overnight.

– Strain and save the peppers for garnish

Mexican-Inspired Grilled Chicken Wings

It’s time to get your grill on!  Perfecto for impromptu barbecues, we love this Mexican-inspired, dry-rub grilled chicken wing recipe because there is no need to marinate the chicken beforehand.

Serving Size:

3 To 4 People

Total Cooking Time With Prep:

45 Minutes To An Hour

What You Will Need:

– Charcoal Grill

Large Bowl

3 lbs of whole chicken wings (wing tips included)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt (table salt is fine too)

Granulated Garlic Powder

Cayenne Pepper

Fresh Ground Pepper

Tapatio Hot Sauce

Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

Small Stack of Cilantro

Directions:

First things first, prepare your charcoal grill with a heap of gray/white coals in the middle of the coal catcher. I insist that you leave the charcoal unadulterated (i.e. no lighter fluid) because it will ruin the flavors you are about to embark on. Normally I use a standard sized Weber grill that comfortably fits 3 lbs of chicken wings on the outer edge of the grill leaving the middle completely open for other food to grill with direct heat. You don’t want your chicken wings on top of direct heat for too long because they will char too quickly (and you don’t want burnt, undercooked chicken wings!) The old barbeque adage goes, “Low And Slow Is the Way To Go!”

While the coals are heating up nicely on the grill, grab a large sized bowl and put all the chicken wings in. Once you’ve done that, begin to add: sea salt, cayenne pepper, fresh ground pepper, granulated garlic powder, Tapatio Hot Sauce, and fresh squeezed lime juice, liberally.

Now this is when things get dirty! Mix up all the ingredients in the bowl with your hands in order to massage all these ingredients into the chicken wings. Once you’ve done that, you might want to add another helping of the ingredients above in order to cover the wings that were on the bottom of the bowl, but that’s completely up to your discretion and taste buds. You want to make sure the chicken wings have a light red tint to them, if not add more cayenne pepper to the equation.  Before you put the wings on the grill, be sure to whip out that extra virgin olive oil and liberally coat the top of the bowl full of wings and stir it all up again. The Extra Virgin Olive Oil will act as a nice coating in order to keep the previous ingredients on the wings and to help crisp up the wings while they’re cooking on the grill.

After all that elbow grease has been used up mixing the bowl full of wings, you’re about ready to go put these bad boys on the grill. Be sure to put the wings on the edges of your circular grill with the skin side facing down and the wing tips facing toward the middle of the grill. Once every 3 to 4 minutes you want to flip the wings over with the wing tips facing toward the edge of the grill and the skin side facing up. Be sure to rotate the wing tip and skin side positions in various ways to make sure that every portion of the wings has been on the grill. You want to achieve a nice golden brown hue to your wings, which usually takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour of flipping them every 3-4 minutes. Make sure to keep the lid on top of the grill during the last portion of the cooking process in order to achieve a nice smoky flavor. While you’re waiting for the wings to cook, be sure to grab that stack of cilantro and dice them up finely, which will serve as a nice garnish after you take the wings off the grill and onto a serving plate.

Please send any pictures, success stories, or comments about this recipe to [email protected]. I’d love to hear how your chicken wings turn out!