Monday, March 23, 2009

White is the color of my true love's Tequila

Growing up in 1980's northern California, and being a good time rock-n-roll sort of fella, Tequila represented a number of things to my crew. It represented the truest way to get drunk - "liquid cocaine" we called it, no less. It represented the drinker at his roughest - the hardest of the hard, a toughie, a yardie...and it represented the color of kings...Gold, Cuervo gold. As those of my tribe learned right early on, you rarely felt like a king the day after, or if you were of those we called the "fallen", that night. Ah, the joys of youth. Luckily, as I matured as drinker and man, so did my appreciation and knowledge of a good Tequila. Gone were the days of Cuervo Gold (Though Cuervo is a wonderful brand with many great bottles to its name), and in were the joys of variety. Variety of flavors, brands, ages and tastes. Over time, as any Tequila drinker knows, we all develop our personal preferences in regards to what goes in our glass- and that usually changes a bit over time as well. What time in a bottle(s) has given me is a true love of White and Silver Tequilas - Blancos y Platas to the devoted. To talk of Blancos is to talk of the purity of youth, the original from of Tequila, the naked blue agave. Nothing added, barely rested (30 days max usually), often referred to as "Joven" or young, and most often fresh from the distillation process, if not kept a short time in stainless steel tanks. If Gold was the color of kings and conquistadors, then Plata is the clarity of the Agave. Though colorless, don't be fooled - in this form you will find the honest play of the pure flavors and magic of the Agave, as well as a sweetness those unfamiliar with Blancos are often surprised by.

"When we have the white tequila, straight from the still, we say it is like having a beautiful woman. Then you can dress it how you want it, you can use French white oak barrels instead of American oak, put it in sherry barrels . . . You try to be consistent but there are no two equal tequilas. So we are dealing with something alive." - Miguel Cideno Cruz, plant manager of Tequila Herradura

When I got over my mistaken beliefs that Blancos were a "lesser" Tequila, I was a kid in a liquid candy store, exclusively living in a White world for some time. After a bit of this and a bit of that, I found my glass the day I drank for the first time Sauza's Tres Generaciones Plata. The bottle always has a hold on me, clear with a light touch of blue, it looks vintage and classic, and stinking of Mexico, another love of mine. A triple distilled Tequila, made from only 100% fully ripened, estate grown Agave, my poison here has an intense, pure flavor, that early on tasted like something I could not even call Tequila. Of course, that was my newness to the Blancos and Platas - most of us come into this world thinking we know what Tequila should taste like, but hopefully all learn we will never truly know its final flavor.... I digress - It has an amazingly strong nose, almost pushing you out of the glass, and a hot, spicy taste that leaves taking a deep breath before diving in for another sip. It hits your belly warm, and its buzz had me hooked early, like a teenager's first... well, anything. With a bold edge, its flavor remains sweet and exciting. For a guy who spends days and nights at a bar known for its 230+ bottles of Tequila (Sayulita's own SFT Tequila Bar, of course!), it is no surprise that this is my fall-back when I just want a no risk, top shelf, solid glass of Tequila. Some of my most significant nights have been spent with a bottle of 3G, and they all ended wonderfully, in no small part due to its magic.

Recently I was given a bottle of Corzo Silver. Born of the Cazadores family of Tequilas, you really wouldn't know this by the bottle or the Tequila inside. First glance brings thoughts of Mexico city, sharp corners, modern vistas, and an elegance that draws you in. Not being the biggest fan of Cazadores Blanco, I was glad this was a very different kid born to a big family. Lacking some of the "gas" that I love in 3G, that love was equaled by hints of soft Vanilla and citrus spice touches. A warm finish, and low oily taste has put this high on my shelf as a favorite white to celebrate with. At close to double the price of my beloved 3G, it is definitely an elegant drink for fancy nights.

Fancy nights - surely not what I would have labeled my earliest experimentation with Tequila, nor the mornings after. Though I am not that young or that white anymore - thank the liquor gods that watch over me - my Tequila most nights is.


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