Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sweet Sweet Tequila, the blood of Christ or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bottle(s)

I have had a long and fruitful love affair with alcohol. I often want to write about it , but hesitate, full of worry that my loved ones will see my affection for this bottled elixir in a wrong light. I don't worry much, as a man of 39 years, well schooled in hard knocks as much as private school blues, I have been the kind of fella that can walk the line, without falling in the ring of fire (thanks Johnny). But enough of the trappings of worry and concern, lets move on the carelessness that got us into this fabulous situation! Love! Alcohol! Life! Their now everlasting connection. I live in Mexico, and our spirit of choice here is Tequila. The world has really gotten to know Tequila in the last 10 years, at that point exiting the era where Tequila was purely discussed in terms of the worm and Cuervo Gold. Luckily for us, the magic and long time crafted art of Tequila distilling has hit the world by storm, and most anywhere in the world you can find unique and awe inspiring Tequila (and Tequila highs...). Here in Mexico you can go a long time before running out of new bottles to empty, and recently, my friend Mark Alberto Holt has opened Sayulita's first Tequila bar, the S.F.T. Tequila bar - making it even harder to not have something new to savor. Mark is a local legend, known in the surf community and world wide as the proprietor of Sayulita Fish Taco - tasty for its food and wave riders. Since it opened, I love stopping by for a sipper or 4 (shooting tequila is for the slop, or for those in a hurry), and discussing with tourists or locals (but mostly with Mark) the intimacies of the most recent glass to touch our lips. We track our drinks, rating them on a handy 1-5 scale in a great guide Mark has whipped up, and discuss the good and bad. Mostly good, as stated by my often repeated mangled quote from Will Rogers -"I never met a Tequila I didn't like". Tonight my friend Ed Schwartz, Sayulita local, all around wine king, and writer of all things alcohol, asked me to join him at the Tequila bar to write an article for one of the magazines he writes for. My challenging job? Sharing in the extra tequila, casually making comments about my likes and rare dislikes, and just generally drinking and discussing Tequila for a few hours. We really dove into the deep end, Mark treating us like kings, tasting all sorts of delights. From the simple Blancos, barely aged, to the spicy Reposados, rested for a while in wood, but not too long. Then came the kings, the warn and m apley Anejos, starting to bring to mind the the flavors of Whiskey and spice. Lastly, yet right on time, came the Ultra Anejos... Oh my. Amazing depth, warmth, and an earthy flavor that you would not expect from Tequila. And I end with that, the simplicity of this love affair. Tequila is not what you think it is, not even close to it. If you fall in love with it, the goal is to always search for what you think it is, but never find it. Its just like love.


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