Monday, May 11, 2009

My 5inco de Mayo

As 5inco de Mayo approached, we were deep in Swine Flu '09, with the whole of our little town Sayulita, and most of the rest of the country in the throes of closings, warnings and just plain media chaos. In our area (as well as many others) you found closed schools, malls, theaters, and yes... Bars and restaurants. This is a major issue in our town, for we thrive on tourism, and we found that tourists hate killer disease, don't know why, they just do. Suddenly all rental homes emptied, streets ran dry of the ugly traveller, and more importantly and most sadly, the 5inco de Mayo party at my fave Bar was canceled. Truly a let down for all involved, and anyone planning to visit Sayulita for a long deserved break and vacation.

Before all of this madness, Ed, Mark and I had met online a fellow Tequila enthusiast and great lady in the form of Diana Barrera, who runs a wonderful and educational Tequila website called She coincidentally had a trip planned to the town of Tequila and was going to be swinging through Sayulita. Even with bars closed under threat of high fines, Mark was kind enough to invite our small group to meet behind closed doors and prying government eyes, to celebrate in hiding like our own little prohibition. Breaking laws is delicious! Diana joined us with her friend Mike Strader, and we sat around our glasses, talking about the future world domination of Tequila, our love of the elixir whether life long or recent, and of course, we drank. These were no small shots, these were big glasses, excellent drinks, bigger smiles and good times. This is all thanks to Mark, who is a great host like no other. Diana really knows her Tequila, growing up in a family that appreciated this drink long before it was the trend of today, and can really talk the talk and walk the walk. Where in Mexico we get bottles straight from the source, in the U.S. you often get bottles that were made just for export, so we had a great time discussing bottles we had tried, that we each could not get in our resident countries, and then we discussed as we drank - our fave flavors and our overall love of the elixir. As Mark said, and I loosely quote"...Many of us stumble upon Tequila, often when there was a void to fill, and as alcohol often fills that void for many, Tequila filled mine..." - I think Mark speaks for many of us... definitely for me.

On to the drinking - Here was our menu for the day:

Gran Reserva Reposado 10 month aged - This is a lovely and warm drink, with hints of cinimmon. Rich in a taste that does not change from sip to sip, staying true to it's start through your entire glass. This is aged 10-11months and is produced from only 8-10year old Los Altos estate agaves. All this works in it's favor, and our flavor.

Leyenda del Milagro Blanco Limited Edition Artisenal - Oh sweet vanilla! This Tequila is aged no more than 59 days in french oak barrels, and comes in the most amazing hand blown glass bottle, that has to be seen in person appreciate. The agaves are hand picked from the highlands of Jalisco, rich in volcanic soil, key to its flavor. And that flavor is very earthy, floral and the vanilla I mentioned is a key to my like of it. Leans strong on it's reposado sisters in flavor, leaving you with a slight numbing burn. Good stuff.

Hotel California Reposado - This awesome Tequila is named for a hotel in Todos Santos, Baja that the Eagles supposedly wrote their song about (this is considered a total rumor denyed by Don Henley), so its got of Rock n Roll legend, and Mexico lore... my faves. A unique nose right of the start, I kinda fell in love with this bottle today. This has a strong citrus / orange scent, with bits of cedar mixed in. Not the deepest flavor, but sharply focused and complex - the citrus nose followed right into my pie hole, and I found the spicey orange flavor mellowed as it sat in my glass. I really enjoyed this!

Don Fulano Imperial 5 year - extremely long aged for Tequila (one of the longest restings), this top shelfer has a soft nose but big taste. A spicey, warm elegance and class, it reminds me of caramel and maple, but not overwhelmingly woodsy. Full flavored and 5 years old - great combo.

We ended the day with
Hotel California Blanco - As you know due to me saying it ad-naseum, I love white Tequila, and this bottle just makes my day. The word "California" means from the spanish "a mythical land, a paradise not found" - well, I found some paradise in this bottle. The nose, much like the reposado, is pure citrus, sharp and spicey. Lord, the flavor is so good - "orange fireball delight" I wrote down during this tasting - not the most technical description, but it was after an afternoon of heavy pours and glasses of pure ambrosia. This bottle will sit high on my shelf, and strongly in the back of my head til it eventually leads me to do something bad...

In the end, we had an awesome 5inco de Mayo party at our fave bar, Swine Flu or not. The city, town our country, nor hell or high water (and flu) could keep this from happening in one way or another - yet another example of Tequila bringing good people together, for the sake of sipping, tasting and living.

Mark Alberto Holt, our Host and Diana "AgaveGal" Barrera at the S.F.T. Tequila Bar, Sayulita Mexico - Cinco de Mayo 2009


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