Tequila Discussion (From my book, A Gringo’s Guide to Authentic Mexican Cooking)
If your impression of tequila is that of a cheap, clear beverage mainly used by power-drinking college students on spring break trying to drink themselves into oblivion, you are not in the minority. However, you are missing what this extremely well-produced national treasure of Mexico is all about.
Tequila, like so many things from Mexico, is meant to be slowly savored, like any fine liquor. Chugging it down would simply be a waste of good tequila, not to mention the fact that you will get as drunk as a cow and everyone will know you're from out of town.
The Mexican government officially recognizes the four following types of tequila:
Basic, inexpensive white tequila used for margaritas cooking and bar mix. Made from 51 percent or more Blue Agave.
Gold tequila is either tequila that has a flavor added or an aged tequila that has had a little white tequila added to it. It's commonly used in the United States for premium drinks. Also made from 51 percent or more Blue Agave.
Meaning rested, reposado is tequila that has been aged in large oak tanks for between two and twelve months. This tequila is the most popular among tequila drinkers in Mexico due to the fact that it has a full agave flavor. Usually made from 100 percent blue agave. This is also my personal favorite, so before buying I always look for "Reposado" and "100% Agave Azul" on the label.
Añejo, meaning aged, in this case for a minimum of one year in small oak barrels. It is considered by many Americans to be the finest of tequilas, mostly because the select-oak aging process creates a flavor reminiscent of premium whisky or cognac, a flavor they recognize. After awhile, most premium tequila drinkers develop a palate for the distinct agave flavor and switch to Reposado.
Below are several of my favorite tequila recipes. Give them a try. They will add a new dimension to your cooking
Buttermilk Tequila Salad Dressing
For the show, we poured this over a Garden Salad mix. Try this on your favorite greens.
6 TBL Buttermilk
2 TBL Mayonnaise
1/2 C Crème Fraiche or sour cream
1/4 C Plain yogurt
2 TBL Tequila Repesado
1 Roasted Poblano Chile, Seeds and veins removed, chopped very fine
1/2 TBL Finely chopped Italian Parsley
2 CLOVES Garlic, minced
2 TSP Key lime juice
1/2 TSP Salt
1/2 TSP White pepper
1/2 TSP Brown sugar
1. Whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, crème fraiche, yogurt and tequila. Stir in all other ingredients.
2. Set aside in the refrigerator for 1 hour for flavors to marry.
3. Makes two cups.
My friends Ryan And Claire live in Houston. They often take a drive down to Corpus Christie and play in the surf with their baby boy, Layne. They sent me a T-shirt that says “The White Trash Rivera” along with this delicious recipe. It takes about 15 minutes to make. I think it tastes even better with a cold Margarita while I’m wearing that Shirt.
1 Tbl. olive oil
2 Tbl. Sweet butter
1 white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
20 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
1/3 cup tequila reposado
3 Plum tomatoes, diced
2 Serrano chiles, chopped fine
Juice of 2 key limes
3 Tbl. chopped cilantro
1 ripe Hass avocado, peeled, pitted, diced
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil and butter, in a medium sauté pan. When the onions are soft and translucent, but not browned, add the shrimp and continue to sauté for 2 minutes on each side, until bright pink. Then add the tequila and flame the alcohol. Add the tomatoes and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the limejuice, Serrano, cilantro and avocado. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately with white rice
Chipotle Tequila Butter with Sun Dried Tomatoes
Excellent on grilled chicken or fish.
1 Stick Sweet butter
2 Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped fine
1 Tbl. Premium dark tequila
juice of 1 key lime
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 tsp. Ground chipotle chile
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. Dark brown sugar
Whip all ingredients together in a blender or food processor, then roll mixture into a log waxed paper and chill. Cut into slices wrap and freeze. Then pop a few slices out of the freezer whenever you want to add a Sonoran taste to your grilled chicken or fish
Soften a little before serving.
Grill-baked Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake, with Sauza Tres Generations Aenjo Tequila
We have received a lot of e-mails for this one. Fans of our show on that certain diet, (you know the one), wanted a recipe for a cake without flour. Try using any favorite liqueur instead of tequila.
1 LB Semi-sweet chocolate
1 LB Butter
6 OZ Water
2 OZ Sauza Tres Generations Aenjo Tequila, cognac or your favorite liqueur (Please note that regular tequila will not work in this recipe)
1 TBL Espresso powder (you may replace this and the water with brewed coffee)
1 C Sugar
1. Melt butter and chocolate in double boiler. Slowly stir in espresso powder, then set aside.
2. Beat eggs thoroughly. Mix sugar and eggs together, then stir in Tequila and water.
3. Slowly stir in chocolate mixture. Pour batter into an oiled 9-inch baking pan
4. Grill-bake indirectly at 335∫ for 1 hour in warm water bath. Halfway through cooking, rotate cake to insure even baking.
5. Allow to cool before serving. Serves 8.
This drink is very popular in Mexico. There are many different recipes. I put this one together by talking to several bartenders in Guadalajara over a four-day visit. Sure, I got a headache, but that's the price I pay for giving you a great new drink recipe to enjoy!
1-1/2 C Tomato juice
1/2 C Clamato
3/4 C Orange juice
2 TSP Grenadine
1 TSP Salt
1/2 TSP Black pepper
1 DASH Worcestershire sauce
1 DASH A-1 Steak Sauce
1 DASH Tabasco
Juice of 4 key limes
Key lime wedges
premium quality Reposado
1. Stir together all Sangrita ingredients. You will need two three-inch goblets per serving. Put about one shot of Sangrita in one and about one shot of tequila in the other. Sip a little tequila, sip a little Sangrita, and every now and then take a little bite of the lime wedge. Oh, and one more thing... slow down a little, life is good.