Category: Tequila News & Events

blind-judging-50-ml-bottles

Imagine sitting down at a table with 2 glasses of tequila (or any high-proof spirit) in front of you. Your job is to smell and taste both, and then decide which you like better. Sounds like a fun time, right?

Spirits of Mexico - Rating ScoresheetNow imaging having to taste 50 tequilas (or any high-proof spirit) in a single sitting and within a few hours, and choose which you like better. Do you think you could do it? I was given that opportunity recently as a judge for the Spirits of Mexico competition in San Diego, the biggest and most prestigious tequila event of every year.

Together with about 10 other judges, sitting in the same hotel conference room, I went about the task of evaluating 99 different agave-based distillates over the course of 2 days. This task was not easy. I found that after about 6 tequilas, my abilities were diminished. By the 12th tequila, I felt like I was no longer able to trust my judgment. Not because I was drunk (we were wisely instructed not to swallow), but because of palate fatigue.

Some of the others in the group were ‘professional tasters’ who seemed to be able to get through all of these spirits without issue. When things started getting really rough (especially when we were tasting the flavor-saturated extra añejo tequilas), they would swish vodka around in their mouths as a way to reset their palate between glasses. (Hardcore!)

Spirits of Mexico - Blanco Tequilas

I’m definitely not a professional taster. I love tequila, but I’m just an “end user”, fan, loyal customer, and an advocate for the spirit. I never claimed to be an expert taster, so I can only assume that I was selected to participate as a contest judge because my only experience is that of a consumer of tequila.

My respect goes out to those unique individuals who can taste and evaluate at this level. Their abilities are impressive, and they clearly have special talents. The experience was indeed fascinating, and I don’t regret any of it. In those two days, I learned a lot from them, and I am grateful.

In the past several years, I’d heard from other contest judges that palate fatigue was their biggest challenge, too. When asked if they would judge another spirits competition again, their answer is always “no, I don’t think so.” Now I can relate.

I couldn’t help but start to think that maybe there was a better way, and that our app could help.

A year ago, we met Crystal Murphy and Omar Mercado who run the Monterey Tequila & Mezcal Expo. They had just completed their contest judging, and it followed the traditional process with all of the judges in the same room at the same time. I heard talk of palate fatigue among the judges once again, so I offered to help. Crystal and Omar immediately accepted my invitation.

Tequila Matchmaker Group Blind Ratings Process

The Tequila Matchmaker app has always had the ability for a user to rate a tequila blind, but this feature didn’t work for more than one person at a time, so we added a new feature that would make “group blind ratings” possible.

No more palate fatigue.

Tequila Blind Rating ScreenWith this tool, the Monterey Tequila & Mezcal Expo broke new ground. The judges were sent 50ml bottles, labeled “A”, “B”, “C”, etc., which corresponded to an item inside of the app. They could review the samples over the span of month, from the comfort of their own home, and use the app to step them through the process and provide a common set of criteria.

Since I knew all of the tequilas in the contest, I wasn’t able to participate as a judge. However, Scarlet was one of the eight judges so I had a front-row seat right from my own home. She had no idea which tequilas she was tasting. She followed the judging instructions carefully. She took her time, tasted 3 at a time, and sometimes went back again if scores were close to refine her ratings. She rated everything in the same room, at the same time of day, using the same glassware.

I was also able to watch what all the other judges were doing through the back-end administration console used to run the group blind rating function. This way I could identify any judge who may be having technical problems, or needed extra time.

Another issue of concern with traditional competitions, especially among brands who entered the contest, was the issue of transparency. This was yet another area we could address with our app simply by disclosing all of the scores from all of the judges, and making this information public.

By displaying this information in graphical form, you can actually see trends among the judges, their own flavor preferences, and any biases they may have. It provides the justification to the awards.

No more mysterious ratings.

Although there are many spirit competitions in the world, many brands refuse to enter them. Faith in the fairness of the process is usually the reason. Brands that already have an established reputation don’t stand to gain from contests. A win is expected, anything else can only hurt, so why bother?

In a traditional competition, the goal is to award a medal. That’s basically it. If you win, or if you don’t, you aren’t going to learn anything from the experience. There is very little a brand can take away from the experience that will help them improve their product or marketing.

I can’t help but wonder if brands knew they would get useful data from the experience, would more of them enter?

Monterey Tequila Competition - Results[ View complete results: Monterey 2013 ]

Using the app, we are able to extract the ratings information and show a brand exactly why they rated they way they did. Perhaps they scored high on aroma, but low on finish. Perhaps their tequila is priced too high, or too low? Maybe their tequila is too sweet for several of the judges. By sharing the data, brands can find out.

Contests should be more than medals and awards. They should help improve the category be providing actionable data and objective feedback.

– Grover

California Tequila Festivals

California tequila fans, you’re in for a treat! Over the next couple of months there are some exciting opportunities to try some new brands and polish up your palate at tequila festivals around the state.

First up is the 3rd Annual Santa Barbara Tequila Harvest this Saturday, Aug. 18th, where you can sample over 25 premium tequila and mezcal labels. And, with a VIP ticket, you can attend a Tequila 101 presentation and tasting session with our friend Clayton Szczech of Experience Tequila!

In September, we’re really looking forward to the Spirits of Mexico (SOM) festival in San Diego, which is the largest tequila event of the year. The week-long festival kicks off Sept. 9th with the Tequila Trail, in which you get walk (or stumble – your choice) around Old Town San Diego’s bars and restaurants to sample a range of agave spirits paired with tasty food.

The main tasting event is on Sept. 15th, and we will be there with Reidels in hand! There is also an awards dinner and silent auction, so make sure to check out the show calendar so you don’t miss any of these great events.

Finally, on Oct. 6th, don’t miss the Fourth Annual Monterey Tequila and Mezcal Expo where you can sample a variety of tequilas and mezcals and sample food prepared by local chefs. Once again, our friend Clayton will be offering a special one-hour educational and tasting session for VIP attendees. He really knows his stuff, so take note.

There is also a silent auction and after party to round off the evening. (Monterey is Scarlet’s hometown so we will definitely be there, perhaps with a few surprises, so stay tuned!)

The bottom line is that if you want some great opportunities to sample new tequilas, make new friends, and develop your tequila knowledge, try to attend one or more of these great events.

(Thinking of attending the Monterey festival or SOM? Send us a note so we can meetup!)

Salud!

matchmaker-nom-db

We just finished reading through the latest NOM database update from the Consejo Regulador Del Tequila (the governing body of the tequila industry), and added several new brands to the Tequila Matchmaker mobile app database.

A “NOM” is a 4-digit number assigned to a manufacturing facility by the Mexican government. You can find this number on the back of each bottle of tequila, and we keep track of the numbers assigned to brands.

The most recent update is dated June 4, 2012, and it lists 1,276 different tequila brands being made at 145 different distilleries. It also shows that several tequila brands have changed distilleries.

If you haven’t done so already,  download the app now (it’s free.) It will give you constant access to all of the tequila geek information that we (and our users) enter into the system.

Here are the highlights we found:

New Brands

We added the following brands today, after seeing them in the CRT’s list for the first time, which would most likely indicate that they are new.

La Catrina

Eruption Tequila

SilverCoin

Blue Iguana Tequila

Santo Azul

Reunion

Agatha Tequila

Rictus

Aqua Riva

Rock ‘N Roll Tequila

Sauza, the makers of the 100 Años Tequila brand, now lists what appears to be several flavored tequilas in the works:

100 Años Cola Y Limon
100 Años Paloma
100 Años Paloma Light
100 Años Cherry Chili Margarita

In addition, we spotted 28 new brands on the list that don’t appear to have any information available yet. As a result, we have not yet added them to the NOM database inside of the Tequila Matchmaker. These include:

Don Polo, 4 Cañones, Emperador Azteca, Lapittayya By Riazul, El Pegador, Tierra De Abolengo, Spirit Of The Shaman, Imperio Del Tiempo, El Pescadito, En Vos Confio, La Chula, Casa Pacific, El Patriota, Nayar, Tepozan, La Tilica, Muñeca, Viviana La Mexicana, Climax, 7 Mares, Ra El Refugio Del Aguila, DS Company, Angeles De Oro, El Traidor, Matafuegos, Ocelote, and Sinverguenza.

If anyone has information about any of these, please let us know so we can add them to the database.

NOM Activity

Deleted NOMs
NOMs 1115 and 1504 are no longer included in the CRT list of distilleries. (NOM 1115 is where Caballo Moro, Cálidus, La Parreñita, and San Cristobal tequilas were made.)

NOM 1569 is new to the list, owned by Agaveros de Michoacán. This distillery appears to be located in the state of Michoacán, and has one brand listed, “Tequimich”. We are unable to find any more information about this brand yet.

Brand moves
The following brands have changed their NOM numbers:

Amate (was 1137, now 1173)
Tres Sombreros (was 1468, now 1463)
Corazon Maya (was 1522, now 1560)
Corazon De Amores (was 1528, now 1473)
Reunion (was 1529, now 1499)

Thanks to all of you who have contributed bits of information through the Tequila Matchmaker mobile app. This information is constantly working its way into the database for all to see, share, and use!

Tequila Matchmaker NOM database

The Tequila Matchmaker NOM database for iOS devices lets you look find where a tequila was made, and what other tequilas are made at the same distillery.

 

I was cruising through iTunes, looking for songs about tequila, and realized that our beloved spirit has found a comfortable home in country music, Pee Wee Herman movies, Sammy Hagar tunes, and Hip Hop.

So I decided to dig deeper into iTunes, to come up with a list of songs that are less known, more bizarre, and deeply amusing.

I created an iTunes playlist called  Fun, Funny, Obscure Tequila Songs

Here’s what made the list:

 

13 Obscure (Yet Awesome) Songs About Tequila

 

1. Drinking Tequila, Jim Reeves

What a great way to start this list! It’s an old song (back when Juarez was a place gringos could actually go), and the only country song that made the list, just because of it’s ability to get this collection off to a weird, fun start.

Best Tequila Lyrics:
“Drinking tequila and teasing the girls!”

 

 

2. We Like Tequila, Tortured Soul

This song is 100% awesome because is actually cautions people to drink only 100% agave tequila, and to make extra sure that it is! It’s like this band has been reading our website or something. LOVE IT. The groove is actually pretty fun and upbeat, complete with a sexy woman’s voice saying “tequila” over and over. “We have style, we drink tequila!” Damn right!

Best Tequila Lyrics:
“Margarita, or maybe just straight.
When you need a kick, añejo is great.
Reposado, silver, as long as it’s pure.
100% agave, you gotta be sure!”

 

3. Tequila, Terrorvision

Time to pick up the pace a bit now. This song is all about “the curse of Cuervo,” and I think we’ve all been there. Someone needs to tell this band to avoid mixtos!

Best Tequila Lyrics:
“If there’s a lot on your mind it’s there to help you forget,
To relax and rewind and leave behind the regret,
First sip makes you well before you know it’s time,
And you’re saying to hell with the salt, lemon and lime”

 

4. Drinking Straight Tequila, Chris Cain

This song contains the classic blues song structure, only better because tequila is involved. :-)

Best Tequila Lyrics:
“I’ve been drinking straight tequila,
cause I’m feel so alone.
I want to call you baby,
but you wouldn’t pick up the phone.”

 

5. Tequila Sunrise, Cypress Hill featuring Barron Ricks

This Hip Hop song is loaded up with explicitness (which I enjoy) but one thing that I don’t like is where they keep saying things like: “Eat the worm, motherf***er, while you burn, motherf***er”. [Note to Cypress Hill: THERE IS NO WORM IN TEQUILA!]

Best Tequila Lyrics:
“Tequila Sunrise, bloodshot eyes
Realize we’re all born to die”

 

6. Tequila, YoungBloodZ 

Another rap song, but this is one I can relate to! It compares tequila with a woman, “a mexican lover,” to be exact. I love the intro, where it starts off as a conversation in a bar.

“Hey what’s happenin’ baby. What’s your name girl? Tequila? Oh yeah, my friends call you Cuervo. You alright with me baby… fo’ real.”  Yesssss! So smooooth!

Best Tequila Lyrics:
“But I love this girl Tequila
one shot of her love, it’s over
she takes all my money
and all I want to do is hold her….Tequila
my Mexican lover”

 

7. Mexican Cousin, Phish

I had no idea Phish wrote a song about tequila. I like them even more now! If I knew this years ago, I may have even ended up following them across the country in a Volkswagen van. Ok, maybe not. But in this song, they speak of some true wisdom: “Tequila’s where that starts and where it ends.”

Best Tequila Lyrics:
“Oh Tequila, I turn to you like a long lost friend
I want to kiss my Mexican Cousin once again”

 

8. Jesus and Tequila, Minutemen

This song says that the only true things in life you can trust is Jesus, and tequila. You can’t trust a woman, or your boss – because they come and go. But tequila will always be there for you. Praise Jesus for that!

Best Tequila Lyrics:
“My life – Jesus and tequila
I’m satisfied
And I can’t deny it”

 

9. Dr. Tequila, Dr. Tequila

It’s obvious that San Francisco-based Richie Barron, also known as “Dr. Tequila” knows his stuff, as this song makes several mentions of “blue agave” and even includes several different brands, including Patron, Don Julio, Hornitos, Milagro, Corozon, and Cabo Wabo. Makes me want to book them for a show!

Best Tequila Lyrics:
“From San Diego to the San Francisco Bay,
All getting down on the Blue Agave.”

 

10. Tequila Bomb, Marigold

Other than the name of this song containing the word “tequila”, I’m not really sure I understand what this song is actually about. Although it does say that drinking Mexican water makes you stronger – I’ve decided not to test that out. But, with lyrics like this, can you make sense of it?:

“You gotta watch for blood in the ice cream, and Polaroids of orchids in the trees.”

Best Tequila Lyrics:
“Oh tequila bomb, what’s been going on?
Let’s hang around here, we were having fun.”

 

11. Tequila Song, Dynamic Blues Band

This song is on an album named “One More Kiss & One More Beer”, so that’s pretty awesome right there. Their “Tequila Song” is all about using tequila to forgive and forget your past – especially when it comes to failed relationships.

Best Tequila Lyrics:
“Now give me more tequila
and I’ll forget my past
Now give me more tequila
and I’ll forgive my past
I get a real good feelin’
and I hope it’ll last”

 

12. Tequila Time, Kansas City Bear Fighters

This is a fun little ditty that deserves a listen every once in a while, just to remind yourself that tequila, and life, is supposed to be fun. I can’t help but smile all the way through this one, thinking about how life shouldn’t be taken so damn seriously.

Best Tequila Lyrics:
“It’s almost tequila time
don’t use salt, and don’t need lime.
It’s a Mexican embrace
Put a smile right on my face
Now we can drink it up together if you wanna
If you don’t wanna then I’m a still a gonna
Cause I like to get drunk and I love to have funna
It’s tequila time!”

 

13. Hey Nineteen, Steely Dan

I couldn’t resist ending with this one – a song that I used to listen to over and over again as a child, long before I ever knew what “tequila” or “Cuervo Gold” or “fine Colombian” was. When I got to college, I finally learned.

Steely Dan is simply awesome.

Best Tequila Lyrics:
“The Cuervo Gold
The fine Colombian
Make tonight a wonderful thing.”

 

Got anything to add to this list? Let’s keep it going – add a comment below, and share this story with others!

– Grover

Working in the tequila industry, or having tequila as a hobby as we do, can be a real honor and privilege. It’s a fantastic community of people and who could complain about enjoying fine and even rare tequilas on a regular basis?

The first “Tequila for a Cause” event will benefit the Emilio Nares Foundation, which provides support to parents of children with cancer.

So, when I heard that our friend Marco Ramos, the Southern California rep for Tequila Fortaleza, started a project to give back to the community through charity tequila events I was thrilled.

“I attend to so many tastings and I have noticed the potential of community awareness,” Ramos says. “This has been marginalized to the wine community, but I think the tequila community is very passionate about our spirit, our roots and lending a hand when needed.”

With this in mind, Ramos began “Tequila for a Cause,” a series of tequila events with portions of the proceeds directed at charity.

The first event takes place tomorrow night (April 6th) at El Callejon restaurant in Encinitas. It features a special tasting of Tequila Fortaleza, along with tapas prepared with tequila. (See the description here – it sounds delicious—and sign up if you are in the area.)

Tickets are $25 and $7 from each ticket will be donated to the Emilio Nares Foundation, which provides information and support for the parents of children who have cancer.

Ramos is working with friends in the tequila community to put on one “Tequila For A Cause” event in Southern California each month. He says the first six events will feature Fortaleza, but he hopes to expand the project to include other brands. Each event will dedicate money to a different charity.

Fine tequila, good food, and giving back sounds like a great evening to me. If you’re in the Southern California area, don’t miss this series of special events. Follow Tequila Fortaleza on Facebook to find out about future events.

-Scarlet

Bay Area tequila fans, you’ve got something new to toast to. The San Francisco Mexican restaurant and tequila bar formally know as Tres Agaves has undergone a renovation and reopening, putting more emphasis on its place as a tequila destination.

Tres logoThe newly-dubbed Tres Tequila Lounge and Mexican Kitchen has added 10 new brands as part of a bar expansion program, bringing its broad selection to around 180 bottles, from around 125 last year. Additionally, it has expanded its bar area by around 50%, meaning that patrons will have more space and time to sip tequila and pore over the bar’s new “Tequila Book,” listing not only their selection, but information on the “terroir,” soil, altitude and oak qualities of different brands.

The change was prompted by two factors, according to Tres Executive Beverage Director and Director of Marketing Ashley Miller. The first was an organizational change that saw two of the restaurant’s original partners, Eric Rubin and Barry Augus, leave to concentrate on the Tres Agaves-branded tequila. Original co-founder Dave Stanton remains to oversee Tres.

The second factor was the organization’s long-held desire to expand its bar area and selection, according to Miller.

New brands behind the bar include Peligroso, Corrido, Excellia, Calle 23, Arta, Alma de Agave and PaQui. Miller says she likes to bring on the full line of each brand, rather than select bottles, so customers can experience the full expression of the brand. Under the expansion, Tres now has 45 complete lines.

Introduction of the Tequila Book, rather than a traditional menu, will also highlight the bar staff’s extensive training. Miller takes employees down to Jalisco, Mexico several times a year to visit distilleries and grow their tequila knowledge. The Tequila Book features pictures from some of the trips and highlights the tequila making process. (These educational trips are no joke. As San Franciscans, Grover and I always thought that Tres was the best place to sit down at the bar and chat with the staff about tequila—they really know their stuff.)

And while Miller said that there are plans to offer a few mezcals and sotols, to round out their Mexican spirit offerings, tequila will remain the focus.

“Tequila is our first and foremost love,” she said.

Salud to that!

This just in – an unconfirmed rumor that is strongly backed via reliable tequila industry sources say that premium tequila brand El Tesoro de Don Felipe was recently bought by Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc., owners of the Sauza tequila brand.

Carlos Camarena, the legendary maker of El Tesoro de Don Felipe, will no longer be involved with the creation of the tequila, and production will be moved to the Sauza distillery in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico.

More information on this as we get it.

Update-Since we ran this story the President of Casa Partida in Mexico contacted us to let us know that there is no shortage of any of their products. They are currently expanding production capacity to meet growing demand, but have not completely stopped production to do so. They say they are “maintaining the level as necessary while transitioning to (their) expanded production capability,” which will take a couple months. They are also making sure that our local stores here in Tlaquepaque are restocked. Salud!

Partida blanco lovers beware: there seems to be a shortage, at least in our little Mexican village.

Partida Blano tequila

One of the last remaining bottles of Partida Blanco in Tlaquepaque. We got word that they've stopped production of Partida tequila in order to clear out a huge glut of inventory. You should expect the blanco to become a hard-to-find item soon.

Rumors from multiple independent sources say that Partida has been sitting on an enormous amount of tequila and has stopped production entirely until they sell through their stock. Since the blanco is hugely popular, stores are running out of it first, with no idea when the stock will be replenished.

We just went to our favorite tequila stores in Tlaquepaque, Tecolote and El Buho, to buy a bottle of the blanco for some friends, only to discover they had run out. Ditto for the next largest tequila store. Finally, we found a few bottles at jacked up prices at another store. The 400 peso price tag (about US$32) was changed to 430 pesos (we watched as they changed the price), with 3 bottles left. (Of course, after our visit they now have only two, which we may grab shortly).

If you are a Partida blanco fan, let us know what’s going on in your part of the world. You just may want to pick up an extra bottle, just in case.

-Taste Tequila

We have a bit of TasteTequila.com news to report — On April 1, 2010, Grover and I are moving to Mexico. We’ll be settling right smack-dab in the middle of the tequila region so we can fill this blog with the most up-to-date and in-depth coverage of what’s happening in the world of tequila.

Stay tuned for frequent updates, interviews and video directly from the heartland of tequila. In the meantime, please excuse our spotty updates while we prepare to move. We promise to make up for it.

We will be staying in the beautiful town of Tlaquepaque, about 20 minutes outside of Guadalajara and in between the two most famous tequila production regions, the Highlands and the Lowlands. If you haven’t visited Tlaquepaque we highly recommend it. It is the perfect spot to experience the very best of Mexico with magical food, music, and culture in a safe and friendly environment. In fact, Tlaquepaque is where we were married last November and where we started doing all of the research that has gone into this blog over the last year.


Tlaquepaque – Images by Grover Sanschagrin

Since we’ll have our eyes and ears on the ground, let us know if there any topics that you’d like to see us cover. We’re planning to review hard-to-find tequilas, and write profiles about local tequila personalities and distilleries, and use the blog to tell the stories of the region.

For the moment, we are excited and getting ready to go. One of our main concerns was getting rid of the 80-plus bottles of tequila in our collection, which we obviously can’t take with us.

Our solution — a “Drain the Bar” party, where all of our friends could leisurely sample and taste everything on our bar – including the $350 bottle of Herradura Seleccion Suprema. Look for updates and videos from this over-the-top event very soon.

We’re giving up or lovely apartment in San Francisco, selling our car, clearing off our bar, and getting ready to plunge head-first into the land of tequila.

Hasta Mexico,

Grover y Scarlet

This Week in Tequila

Tequila-related News of the Week

These things and more made it on our “This Week in Tequila” list.

There seems to be a trend this week – Women (and people in China) love tequila too! Especially if it can fit in nicely with a weight-loss plan.

If you have some tequila news you’d like to share with us, if you’ve heard a tequila rumor, or have any amusing suggestions for our weekly list, please let us know.

Here’s the latest…

“Tequila” is Registered in China

Poder 360° reported that China has finally, officially, recognized the word “tequila” as a registered trademark of Mexico.

The story states: “The process of registering the drink’s name was begun in 2004 by the [Tequila Regulatory Council] CRT, the organization which supervises the word on behalf of Mexico, and which is in charge of monitoring and ensuring that products authorized by the Mexican government only sell it under that name.”

We attempted to do more research on this – to figure out which date this actually happened, but were unable to locate any other info about it. (Which is surprising, as this should be a pretty big deal.)

When Grover was attending the World International Tequila Conference last September in Guadalajara, Mexico, this topic came up several times. Local tequila producers expressed concern that tequila would be produced and sold in China, bypassing Mexico’s trademark.

This must be good news to them.

Booze: The secret to staying slim

Here’s a known sales tactic: Commission a study that will tie your product to weight loss!

Salon.com published a story that make the claim that women (not men) who drink gain less weight.

The story says, “a study released this week from the Archives of Internal Medicine that followed over 19,000 American ‘normal weight’ women over age 39 and tracked their drinking habits for 13 years found that women who were ‘light to moderate’ drinkers gained about 30 percent less weight over time than the teetotalers.”

This study claims that alcohol consumption gives the female metabolism a “minor boost.”

I guess men only get a beer belly? Not fair.

Lingerie and tequila for Julia Mancuso

According to Metro.co.uk, “American Winter Olympian Julia Mancuso will swap her skis and poles for tequila and lingerie as she looks to branch out from the world of snowsports.”

Mancuso, 26, won two silver medals in Vancouver, and plan to compete in the Cuervo Games in Chicago. The event is “a series of tequila-related physical challenges.”

Hmmm. The ability to drink Cuervo Gold and manage to get out of bed without a hangover would be quite a challenge.

“It looks like a lot of fun and, of course, I’ll drink responsibly,” she said.

Advice for Julia, from your friends at TasteTequila.com: Don’t drink any nasty mixto like Cuervo Gold. Stick with the good stuff and you’ll smoke the competition.

The story also mentions that Mancuso and her friend Chemmy Alcott (a British skier), are planning to call their lingerie line ‘Kiss My Tiara’.

Uh oh, with a name like that, it sounds like she may have already cracked into the mixto bottle.

“Real” Housewife Bethenny Frankel “Invents” The Margarita

The NJMonthly.com website is promoting a March 18, 2010, bottle-signing event with the reality tv personality.

Earlier in the week, while driving a rental car North on Interstate 95 in Florida, Grover heard an interview with Frankel on the radio, where she proceeded to make the claim that she “invented” a margarita recipe that has actually been served for many years in Mexico.

Thankfully, he didn’t crash the car after hearing such a ridiculous claim. (This would have been a problem because he always declines the additional insurance coverage.)

This margarita which she “invented” is actually called The Pure Margarita, and we even profiled it on TasteTequila.com. The Pure Margarita is what’s served at our beloved SFT Tequila Bar in Sayulita, Mexico.

The story says: “When natural foods Chef Bethenny Frankel ordered her Skinnygirl Margarita on the first season, it became an instant obsession nationwide.”

The story goes on to say that the bottles of pre-mixed “Skinnygirl Margaritas” that she will be signing are “an all-natural cocktail that’s a mere 100 calories per serving, equivalent to a glass of wine!”

Once again – if you’re looking to sell a product, tie it to weight loss (and it would also be helpful if you have no shame.)

-TasteTequila

This Week in Tequila

Tequila-related News of the Week

These things and more made it on our “This Week in Tequila” list. This list feels a bit like “News of the Weird,” which, by our calculation, should increase the entertainment value by at least 17% (maybe more in some states.)

If you have some tequila news you’d like to share with us, if you’ve heard a tequila rumor, or have any amusing suggestions for our weekly list, please let us know.

Here’s the latest…

A family that sings about tequila, makes us want to drink

This appears to be real, folks. A story posted on the IrishTimes.com website features an Irish family’s rendition of an old country-and-western song our beloved beverage, “He Drinks Tequila.”

“A mother – Mary Murray-Burke – and her teenage children, Derek (18) and Dervla (17), give a fascinatingly memorable performance,” the story says. “Mary, with her glamorous blonde updo and distinctive gaze, pumps the keyboards while siblings Derek and Dervla gambol about eagerly like hyperactive spring lambs, belting out suggestive lyrics…”

This makes for some highly entertaining SNL-style viewing. The story, however, continues:

“If you were being unkind, you might describe them as a spoof version of something, perhaps the Osmonds. But the fact is, He Drinks Tequila makes for strangely compelling and addictive viewing, and when it’s ended, you immediately want to watch it all over again. You also feel an inexplicable urgency to instantly tell everyone else about it.”

Perhaps we are being unkind, but we felt an “inexplicable urgency” to share this with you:

Tequila-infused beverages relate to California’s massive deficit?

Over at SFGate.com, Yobie Benjamin, “an experienced senior executive with expertise in innovation, technology and new business models,” offers some commentary about the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) cracking down on bars because they were serving fruit-infused alcoholic drinks including tequila.

“ABC alleges that infusion changes the character of the booze by allowing it to mature on the shelf in a process called “rectification” that is illegal without a special license,” Benjamin said. “One thing is clear, the ABC agents do not know anything about chemistry because alcohol does not “mature” on the shelf when you put a pineapple in it.”

We have seen bars in San Francisco doing this with tequila, but we’ve never been tempted to try to actually drink the stuff. Tequila is just fine without any added infusions. We also had no idea it was illegal.

But, Benjamin points out the state’s “twisted logic” attempting to justify this law, which includes, “Fruit infused flavored vodka will entice minors to drink” or “Alcohol will mature when you add fruit into it”.

So where does the California’s deficit come into play? Benjamin connects the dots for us at the end of his story.

“There are many stupid laws and regulations in California and many people hired to enforce them no matter how dumb they are,” he said. “If we want to fix California’s budget, take away half of the stupid laws and regulations on the books or defund the incompetent bureaucrats who choose to enforce clearly dumb regulations.”

Goldfish Tequila shots event called off

The TVNZ.co.nz website posted a story about the cancellation of a drinking event that involved serving patrons a shot of tequila with a goldfish swimming inside of it.

The New Zealand bar’s owner, Logan Hughes, said he canceled the event because the bar “does not need the hassle of a moral debate.”

The best part of the story (at least from our perspective) are the pages of angry comments left by readers.

“Goldfish are companions not food. I know someone who has had their goldfish for about 10years now. The owner of this bar should die.”

Whoa, there! Let’s not be so quick to judge this poor guy! Before we pass a death sentence on him, we would first need to know what tequila the goldfish would be swimming in. If it’s a mixto like Jose Cuervo Gold, then yes, you may have a point. This is cruel for goldfish and humans alike.

Package Design Reviewed: Tres Agaves Tequila

We’ve been hearing rumors that San Francisco restaurant Tres Agaves has created their own brand of tequila, but haven’t yet been able to get any details regarding it’s availability.

More evidence of a Tres Agaves Tequila has been found in the form of a review of the product’s package design on TheDieline.com, which comes complete with pictures of blanco, reposado, and anejo bottles.

According to the story, this tequila is meant to be paired with the Tres Agaves brand agave nectar. “Tres Agaves is an authentic 100% agave Tequila created specifically for making world-class margaritas.”

The tequila is created from agave plants that have been “cultivated in the volcanic soil of the Jalisco lowlands.”

In California: Budget cuts result in tequila fund raising event

This past July, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger drastically slashed funding for the state’s Domestic Violence Program. As a result, groups like the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center (WAWC) have decided to get creative with fund-raising efforts of their own.

The City on a Hill Press website, produced by students at the University of California Santa Cruz, published a story about the group’s decision to raise funds by holding a tequila tasting event.

This is a very interesting pairing, because the story mentions that alcohol abuse is “the center of a lot of people’s trauma.”

“It’s not for doing shots or getting drunk or crazy, it’s really about tasting the tequila and enjoying it,’ said Felicita Rasul, associate development director for the Women’s Center. “It’s not about encouraging drinking, it’s about learning more about a drink that you already enjoy.”

Thanks to to Governator, we have another reason to drink.

-TasteTequila

Tequila-related News of the Week

These things and more made it on our “This Week in Tequila” list. If you have some tequila news you’d like to share with us, if you’ve heard a tequila rumor, or have any amusing suggestions for our weekly list, please let us know.

Here’s the latest…

Olympic mom calmed by tequila

US Men’s Ski Arielist Champ Jeret “Speedy” Peterson was on the Colbert Report this week. When the topic of parents came up, Peterson told a story about his mom.

“Parents get really nervous when they watch our sport, and they see us going up these huge jumps and doing all that kind of stuff,” he said. “Tequila takes care of it. It calms their nerves down, it’s way boss!”

This reinforces our long-standing theory that mom’s should sip on a relaxing shot of tequila rather than wine. It’s way boss!

Experts: Bats play vital role in tequila production

According to a story posted on The Facts, bats are the second-highest pollinator of food products, right after bees. “They are the only animal to effectively pollinate the agave cactus, the plant used to make tequila,” the report said.

This is an interesting fact. (And thank you, bats!) However, one fact that The Facts got wrong – the agave isn’t a cactus. The Facts needs a fact checker!

901 Silver to Launch in 20 New States

According to a press release published in PRNewswire, Justin Timberlake’s 901 Silver tequila triple-distilled tequila brand is now available in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Texas. 901 Silver will soon be available in Alabama, North Carolina, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and Washington, DC.

Launched less than one year ago, it was initially available in California, Colorado, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

Our attempts to locate it in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California and New York City have all failed – and we’d love to give it a try. Does anyone know where we can get it?

Creating “happy” tequila by playing classical music during fermentation?

The Beaverton Valley Times website in Oregon posted a story about Jon Bullinger, the mastermind of YEYO Tequila. The article says that Bullinger dedicates time to his tequila brand when he’s not busy at his other job, as a marketing manager at Intel.

His tequila is distilled at the Feliciano Vivanco y Asociados, S.A. de C.V., located in Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico.

Bullinger says that, during the fermentation process, they play classical Spanish music by pointing speakers directly at the fermentation tanks.

“The music creates a different type of popping during the process. It’s supposed to make the tequila happy, and I believe it does.”

Considering that tequila makes us happy in general, we’d be interested in seeing just how happy we would becoming after drinking a happy tequila.

Liquor Discounts Become Bad Habit for Spirits Makers

According to the Wall Street Journal, liquor giants are cutting prices in the U.S. to stir demand and hold onto market share but they’re also feeling some hangover effects. Revenues are dragging and there is concern that it won’t be easy to raise prices as the economy improves.

What Happens After You Beat Bobby Flay?

We are big fans of Bobby Flay’s “Throwdown” show on the Food Network, and were delighted that one of our local places, Papalote, just a few blocks from our house in San Francisco, was featured.

SFGate had a follow-up story with the owners, and asked what happens after you beat Bobby Flay.

“Fame. Glory. Multiple shots of tequila. A serious need to up the meat order,” the story says.

“Our business over the weekend darn near doubled!,” at both their locations, Papalote co-owner Victor Escobedo, wrote in an e-mail response to their question.

Great. Now we’ll never get in there.

-TasteTequila

A recovery for the tequila industry in 2010; a new website for Herradura; mixing your tequila with cream; and what the hell are “Tequila Balls?”

These things and more made it on our “This Week in Tequila” list. If you have some tequila news you’d like to share with us, please let us know.

Here’s the latest…

Grupo Cuervo predicts tequila market recovery in 2010

The tequila industry will see increased exports in 2010, according to a Grupo Cuervo report.

One of the largest tequila producers says that it expects to see tequila exports increase this year, thanks to new channels that are opening in Asia and Europe. As exports grow, the Mexican government is also working to strengthen the identity of tequila abroad and emphasize its dominion of origin.

We’ll drink to that! The more the Mexican people actually benefit from the popularity of tequila, the better.

Herradura redesigns its website

Ryan Kelley from The Tequila Examiner writes about Herradura’s new website, which “aims to educate consumers about the tequila heritage and craft that has defined the brand during the last 140 years.”

When we first heard of this, we tried to access the site with our iPhones, but were unable to see anything because it is created entirely in Flash. (Booo!) Because we are dedicated tequila lovers, we put in the extra effort and visited with an actual computer.

The website looks nicely designed, and as Ryan says in his story, there are good bits of educational information here for both tequila newbies and aficionados.

Maybe someday they’ll build a website that doesn’t require Flash?

Spice up your party – mixing tequila and cream?

The Times of India website published a drink recipe called an “Agave Kiss” – a creamy drink that features silver tequila, white creme de cacao, double cream and Chambord.

The article says this is the “ultimate sweetheart drink.” We haven’t tried it yet, though. Mixing cream with our tequila isn’t high on our list – especially when we’ve got another drink recipe that is already perfect for any sweetheart.

Gilbert tequila importer finds recipe for success (and love)

Debbie Medina, 47, and Jonathan Gach, 50, “met a little later in life” according to a story by AZCentral.com. They met in 2006, fell in love, and today they have formed Señor Rio Tequila, a tequila importer located in Gilbert, Arizona.

More proof that tequila is liquid love in a bottle! (Although, we don’t need any more proof than this.)

Castle Brands Announces Fiscal 2010 Third Quarter Results

Castle Brands makes Tierras tequila, the first USDA certified organic tequila. Their reports, which included Tierras tequila and Jefferson’s Presidential Select bourbon and Betts & Scholl wines, show a decrease of 6,484 cases sold during the fiscal 2010 third quarter as compared to cases sold in the prior year period.

The report didn’t mention the sales of tequila by itself, so we aren’t able to determine if tequila sales were up or down compared to the other spirits in their product line.

“Conserve water — drink Tequila.”

We spotted this story on the Phoenix New Times website, and immediately fell in love with the slogan used by Barrio Cafe: “Conserve water — drink Tequila.”

Just that slogan alone makes us want to visit Phoenix for more that just a layover stop during our flights to Guadalajara.

‘Tequila Balls’ takes tequila to a new level

The CNN website writes a story on “Tequila Balls, “A Japanese third cousin of the jello shot, Tequila Balls are a new way for women who dislike strong drink to still drink up.”

These are cute and they look like a fun novelty, but if anyone (man or woman) thinks that all tequila is strong and foul and requires that it be hidden inside of a jelly-like substance – they’re haven’t tried GOOD tequila yet.

-TasteTequila

Tequila Sunrise iPhone App

When I got my new iPhone last summer one of the first things I did was search for tequila app that would give me a list of brands and tasting notes. At that time, there was nothing.

However, just last week I did the search again and a tequila app popped up. It’s called “Tequila Sunrise” and is currently priced at $0.99. It lists around 700 tequila brands, as well as the distiller’s name, the NOM, tequilas onto a favorites list.

Of course, a glaring omission is the lack of tasting notes, but the maker of the app claims that this will be available in a forthcoming version.

I searched for a couple of new brands – Alien and PaQui – and they weren’t yet listed. All of the brands are stored offline and information cannot be updated over the Internet. It seems like they can only add new brands with new versions.

I like the fact that the app includes the NOM, but it would be cool if it also let you see what other tequilas a particular distillery makes. Knowing the tequila’s region is also helpful, and it’s definitely smart to include whether the tequila is 100% agave or not.

Overall, I’d give this app two stars out of five. With the tasting notes, they could push toward four stars. Version 1.4 is supposedly due out shortly and will be priced at $1.99. I’m eager to see how this app progresses.

-Scarlet

More people are drinking at home, people who don’t know anything about tequila are writing stories about it, and there’s good news for tequila fans in Los Angeles. These things and more make it on our “This Week in Tequila” list. If you have some tequila news you’d like to share with us, please let us know.

Here’s the latest…

Tequila’s Battle of the Blancos: PaQui Silvera, Patron Silver, and Tres Generaciones Plata Go Head to Head

PaQui Silvera: We liked it, and that's all that matters!

This Huffington Post story got a lot of attention from tequila aficionados given that the writer apparently knows very little about tequila. Take this comment, for example: “Now, remember that an unaged tequila is not really a sipping spirit.” Au contraire, Tony Sachs — in fact, blancos make great sipping tequilas. As a second blow, Sachs chose Patron Silver as his favorite sipping tequila over PaQui, which we’ve recently tried and is delightful. Huff Post fans, please read our story on the Top 10 tequila Websites and see where to go for quality reviews.

More Americans Drinking at Home, Industry Group Says

There are no surprises here considering that you will pay $10-$15 per shot of tequila out when you could get a whole luscious bottle for around $60. Of course there’s something to be said for getting out of the house and meeting new people every once in a while. We have 80 bottles of tequila at home and we still go out… perhaps we should talk to a financial advisor.(-;

New! “Sipping Tequila”!

A JustLuxe.com article advertises the merits of a new “sipping” tequila called Casa Dragones.

The article begins with: “No matter how refined a tequila, it generally needs pairing with salt and lime to conceal the harshness as it goes down the throat in fell shot. Which is why Casa Dragones is so unique. Unlike its predecessors, Casa Dragones is a sipping tequila, meant to be savored.”

Why the tequila bashing, people? Drinkers all over the world happily sip tequilas with no lime and salt to mask the flavors.

To get rid of the “harsh” flavors, Casa Dragones distills its tequila multiple times and then adds extra añejo tequila to the mix. It calls its potion “100% Blue Agave Joven.” We are baffled.

Drinks Giant Diageo Announced Fall In Profits

The producer of Cuervo tequila, Guinness, and Smirnoff vodka said that it saw a 10% fall in net income in its first fiscal half due to slower sales in the U.S. Could this possibly mean that Americans are upgrading their margaritas from well tequila to quality 100% agave products? Probably not, but we wish it were true.

RED O By Rick Bayless to Open in L.A.

Famed Chef Rick Bayless is finally bringing his traditional Mexican cuisine to Los Angeles. He said he is also adding “lighter California-style dishes” to the menu to appeal to L.A.’s body-conscious residents. Bummer– we want the real stuff. The good news is he plans to stock a number of tequila as to pair with his cuisine.

-TasteTequila

Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, and we know they’ll have good tequila in the stadium. Also, some news reports are showing that we may be drinking more, but going for cheaper brands. These things and more make our “This Week in Tequila” list. If you have some tequila news you’d like to share with us, please let us know.

Tequila Healthcare T-shirt

Love tequila, but hate the political healthcare debate? This t-shirt may be for you. Released this week from your pals at TasteTequila.com

Here’s the lastest…

More drinking, cheaper booze

People drank more alcohol during the depths of the recession last year, but chose cheaper brands, according to new report by the AP.
One Kenneth Jolly of Milwaukee was quoted as saying that he had swapped out his favorite tequila, Patron, for the less expensive Jose Cuervo.

To Kenneth: We have to give it to you straight. You could have UPGRADED your tequila to cheaper brand. Confused? Watch this video.

Silver Winner

Dulce Vida Spirits’ Blanco Tequila was selected as the best silver tequila at last week’s Texas Throwdown Competition in Houston. The company’s blanco is produced in the Highlands and is a whopping hundred proof. So far, it’s only distributed in Texas. We’d love to get our hands on it. (Hint, hint.)

Heard on Twitter:

Dos Lunas is the official tequila of Dolphin Stadium, the home of Super Bowl XLIV. Congrats! With Dos Lunas in the house, everyone’s a winner in this game.

Also, Dos Lunas recently came in 4th place for their logo design the firm Logo Design Works. Ranked Dos Lunas ahead of brands like Johnnie Walker, Seagrams, Crown Royal, and Smirnoff, a rare accomplishment for such a young company.

National Margarita Day is Feb. 22

The margarita was the most popular drink in 2008, representing 18 percent of all mixed drink sales in the U.S., and on average, Americans consume 185,000 margaritas per hour, according to The Food Channel website. (With that in mind, coming soon to TasteTequila.com – making margarita videos!)

Introducing TasteTequila T-Shirts!

If you’re like us, you love tequila, and are sick of healthcare debates. We designed a fun tequila t-shirt all about it. Make your political statement and share your love for tequila at the same time.

-TasteTequila

Calling all tequila addicts! We’re introducing a new weekly feature that will give you the lowdown on all the latest tequila news, posted each Friday. If you have tequila-related news of your own, please let us know.

With that, let’s get started!

TequilaAficionado.com - new site coming soon.

TequilaAficionado.com set to relaunch Feb. 1st – bigger and better.

Tequila reporter Mike Morales tells us that the online tequila magazine is set for a major revamp. It aims to be the premier website for tequila news, views, and reviews, along with content that won’t be available anywhere else on the Web.

Right now they’ve got the coolest looking online countdown clock we’ve ever seen.

Golfer John Daly has his own brand of tequila in the works.

The former hardcore drinker, known primarily for his love of beer, has yet to announce the name for his tequila but he does have a tagline: “Grip it and sip it.

Kate Hudson says she loves tequila.

However, the starlet recently gave up drinking wine and tequila to lose weight for her new movie “Nine.” We have news for you Kate—it wasn’t the tequila that was doing you in since it only contains about 100 calories per shot.

Milagro Tequila gets “fresh” with new duty free promotional pack.

The presentation box includes the recipe for “the world’s freshest margarita” using Agave Nectar and fresh squeezed lime juice in place of the traditional triple sec and sour mix. We laud any brand that helps promote “pure” margaritas over the sweet and sour sugar bombs made at most bars.

Republic Tequila expands into Colorado, and encourages mustache growth.

The brand was previously available only in Texas, so to celebrate its expansion they’ve done the only natural thing to do: hold a mustache-growing contest. I guess (most) tequila-loving women are left out. Sigh.

Partida Tequila soaks up growth.

What’s the best way to wash away your recession worries? Drink tequila. The good stuff. Maybe that’s why Partida owner Gary Shansby experienced 20% sales growth last year. Shansby, who started Vitamin Water, is only happy to help us get through these tough times, tastefully.

Former dot-commer makes a mean drink at Mission watering hole.

If there’s one thing a Bay Area dot-commer can do well, it’s spend venture capital cash, and drink. The San Francisco Examiner wrote a profile on Velvet Cantina bartender Peter Zimmer and his love of tequila and beer. This joint is in our neighborhood and it has a great atmosphere, if you can get a seat. It’s packed most days, for a reason.

-TasteTequila

Join our Meetup Group!

Join our Meetup Group!

http://www.meetup.com/tastetequila-sf

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, you should sign up to our free meetup group. Our first event is coming up in January, and we’ll be conducting a free tequila tasting at Cava22, a tequila bar located in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District.

This event already has a tequila sponsor, which means we’ll get to taste some new premium tequila – stuff we’re almost certain that you’ve never tried before – even if you’re a seasoned expert.

:-)

Out meetup group isn’t like other groups – it’s free, and it’s supposed to be fun. Although we sometimes take our tequila tasting seriously, we think it’s supposed to be fun first. Hopefully our meetup group meetings will reflect this.

All people are invited to attend, and you don’t have to be an expert.

We have decided to use the Meetup.com system to keep track of who’s coming because space is limited in the various establishments we’ll be gathering in. We plan to switch locations so that we can visit various different tequila-friendly bars in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Please join our meetup group so you can be instantly informed each time a new event is added. We hope to see you there!

For folks not in the SF Bay Area, please get your name on our tasting alert list. We plan to conduct tasting events in other cities, and we’ll let you know if/when we’re planning to roll into your town, too.

list-shot

TasteTequila's list of Tequila Brands active on Twitter

Although we’re certainly not hardcore Twitter junkies, we do use it from time to time. One really cool new feature that Twitter just released is called Twitter Lists, and it allows users to be “curators” of a list of other Twitter accounts.

So we just assembled at list of tequila brands that are active (or have accounts that we could find) on Twitter.

http://twitter.com/tastetequila/lists/tequila-brands

We’ll be on the lookout for more brands and add them to the list as they pop up. So if you want to keep up on what the brands and distilleries are up to, you can follow our list. If you’ve got suggestions for brands to add to our list, please let us know!

Our initial list includes 48 different tequila brands: Partida Tequila; Solde Mexico Tequila; El Grado Tequila; Tequila Los Valores; Sauza; Aha Toro Tequila; Azunia Tequila; Dulce Vida; Tequila Nocaut; Tequila Nuestro Orgullo; PaQuí Tequila; Tequila Comisario; Republic Tequila; Fortaleza Tequila; Tres Generaciones Tequila; Alien Tequila; 901 Silver; Casa Noble; Dos Lunas Tequila; Angel Tequila; Ambar Tequila; Tequila Azcona Azul; Carambia Tequila; Casa Dragones; Cruz Tequila; DeLeón Tequila; Don Pilar Contreras; Don Valente; Luna Sueño Tequila; Don Modesto; Inocente Tequila; El Don Tequila; Fat Ass Tequila; Karma Tequila; Mejor Tequila; Muchote Tequila; Tequila Tierras; ORO Tequila; Riazul; Senor Frogs Tequila; Solorzano Tequila; Tequila Alquimia; 3 Amigos Tequila; Tequila Huizache; Tequilas La Pinata; Tequila Capaz; Teteo Tequila; and Voodoo Tiki.

There are some big obvious brands that we haven’t been able to find, like Cazadores, El Tesoro, Don Julio, Gran Centenario, Pueblo Viejo, and Siete Leguas. If/when they ever pop up on Twitter, we’ll add them to the list.

– Grover

just-drinks websiteI just spotted an interesting story on just-drinks.com. Most interestingly is what they’re saying about our beloved beverage:

Tequila posted the fifth-largest volume increase, and Tequila’s rising prominence on the world stage, the report posits, is a further reason why speciality spirits should be taken seriously by international players.

“Tequila’s transition from being principally a national category into one of the hottest international categories shows what is possible,” the report says. And that success should give multinationals good reason to take a look at cachaça. “Volume sales of cachaça may not be high enough to register on the strategic radars of most multinationals in Europe, but the current situation is similar to that of Tequila in the mid- to late ’80s.”

In 1985, volumes of Tequila in Europe stood at just under 180,000 cases, but by 1989 had risen to 600,000 cases, and now stand at around 2m cases. Today, every multinational has a Tequila brand in its portfolio.

You may be interested in reading the full story, because it talks about many other beverages and you can get a good sense for where tequila is with respect to other drinks.