If you’re in the U.S. of A., you’re likely heading off to a “Cinco de Mayo” party very soon. As much as I’d love to lecture you about the true meaning of the day -Hint: NO, it is NOT Mexican Independence Day; go READ THIS!- I’ll restrain myself and stick to my strong suit: LIBATIONS!
As most celebrations go, Cinco de Mayo’s festivities include music, decorations, food, and drink. And as far as drinks go, here in the U.S. the booze for the day is most certainly: Tequila.
Now then; for the purposes of this article, there are three different kinds of Tequila. And no, I don’t mean Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo. I mean: Shooting, Celebratory, and Sipping. Let’s quickly go over each in turn, shall we?
1. Shooting Tequila. Shooting Tequila is booze that is so horrible, so vexing, so punishing that the only way to deal with it is by pouring one ounce into a shot glass, slamming it back, and chasing it with lime and a beer. Shooting tequila is vile, hateful stuff and must never be consumed once you have passed the age of 25. #fact
2. Celebratory Tequila. Celebratory Tequila usually costs a bit more than Shooting Tequila, but it won’t make you blind or generate a desire to rip out your own stomach and wring it dry. Celebratory Tequila is tasty, inexpensive, and suitable for mixing or sipping over ice.
3. Sipping Tequila. Sipping Tequila is unequivocally “the good stuff.” At a bar, one ounce of this stuff costs more than two bottles of Shooting Tequila. At the store, it is always behind locked doors. Thinking about purchasing a bottle makes you both uncomfortable and excited. It tastes like heavenly nectar, goes down smoothly, and is *never* to be mixed. One ounce in a brandy snifter: DONE.
Now that the definitions are out of the way, let’s talk Celebratory Tequila.
When heading for a party where Tequila and Tequila-based drinks are surely to be found, you’ll likely want to bring a nice bottle of something. I’ve piqued your interest now, haven’t I? What bottle will I recommend?
Let me ask you this: Do you think of Grand Marnier as a “Celebratory” drink? Do you make mixed drinks with it? I ask because, my answer to both questions is: yes. I’ll have an ounce of Grand Marnier after a tasty & satisfying meal, but I’ll also make an A1, a Curielle, and of course, a Cadillac Margarita with it. All that as a way of saying:
A Celebratory Tequila that you would take to a party should cost about the same as a 750 ml bottle of Grand Marnier.
Don’t be cheap here and look for a $12 bottle of Tequila. No one will drink it and no will think you’re awesome for bringing it. Remember: you should be able to mix with it *AND* sip it over ice without wanting to kill yourself.
The moment you’ve been waiting for:
A Short List of Celebratory Tequilas (aka, good stuff that won’t break the bank):
The Sub-$30 Fun List:
Cazadores Reposado – Nothing wrong with their Blanco nor Añejo, but most will agree with me, their Reposado is something special.
Espolon – Blanco or Reposado, this is one inexpensive Tequila that will set tongues wagging in a good way!
Milagro Silver or Reposado – Excellent over ice, fantastic in a Margarita, the Blanco has lovely herbal and mild pepper notes, while the Reposado is mellowed with a hint of oak.
The Grand Marnier-ish Priced $30 to $40 List:
Partida Blanco – Mild pepper, pronounced minerality, and soft herbal notes. Sweet with a complex yet light finish. Excellent on its own or in Margaritas.
Corralejo Reposado – Herbal notes, mild sweetness, and a soft & warm finish. Excellent choice for Cadillac Margaritas or on the rocks.
Gran Centenario Añejo – Smooth, mellow, mild bite but lingering warm finish. You can still taste the agave even with the time in barrel.
The “Are you sure you want to share?” $40 to $60 List:
Asombroso El Platino – Bell pepper, pineapple, roasted nectarine notes with a touch of herbs and spice. Best in a tumbler with one ice cube; a civilized finish to a raucous day.
Campeón Añejo – I just wrote about this one. Herbs, sweet pear & pineapple, long warm finish. The time in barrel was just to smooth it out, not to impart oaky flavors. One ounce straight up in a Brandy snifter… or in a fantastic Cadillac Margarita.
San Matias Gran Reserva – Mildly sweet, mildly herbaceous, the barrel notes shine through nicely. Excellent sipping tequila… almost a shame to mix it. Almost.
If I’m honest, you can ignore the $50 to $60 List unless you’re out to make a statement. (But if you really want to make a statement, hunt down a bottle of Maestro Dobel or Don Julio 1942… they are showstoppers.)
And, if I’m even more honest, I’d just grab one of each of Espolon’s offerings for a party…
Or grab a bottle Espolon Reposado and one of Grand Marnier. You’ll really be the life of the party then.
Have a Happy and Safe El Día de la Batalla de Puebla!