Lately there have been a lot of focus on tastings and master classes about Tequila and Mezcal here in Denmark. Which of course is very positive from my point of wiev. It is how ever very easy when promoting alcohol that taste that good, by itself, to forget to mix it, and a mixed drink is actually most people’s rediscovery of this beautiful spirits. As a result of this conclusion, I got invited to Juuls Vinhandel to do a cocktail follow-up session of the recent Tequila events. I thought to mix a few very simple drinks that anyone can recreate at home. First up was variations of the Paloma, probably the most mixed Tequila drink in Mexico. My first introduction to this drink was while working in Green & Red, where we used Reposado Tequila, fresh pink grapefruit, dash of sugar and sparkling water with a squeezed lime wedge on top, served in a highball glass with a salted rim, while on my first trip to Mexico I found out that it was simply Tequila with a grapefruit soda called Squirt, served with a pinch of salt inside the drink. Yet an other twist on this great drink is the Batanga, which is Tequila with coke and half a lime squeezed in, served in a highball with a salted rim. One of my favourite drinks for the moment is Tequila and Tonic, so I added a bit of fresh pink grapefruit juice to it, a squeeze of lime, added a salt rim and ended up with Paloma No 19. Showcasing these four drinks in the shop was great fun, and the customers found it interesting to try such simple twists on the same drink, with a very big difference in taste. The last drink on the menu for the day is one I am very proud of, it is called Bienvenidos and is a mix(4:2:2) of Del Maguey’s Vida, Kahlua and fresh lime juice, served straight up with a lime zest, which apparently appeals a lot to scotch drinkers. It was really a good experience standing in the middle of a busy liquor store on a friday afternoon talking about the booze that I love and mixing good drinks with it. Thanks to everybody who came down and supported, karma will credit you for that, I am sure.
If you want more detailed recipies drop me a line, Buen Domingo!
Weeehoo!! Last monday we (Copenhagen Cocktail Club) organised a new competition in Copenhagen. We though that after a long and hard beginning of this year, full of competitions, bar shows and other fun, it was time to get serious again. The task we gave the bartenders this time was to pair up with a chef and together create a cold starter and a cocktail to go with it. The only rule: No citrus fruits! We held the competition in a wholesale warehouse called inco, also known to some as the “Castle of Ingredients”. The idea was to pair a dish with a cocktail, and the teams knew they were not judged individually. The 10 teams were given a budget of 500dkk to gather ingredients to create 25 sample sized dishes and cocktails so that the other competitors could have a taste of what their opponents were up to. To prepare all of the above (come up with a dish/cocktail, gather ingredients and produce samples) they were given 70 minutes, some used the wisely and some did not, however everyone finished on time. After sampling everything we did a hat draw of who were to go first in front of the judges, who were no others than the three winners of Battle of Scandinavia, Andreas, Terkel and Nick together with inco’s head chef and the owner of LeLe, a Vietnamese restaurant who currently working with cocktail and food pairing.
The five judges did not have an easy time deciding on the winner, the level of professionalism was very high and keeping in mind not to judge any starter or cocktail individually it only made the whole thing harder. However after a few beers outside in the sun we could see the judges walking over to the local bar. After a lot of the hardest competition we ever judged, everybody is a winner bla bla bla, it all planned out as I wished for, Agave for the win! Respect to Sune Urth from Ruby Cocktail bar and his brother Asbjørn Urth!
Sprinkle a scallop with salt and let it sit for five minutes. Thinly cut the asparagus and sprinkled with blanco Tequila. Whip smoked cheese fluffy with tequila, agave sirup and salt. Chop radishes, scallions and cabbage in decorative pieces and serve everything on a small plate. Garnish with white currant.
20ml Blanco Tequila
40ml Freshly made white currant puree
1barspoon Agave Sirup
Shake all ingredients together and strain in to a champagne flute, no need for fine straining though the fruit adds texture to the drink. Top with your best sparkling wine and garnish with a sprig of white currants.
It is fascinating how a cocktail with the right balance can take you back to memories you thought you’d forgotten. It takes you right back, you can feel the warmth, the smells and if you lose your eyes you can kind of see the surroundings. I had a similar feeling today when I saw a picture posted of one of my favourite summer cocktails of all time. Simply combine my two favourite drinks, Tequila and beer, add a big squeeze of lime and a dash of agave sirup and there you have it, a Lagerita. It is so simple and applies to the Mojito and Caipirinha crowd, but, you can serve it and be proud of both the drink and your customer, because it is Tequila and beer in the same glass! And if balanced right, the Lagerita along with Batanga, might just be the most refreshing cocktail, ever. Now make yourself a favour and practice to make this drink in your sleep, after a few you will wake up very happy. Also it is a very fast cocktail to make, and suits almost any customer with decent taste buds.
Saludo El Sol!
2/3 of a lime
15ml Agave Sirup
50ml Viva Mexico Blanco
Swizzle with crushed ice
Top up with Mexican Lager
When I first heard about a little bar called La Capilla, I found it quite hard to understand all the talk about the bar. I saw pictures, heard stories, and after a little while I thought it was the kind of bar you “have” to like when you get back from a booze-trip with a Tequila company. I have had that experience before with different places. People talk it up so much, that my expectations are through the ceiling. Which in all honesty is not fair to any place. Mexico was a place I had been thinking of travelling to for quite the while, so one day I had enough, and took off.
It is very difficult when you have such a passion as I do for Tequila and Mexican food. My problem was that i had never been to Mexico before. I loved everything, and I mean everything. I fell in love with Wal-Mart (not even Mexican and I loved it) which I never been to before, but I supplied me with an amazing range of quality Tequila. I bought every bottle under 150 pesos. So after a week or so running around every liquor shop I Guadalajara, and doing some serious tasting and of course taking notes of everything, I woke up and found it appropriate to move on. I soon learnt there was much better things to life than Wal-Mart (though i did return frequently).
I went through highlands and lowlands of Tequila country, in and out of distilleries like I had never seen one before. It was at this point it got so much easier to filter all the information I took in about being in Mexico. All of a sudden the tacos I had in a restaurant downtown Guadalajara wasn’t the best I had ever had, the ones made in a little street stall in Arandas were much better, and so it kept on, Tequila for Tequila and taco for taco.
Four something weeks later I had come back to earth and landed in Tequila town. For those who have not been there, it is a beautiful little tranquil town pretty much in the middle of agaves. Everywhere you look on the way to Tequila is agave. It is absolutely amazing to see Tequila Orendine, Sauza and many more painting the hillsides with flowers in the shape of their brand names. It somehow added a different dimension of real-ness to the pictures I had of how Tequila country was. As we kept driving we passed by distilleries belonging to Partida, Herradura, Tres Mujeres and many more. Then almost at the end of the road came the town of Tequila and even before I could see it, I could smell cooked agave through the windows of the little yellow taxi. A big smile came on my lips, I was home.
After numerous tours of distilleries and late nights drinking Tequila with fellow aficionados, we made our way to the little bar called La Capilla. It must have been early evening, the sun was still up. After getting used to the way buildings look and the state of them, it adds a lot to the charm, so by the time I saw La Capilla, I ones again just smiled. Walking in and there they are, I recognised the three people in the bar, from pretty much every photo I have seen from La Capilla. Don Javier of course, behind the bar with his big smile and his big belly sitting down on a bar stool. The other one drinking a Batanga and the third making himself one. It is situated a couple of blocks from the town square and it is the oldest bar in town.
Don Javier Delgado Corona, a very generous man in his mid 80’s and third generation bar owner of La Capilla. It is a simple space, almost poky and lit by bare light bulbs, with only a handful of stools on which to perch in front of a plywood bar, plus a further scattering of plastic tables and chairs where we enjoyed a few Batanga’s and a big plate of small, round, green and red chili peppers served with a cup of salt, listening to story after story told by the man himself. It is after this experience I came to understand why people talked so highly of this place. People do not come for the bar itself, but for the feeling of being with Don Javier.
It is really the Batanga that started my knowledge of El Bar la Capilla, it was first invented in 1961, by a slightly younger Don Javier. Javier is a long time friend of the family who owns and operates the El Tequileño Tequila factory that’s located just up the hill from La Capilla. His signature drink is the Batanga made with El Tequileño Blanco and Coke with a little salt and fresh lime. The El Tequileño company was founded in 1959 and Javier created his original Batanga recipe in 1961. He is a well-respected and frequently visited man of the little town. If I was there for three hours, there was at least a handful of kids passing by offering a helping hand to the lovely old man.
To quote Julio Bermejo, “Don Javier is one of the most giving persons I have ever been acquainted. He embodies everything that is great about the hospitality business. It is a pity there are not more people like Don Javier”
A good ol’ friend and ex-college of mine Matthias Lataille recently did some filming for Copenhagen Cocktail Club. Spaniard Bernabeu (from CCC) flew to London to film a bunch of bartenders doing what they like the most, make drinks.
Matthias has for the past four years or so dedicated his work to Tequila and Tequila only. He started out working in Green & Red about four years ago, and so did the passionate relationship with Tequila. After that he been in and out of some of Mexico’s finest distilleries really getting down to the roots of what Tequila really is about. The people, the food, the culture, the music, the mexican pride! It is all there, in Tequila! Salud Cabrones!
Now let Matthias guide you through how to make a Mexican twist on the classic cocktail, Martinez. Here is Hernandez.
50ml Olmeca Altos (Nom 1111, Arandas)
15ml sweet vermouth
2dashes Orange Bitters
1dash Angostura Bitters