New traditions is always fun, and last year I introduced Tequila to the christmas table. This year I thought it was time for something a bit different, so me and the other Tequila heads in Copenhagen got together and made a mexican christmas table in honor af Guillermo Sauza and his fantastic work. Since the first time I laid eyes on a bottle of Los Abuelos I have had a special connection with it. It was the one bottle on the backbar we were not allowed to touch, which in theory sounds great, but tell that to a bartender and as soon as the bottle has been opened, it will get sampled, more than ones if the juice is exceptional. Of course we sampled it, but it was one of the bottles that made me proud to stand behind the bar, and back then we had to go to Mexico to pick one up. I did not sell it to just anyone, you had to deserve this one. Nowadays it is a bit more available, and the juice has stayed the same, some batches more preferable than others, but this all comes down to personal preference. This year I was very lucky when my good friend and fellow tequila geek told me he was going to the states just before christmas, and had found a shop where he could buy Los Abuelos. Which inspired us to fill this years christmas table with just that, bottles of Los Abuelos accompanied by fish tacos Mark “Mr Fish Taco” Alberto style!
When I drink amounts like this of great Tequila, it never hits me that I am drunk, which is quite interesting. We were drinking and chatting away for a good 10 hours, five bottles, four people, and it wasn’t until I woke up the next day that I realised I had been quite tipsy the day before. I get such a clear “high” from drinking this amazing Tequila, I can go on forever, well in this case we ran out of Juice so we had to polish off a Quita Penas Repo and finish off with a couple of glasses Quita Penas Blanco. After that much alcohol I should in theory not remember much, but most of it is still clear, until around the moment I started making my way home, which clearly was my mistake, I should have stayed for another one!
Having the opportunity to taste them all back to back, comparing batches was a great idea, and hopefully I will get the chance to do that all over again, maybe a different Tequila next time. If you can get your hands on a bottle, I would gladly recommend Reposado lote 11, that really made an impression on me.
Feliz Navidad Tres Mariachis Comrades!
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.
Just when you were thinking that Tequila producers were inventive enough, I find a picture of this, Minerva Imperial Tequila Ale. It is a strong brew at 7% abv, that is agen on Tequila barrels from Reserva de los Gonzales. Owner of the brewery Jesus Briseño says that aging beer in the añejo barrels gives the beer flavours like fresh tobacco, Tequila and vanilla, which is not really choking news. Minerva is locally brewed in Tequila country, in the heart of Guadalajara
The big christmas lunch on Saturday was a real blast, and it was well understood that a christmas with out Tequila is indeed not a real christmas. So many happy people and so little hangovers thanks to the generous amounts of Tequila served through the night. The snaps was so appreciated im glad I brought extra Tequila for after dinner. The herring was good as well, but I think it was a little bit too far from Danish tradition, but in the end of the day, it was a fun and well received experiment, and half the jar got eaten. A little bit is better than nada, as the Texas Tornados so beautifully sing. Now to todays experiment, a agave chocolate fudge cake. When I was a little kid my mom baked a lot, especially for christmas. Every year I got as disappointed when she brough the “grown up cakes” out, they looked so much better than the stuff us kids got. So every year when she brought them out, I had a taste, but same disappointment every year. A few years later I figured out why I did not like them, because she always put rum, cognac or some other booze in them and it did not at all suit my palate as a kid. Now many years later it is me putting booze in cakes. I found that it adds another layer of taste, and Tequila with chocolate is another dimension of goodness. This year I made a chocolate fudge cake with Tequila & lime. It might not be the most christmas inspired cake, but somehow it does feel appropriate for it to take a part of this christmas. It is very fast and easy to make, so up and away!
Agave Chocolate Fudge Cake
Put 200g of butter in a saucepan on low heat, wait for it to melt
Mix the following ingredients together in a big bowl and make sure there are no lumps.
500ml White Sugar
8 Table spoons Cacao
3 Tea spoons Vanilla Sugar
Juice of 1 lime
Add the melted butter and mix as well as possible
Bring out a small bowl or a pint glass and add:
15ml Agave Sirup
100ml Agavero (Tequila liqueur)
Mix well and add into the other mixture. Mix this until there is no lumps and pour into a baking tin.
In the oven at 175celcius for 20-25min. After 20 min take a toothpick and put in the center of the cake, it should be sticky, not wet.
While waiting for the cake to finnish, grate the zest of two limes (per 300ml whip cream) in to a bowl, add cream and 10ml Agave sirup and whip it up. Keep in the refrigerator until served. Enjoy!
I am pretty sure it is only Scandinavians that eat herring (sill, sild), not only for christmas, the tradition varies for the different Scandinavian countries. As far as I know it is only traditional to eat herring in Denmark during christmas, but in Sweden they eat it a few times a year. As a matter of fact the big tradition in Sweden is to eat herring during the midsummer celebration. The midsummer is a celebration of the longest day of the year, and the day varies a little bit, but it is usually the 20th or the 21st of june. Back to christmas. As I did mention in my last post, I did make it my mission to bring agave in different forms to the christmas table, and it might sound a bit far out, but taking Danish tradition serious, agave herring is a must on any Danish christmas table. Considering I have never made herring before I just followed my instincts as a bartender and made a very classic concoction and added something strong, sour, bitter and sweet. So far so good, I taste the marinade and as far as I am concerned, it tastes great, I am just clueless when I comes to how it mixes with this very particular fish. I wanted the herring to go well with the snaps I made and used some of the same ingredients. For sweetness I mixed Agavero (agave liqueur) and agave sirup with some of the “neutral” marinade the herring came in and I had my sauce base. As for strong I went with black pepper corn again, this time with a bit of red chili, and of course the alcohol adds a sharp note as well. Bitter tones of cloves and star anise and to finnish it of, and a sliced Mexican lime and half a bunch of coriander. As with the snaps, saturday is my judgment-day.
Viva La Tequila Vida!
1 Jar of pickled herring cut in pieces of about one inch
1 Mexican lime
20-25 black pepper corns
1/2 inch sliced red chili
2 star anise
1/2 bunch of coriander
top the jar with some of the marinade from the herring
With christmas just around the corner I made it my mission to introduce agave in as many ways possible to the christmas table, and first out is of course the Agave Snaps. It is very traditional to drink ice-cold Akvavit while enjoying a long christmas dinner with friends and family. One of the many reasons is because the food tend to be full of wonderful grease and this is an easy way to help the body dealing with it. Wether that is accurate or not doesn’t really matter, it is a reasonable excuse to drink. I made a somewhat traditional snaps that goes well with the food on the christmas table, but that of course, still has booth feet in Mexico. The result is kind of a Mexican twist on a Danish snaps called “Honning Syp” which is a lot of honey and a lot of Akvavit set to infuse for a few days. So it was very natural to make my base out of blanco Tequila and agave sirup. To inhence the flavour of the agave I added black pepper corns along with star anise and cloves for a more classic feel. I added lemon zest and coriander for a fresh mouth feel and a more Mexican touch and let it infuse until I find it satisfying enough. I am aiming for about 2 weeks which I think is fairly quick for a snaps, but I don’t want to bring out to many bitter flavours of the fresh herbs and citrus. I will let you know how it went after the christmas dinner on saturday. Until then, Salud!
2 Bottles of Viva Mexico Blanco
Zest of 4 lemons
A small hand full of black pepper corns
2 Star Anise
2 Bunches of fresh coriander
75ml Agave Sirup