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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Margarita Mayhem

Our new cocktail menu is ready for your perusal, complete with tasting notes and descriptions of the delights on offer. There’s some old favourites, some exciting new additions, and three different varieties of that cocktail of the tequila gods – the Margarita.

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So who invented the Margarita? Actually, this is lost to history, and no one truly knows who’s responsible for this tangy and punchy drink beloved of so many. The first mention of it in print is in the December 1953 issue of Esquire, where the following description can be found –

‘She’s from Mexico, Señores, and she is lovely to look at, exciting and provocative’.

Yep, that sounds like Miss Margarita. But there’s question about whether it was actually invented  by a Mexican, since there wasn’t initially a huge cocktail culture in the country. And, while it may have been created on Mexican soil, the locals don’t tend to drink them in huge amounts.

Experts believe it to be quite possible that the drink was created at some point during Prohibition, when rich, booze-thirsty Americans went in search of tasty drinks served in public. As well as Cuba, London and Paris, another popular destination was Mexico, especially Tijuana.

Well, we tip our hats to whoever managed to come up with such a fabulous combination of tequila, triple sec and lime. So what are the three El Camion options you can choose from?

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El Camion Classic Margarita

CLASSIC:

The Classic Margarita does just what it says on the tin – it’s a tangy, refreshing and zingy combination of Altos tequila, triple sec and fresh lime juice served on the rocks with, of course, a rim of salt.

TOMMY’S MARGARITA

For those with more of a sugary tooth, this version of the classic swaps triple sec for agave syrup, making for a sweet, citrusy drink that has major notes of agave.

POMEGRANATE MARGARITA 

Favourited by those of a fruity nature, this drink takes the classic margarita and adds the gorgeous ingredient of fresh pomegranate juice. The result is something earthy, sweet and nicely balanced with a fruit kick.

So, what are you waiting for? Come along to El Camion and find your favourite Margarita tonight!

We Heart Tequila & Mezcal Fest!

Last weekend saw the UK’s first Tequila and Mezcal festival, held at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel. It’s aim was to educate and celebrate – the agave plant is a magical natural wonder and has brought much happiness to the world, and people are just learning about what tequila and mezcal are all about. Guess what – tequila is more than a just a late night shot taken with salt and lemon – in fact, what a travesty it is to drink it that way!

Seminars we’re given by industry gurus, such as The President of The National Chamber of Tequila (yes, there is a Chamber of Tequila and yes, there is a President of it) and cinema showings and music (including an awesome live mariachi band) provided the entertainment.

Of course there were tastings (many, many tastings) and it was great to see so many exhibitors showing their wares – it was an excellent way to learn about tequila and mezcal first-hand and chat to the makers and suppliers of our favourite brands. There were some exciting emerging brands too – we particularly liked the look (and taste) of Tequila Grillos, who are brand new to the UK, and Tea & Tequila Trading, a new company who trade in drinks and Mexican merchandise. Very pretty Alacran rubber-coated bottles, we must say.

As one of our favourite drinks for a long time, mezcal got superb coverage and it we loved that there were so many varieties to try. We were big fans of Enmascarado and Ilegal.

All in all, Tequila & Mezcal Fest was a roaring success and we are glad that a festival of this kind has finally come to the UK. Bring on the next Tequila Fest!

Spotlight on – Olmeca Altos Tequila

Here at El Camion, and in our Pink Chihuahua bar, we love a few cocktails. And what’s one of our favourite spirits to put into these creative concoctions? Yep – tequila!

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Today we’re taking a look into the history of one of our favourite varieties – Olmeca Altos 100% agave tequila.

What: Altos Reposado Tequila – sweet and citric, with a robust yet pleasant body. Agave, vanilla and woody flavours make this an easy drinking, quality spirit.

Who: Los Altos 100% blue agave was the created from the partnership of Jesus Hernandez – Olmeca’s own Master Distiller – and internationally renowned UK bartenders Henry Besant and Dre Masso.

Where: Los Altos is 2014 meters above sea level, in the western state of Jalisco in Mexico. A combination of the mineral-rich, volcanic tierra roja and the unique microclimate mean that some of the highest quality blue Agave can be produced there – hence the super taste of Olemca Altos!

How: At the peak of maturity after 7-8 years of growth, the blue Agave plants are harvested by a team of jimadores, using skills passed down from generations. The leaves are chopped to reveal the pina at the heart of Agave, which removed the bitter tasting cogollos – hence the best flavour and highest quality. Traditional brick ovens are then used to slow cooked the pin as to bring out the naturally sweet, fruity agave notes. Then a traditional Tahona method that is over 500 years old is used – this is a process of crushing cooked pin as with a 2-tonne volcanic millstone to draw the sweet juice from the fibres. It is then distilled on small copper pot stills to produce the smoothest, finest tequila.

Best Enjoyed: With lots of friends, in an El Camion margarita!

Visit the website to learn more about Olmeca Altos Tequila here

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Christmas at El Camion!

Christmas meals can sometimes be quite a dry affair… tough turkey, flavourless stuffing, overcooked veggies… Luckily, we don’t have to deal with any of that. This Christmas we have a tantalising, lip-smacking, Mexican-themed Christmas menu for party season revellers that will leave tastebuds tingling and stomachs overjoyed.

Starting at £18 for two courses, merry diners can choose from nachos or quesadillas to start and tacos, burritos or tostadas for a main course with a choice of our favourite fillings and toppings – Chicken Tinga, Pork Carnitas, Picadillo Beef, seasonal vegetables or mushroom and spinach. And then for dessert we have our delicious churros with chocolate sauce or a selection of ice-cream – or a seasonal pie for those feeling festive.

For those wanting to push the boat out (or the sleigh – ho ho ho!), we are offering three courses for £23 or three courses with a Tommy’s Margarita on arrival for £30. Don’t say we never treat you.

For Christmas in Mexico this year, with a bit of spice and a lot of fiesta spirit, enquire with our lovely team on 02077347711 or tweet us here – @elcamion_soho

Cocktails and late night tortillas in our Pink Chihuahua Bar!

Top tacos, banging burritos and gnarley nachos – El Camion Mexicano is all over it. Our Soho restaurant is the place to come to get your fill of the tastiest Mexican grub this side of the Atlantic. But, get this. Not only do we have awesome chefs in our kitchen, we also have some of the most talented bartenders in London behind our bar.

The Pink Chihuahua, our basement Baja bar, is where the magic happens and our skilled and knowledgable bar team are led by cocktail legend Dick Bradsell, the inventor of the Espresso Martini, no less.

Dick Bradsell's Espresso Martini Cocktail

Dick Bradsell’s Espresso Martini Cocktail

Here, you will experience the craftmanship of our passionate bar team and choose from an array of margaritas (try a mango one for something deliciously different) or one of our creamy batidas – or ask one of the guys to create a cocktail for you based on your preferences and tastes. Of course, our famous house cocktail is the Pink Chihuahua – sweet, fruity with a foamy layer on top, it is the perfect party drink.

The Pink Chihuahua is also the proud home of hundreds of tequilas and we welcome you to try any you fancy. This is a bar passionate about Mexico’s native tipple, tequila, and we have a whole menu at your perusal. We are also big fans of mezcal and we list 15 variations on our drinks list.

Our basement Baja bar is party central and we love hosting events down there – there is a booking policy but we welcome people to drop by or call up for a chat to see if we can accommodate. If you love our food and our unique party spirit, you’ll feel at home here – plus it’s open until the wee hours AND you can order food until 2am. Sweet!

Think London Do Good Fireworks? Mexico Does Better!

It’s bonfire night, and there are going to be quite a few bangs happening all over London. We can imagine many of you will be standing outside, wrapped against the cold, marvelling at the amazing bursts of colour overhead and thinking ‘wow, those are some pretty cool explosions.’


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But while Britain isn’t bad at the whole firework thing, they’re not a patch on Mexico. Did you know that in Tulpec, Mexico, there is a National Pyrotechnic Festival that lasts for nine days?!

Originally it was a celebration of John of God, the patron saint of fireworks makers, and is now an annual event to promote the country’s tradition of firework production. The main event, that began in the 19th century, was a parade of bull-shaped frames with fireworks in them, known as ‘toritos’.

Along with the amusement rides, concerts and releases of sky lanterns, there are three main events that are split between the town centre of Tultepec and the fairgrounds in the San Antonio Xahuento neighbourhood. So what are these crazy firework events that are so beloved that they attract more than 100,000 visitors?!

Castillos

Literally meaning ‘castles’, this is a contest where people make frames of wood, reed and paper measuring between twenty five and thirty meters. The frames take about fifteen days to build, and the idea is that fireworks are attached to various parts of the structure. When they’re set off they make images or pieces of the Castillo move.

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Pamplonada

If you think this sounds familiar when it comes to customs, you’d be right. It’s named after the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, it sees frames known as ‘little bulls’ (also known as ‘toritos’) which also have fireworks attached to them. They are painted in bright, vibrant colours and can measure anything between 50cm to 3m in height. These Toritos are paraded on March 8th in honour of John of God, and set off fireworks for five to six hours before arriving at the town’s main plaza.

Music

The last competition is a feast for the senses, where fireworks are combined with music to make an extravaganza for those watching and listening.

The National Pyrotechnic Festival takes place at the beginning of March, so if you finish tonight feeling like you just didn’t get your firework fix then now might be the time to consider booking a ticket to Tulpec…

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Day of the Dead Weekend Round Up

So, our Halloween and Day of the Dead weekender is over and we have just about recovered! It is always our busiest party weekend of the year and El Camion fans never fail to make it a blow out bash.

Of course, our favourite party of all is Day of the Dead, and all of Saturday was spent preparing decorations and painting sugar skull faces on our staff. By 6:30pm everybody was in high spirits (never gets old) and ready to get the party started!

After winning the staff cocktail competition, Roman proudly poured his party punch and it was available by the bucketload (literally) for this special occasion. Garnished with chillies, it could have been made in the fiery depths of the underworld and was not for the faint-hearted. The tequila was flowing and guests were loving the classic party tunes mixed with fresh Latino beats.

Later on, the Cash Cows came to town and played their funky mix of rock, jazz and swing and everyone danced into the early hours of the morn and had enough fun to wake the dead! Well, that was kind of the point.

If you missed our Day of the Dead party, you will have to wait a full year to the next one. But in the meantime, come down for a cocktail on a Saturday night and you’ll get a taste of El Camion’s party spirit – you won’t want to miss it next time.

Day of the Dead Tonight at El Camion!

The time is upon us… The part of the year where the veil between the land of the living and the land of the dead is at its thinnest – and for this one night of the year, for one night only, it’s time to party with the ghostly ones!

Dia de los Muertos is really about honouring and celebrating dead friends and relatives by remembering them in a fun light and generally having a blast. We ain’t gonna say no to that! We hope you’ve got your costume sorted and your face-paints at the ready because we are about to share some Day of the Dead traditions with you to get you into the spirit of things.

1. Dress up

If we’re going to party with dead people, we’ve got to blend in. That means dressing in old costumes (and make some effort – it’s a party!), painting your face like a traditional Mexican sugar skull and wearing flowers in your hair.

2. Make noise

If the dead are going to wake up, you’re going to have to make some noise! Some people wear shells so that they make a sound when they dance, but we reckon if the music’s loud enough, it will do the job. Turn it up DJ!

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3. Eat and drink well

Remember your loved ones’ favourite foods and drinks and consume them by the bucketload in their honour. This is a time for delicious food, cakes and sweets – and cocktails! Luckily we’ll have our fabulous selection tonight to choose from – and judging by our special fishbowl cocktails for tonight only, you won’t go dry.

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4. Have a good time!

Dia de Los Muertos is a holiday for a reason – so eat, drink, give gifts and party! We’ll see you tonight!

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Check out our Facebook page for more info!