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Monthly Archives: July 2015

On The Horizon… Tequila & Mezcal Fest 2015!

It’s on its way… TEQUILA & MEZCAL FEST 2015!

Last year we had such an awesome time at Tequila & Mezcal Fest and we were stoked to hear that the festival is returning this September in the new venue of Old Spitalfields Market.

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There are many things we love about this festival (including the obvious: it’s all about tequila and mezcal, and we can drink it all day long without being quizzed…) but more than anything, for us, it’s about the ethos. It was born from one single objective: to educate people about how to consume tequila and mezcal.

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Hey, guess what! It’s not about shooting it with lemon and salt and wooping about how much it burns! But you knew that already. What you might not know is how to pair tequila with food or the journey of tasting notes you might embark on from sipping an artisanal mezcal. Tequila & Mezcal Fest shows you all these things and more, including cocktail masterclasses and educational seminars.

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Live music from a mariachi band, Mexican art and photography exhibitions and lip-smackingly good food will totally immerse you in Mexican culture – hell, you even have to pay for things with pesos! (There are places inside to exchange your English stirling for peso tokens – no need to pop off to the post office.)

With ambassadors like Tomas Estes (founder of the Pacifico Group and creator of Tequila Ocho) and El Camion’s very own Jon Anders Borchgrevink Fjeldsrud, who worked here with the brilliant Dick Bradsell, we tequila lovers are in extremely excellent hands.

Spread the word: it’s gonna be a ball, kids!

 

http://www.tequilafest.co.uk

 

@tequilafestUK

 

A MUSEUM FOR TEQUILA & MEZCAL?! HELL YES!

Yes, you did read the title correctly. There is indeed an actual museum purely for the celebration of Tequila and Mezcal. And it is, naturally, in Mexico.

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The Museo del Tequila y del Mezcal is located in the Plaza Garibaldi – part of historic downtown Mexico City. The museum is a sign of the renewal of this area – oh yeah, and it’s also a FREAKIN’ GREAT IDEA FOR ALL AGAVE AFICIONADOS!

You see, tequila and mezcal are as intrinsic to the heritage and cultural identity of Mexico as, well, sombreros and mariachi bands. One simply can’t think of Mexico without thinking of awesome agave. After all, they’re the two most traditional drinks.

The museum is spread over two rooms, and there are exhibitions, talks, concerts, presentations of Mexican distillates, gastronomy, lectures and loads of other cultural events. One room is dedicated to tequila and mezcal, while the second celebrates and informs about the history of the Mariachi and Garibaldi Plaza.

And you know what else? We’re betting this place has the BEST gift shop in the world.

 

NATIONAL TEQUILA DAY IS HERE!

Today is a very special day that unites agave fans around the world, as it is NATIONAL TEQUILA DAY!

Yes, today is globally recognized as the day where everyone celebrates the wonders of this gorgeous beverage distilled from the leaves of the blue agave plant. And don’t forget, Mexican law states that tequila can be produced only in the state of Jaliscoand limited regions in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit andTamaulipas. Plus, did you know that Mexico is granted international right to the word “tequila”?!!

So how will we be celebrating this wonderful day? Naturally we have to do something, since we have over 100 different types of Tequila and Mezcal (and that doesn’t even include the rare tequila cabinet!)

So the plan for today is to do specials on Herencia tequila – A small batch superior quality Highland Tequila produced and aged in the traditional way by Destilería La Fortuna.

We’ll be doing £6 margaritas, tequila flights (£14 for a blanco, repo and anejo) and another special surprise cocktail for £7… watch this space!

So come enjoy Tequila Day with El Camion, and let the good times roll!

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http://www.10degreesc.com/tequila-herencia-mexicana.html

Saving Soho

We think it’s fantastic that Tim Arnold has shone a bright neon light onto one of London’s last remaining truly bohemian areas through his Save Soho campaign. Londoners are finally waking up to the realisation of what they might lose if the area continues to develop as it is.

Tim has enlisted the help of friends Benedict Cumberbatch and Stephen Fry to raise the profile of Save Soho and it has since grown bigger and bigger, attracting hoards of high-profile supporters, like Paloma Faith and Pete Townsend, who see Soho as a special place that is close to their hearts.

As a Soho independent, we know how special Soho is, and even in the last five years that we have dwelled on Brewer Street, we have seen it change fast. People flock to Soho because of its unique spirit, a spirit that inspires creativity in artists and musicians, and makes the rest of us feel at home.

El Camion is proudly part of a community in which we frequent each other’s establishments – we drink together, we dance together, we create together and we generally debauch together – and this is Soho!

Check out the good work that Tim and his pals are doing at savesoho.com.

They even persuaded Boris Johnson to sing…

Let’s raise our glasses to Soho!!!

Spotlight on: Tequila Tapatio

One of the team’s favourite tequilas at the moment is Tapatio, a tequila that has gained something of a cult status in the US. People like it because it is an excellent blanco tequila for the price, with none of the harshness that you might associate with a cheaper tequila. This ain’t one for slammin’!

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Tapatio is made by the Camarena Family at the ‘La Altena’ Distillery outside the town of Arandas in the highlands of Los Altos. This is where the best agave is grown. This hand-crafted tequila is made in the same way as it was a hundred years ago – the Tahona (a stone wheel) turns round and round in a pit, crushing the agave, before being mixed in a barrel by foot by a man up to his chest in agave juice and crushed agave fibres! It is then fermented and distilled, adding the agave fibres to the distillation. The tequila is left to settle in steel tanks for one month after distillation, and when it is finally ready it is so vibrant and bursting with flavour that it is almost like drinking it straight from the still.

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Such freshness is rare in an affordable blanco tequila. It has a real peppery spiciness on the palate and an intense agave flavour, without the unpleasant burn. The finish is long and sweet – pretty complex for a blanco.

Try it in the simplest way – straight and sipped.

Fact: Tapatio is a Mexican word for a person from Guadalajara, the capital city of Jalisco.

Tags: , , , , , | Filed under: Tequila

Dr Pink Chihuahua Answers… Why Do I Get Hangxiety?

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We’ve all woken up from a night in Soho with a fuzzy brain, drilling sensation between the ears, and mouth that’s as dry as three day old toast left in the corner of Brewer Street Car Park in a heatwave. During those hazy few hours while we’re tossing and turning in bed, half-consdiering joining the real world, many questions will pass through our minds. And while some questions can never be answered (such as why you’ve returned home minus your shoes but with two sparkly cowboy hats), Doctor Pink Chihuahua is on hand to answer some of the most pressing. This week….

Why do I get hangover paranoia after I’ve been drinking?

You know the feeling – you come to after a big night on the tequila – sometimes slowly, sometimes sitting bolt upright in bed – and you have an overwhelming feeling of terror about what we’ve said and done the night before. Did you insult someone? Send a dodgy text message? Expose yourself in some charmless way? Even if there is no evidence that you’ve sullied your name and reputation, sometimes the feeling can follow us around all day, and ‘The Fear’ is fast becoming a real FWP (First World Problem).

So why do we get this awful suffocating feeling? According to the news-hub.com…

“Alcohol both quells and heightens anxiety because of its effects on the central nervous system. Initially, drinking elicits a feeling of euphoria as the alcohol stimulates the release of serotonin. The consequence is a sedated and relaxed state; similar to one induced by anti-anxiety medication. However, once the alcohol leaves our bodies the serotonin depletes, provoking the onset of Hangxiety.”

And have you noticed that, as you get older, these feelings are increasing? This is entirely likely – older people are more susceptible to Hangxiety because they metabolise alcohol faster. And unfortunately there’s no cure, short of the usual – drink water in between drinks, pace yourself, and maybe don’t have that Jaeger at 4am ‘as a nightcap’. What we recommend? Taking photos with your mates during a night out – that way you can look back on the hilarity that ensued and lift your mood slightly, safe in the knowledge that you weren’t the only one plastered on a Wednesday night…

Introducing the El Camion team – JOSH!

We’re a friendly bunch here at El Camion, and our bar team are some of the best on the scene. So we’ve decided to introduce you to some of the staff so, next time you pop in, you know more about who’s shaking up your cocktail!

This week we chat to Josh, who’s been working at El Camion since October.

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What’s your best memory of working at El Camion so far?

There have been a fair few good memories already – going to the Altos competition for El Camion was awesome, and the Day of the Dead party was also really fun. It was just when I was starting out and we all got our faces painted like sugar skulls. Obviously it looked like everyone was wearing eye liner for the next couple of weeks because the make-up wouldn’t come off.

Ever serve anyone famous?

I haven’t personally served anyone famous that I’m aware of apart from The Cash Cows, although Nicole Scherzinger came in while I was working upstairs and I made some of the drinks for her table.

What was the first cocktail you ever learnt to make?

The first cocktail I ever learnt to make was either a Mojito or a Watermelon Martini. This was when I was working at Cuore bar and kitchen in Battersea, which has has now unfortunately closed.

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What’s your favourite thing on the El Camion menu?

I always go for the Chicken Quesadilla although when I’m feeling rich i’ll go for the chorizo quesadilla instead.

What’s your failsafe hangover cure?

Coffee and a shower will usually put me straight but if I’m feeling really rough Thai curry is always my hail mary.

What gets you up and dancing on the Pink Chihuahua tables?

I’ll dance to anything drum and bassy, and Groove Armada’s Superstylin’ is always fun too.

What’s your favourite tequila on the menu?

I’ve recently been a lot more into my mezcals but Arette Reposado and Tapatio Blanco or 110 are great and won’t break the bank.

How hot can you handle it? (Hot Sauce, that is)

I have still been fortunate enough to not have been subjected to the Mad Dog sauce yet but I like to think I can at least handle habanero. Even if it does spice me out I’ll still enjoy it!

A Mezcal Tommy’s made by Jonnie

Our Tommy’s Margarita is one of our bestselling cocktails. You guys love the sweetness of the agave syrup, which rounds the sourness of the lime and peps up the tequila kick. We’d recommend it anytime!

 

But for some time now our bar guys have been experimenting with mezcal cocktails, and fast becoming a firm favourite is the Mezcal Tommy’s.

 

Instead of 60ml of tequila, we use 60ml of Mezcal – we like to use Del Maguey Vida, a double distilled, organic, single village Mezcal that is beautiful to mix. At a slightly lower proof than Del Maguey’s other mezcals, it is smooth to drink, with the fruity flavour of the agave still very much there. Then, it’s 30ml of lime juice and instead of triple sec that you would use in a regular margarita, we use 15ml of agave syrup.

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Fill a rocks glass with ice and when all of the ingredients are in the shaker, shake!

 

Watch Jonnie shaking his Tommy’s right here:

Jonnie’s Mezcal Tommy

Then, as Jonnie just did, you strain it over the ice in your glass and add a lime wedge on the side.

 

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There you have it – a Mezcal Tommy’s! It’s everything you love in a Tommy’s Margarita but it’s smoky, woody and a little more complex – just like Jonnie. Enjoy one of these next time you visit us in The Pink Chihuahua!

 

The Origin of the Tequila Sunrise

There are a few tequila cocktails that are famous worldwide, and that we serve diligently and proudly at El Camion. The Paloma, the Margarita and, of course, the TEQUILA SUNRISE!

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So what’s in this gorgeous drink that makes us think of beaches and tropical islands? Well, it’s tequila, orange, and then a drop of grenadine, making that lovely graduated colour effect. This is where the name Tequila Sunrise comes from.

So where did it originate? People might tell you there are two possibilities, but in actuality, there are two versions of the drink.

In either the 1930s or 40s, Gene Sulit invented the ‘Tequila Sunrise’ at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. However, this recipe contained tequila, creme de cassis, lime juice and soda water. Not the delicious version we love and adore!

The more popular version that we serve was created in the early 1970s by Bobby Lazoff and Billy Rice while working as young bartenders at The Trident in Sausalito, California. At the time, this bar-restaurant-music venue was the largest outlet for tequila in the USA. And it also seemed to be the place for parties – in 1972 the Rolling Stones kicked off their American tour at a party there and Mick Jagger had a Tequila Sunrise, developed a taste for it, and then started necking them with his whole entourage. As a result they ordered them all across America. Subsequently, in 1973, Jose Cuervo realised this was an opportunity to sell more bottles and put the recipe on the label.

 

These days they’re still wildly popular, great as a long drink and with a fruity kick. Feel you haven’t had a love affair with the Tequila Sunrise yet? Come in and order one!

 

5 Mezcal Cocktails

Discovered mixing with mezcal? This beauty of a Mexican spirit adds smokiness, depth and complexity to some already awesome cocktails – it’s definitely a spirit worth experimenting with! Here are a few mezcal cocktails that will rock your cocktail-shaped world…

The Mezcal Paloma

Also known as ‘The Palomaesque Cocktail’, a creation by mixologist Scott Baird, the tequila is swapped for mezcal and fresh grapefruit juice is used, along with the sweet Italian wine, Cocchi Americano. Still thoroughly Mexican, this version of a Paloma conjures up hot, sultry Mexicano nights.

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Basil Cranberry Julep

Use mezcal instead of bourbon for this smoky version of a classic julep. The mezcal with the tart cranberry and the fragrant basil creates a heady, herbaceous concoction, which is pure summer when served with loads of crushed ice.

Maguey Sour

Shake mezcal with Benedictine, lemon juice, orgeat and egg white, pour over ice and serve with a garnish of grated nutmeg and an orange twist. This is a classically excellent mezcal cocktail, with a deliciously tart bite, which is softened by the silky egg white.

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Ginger’s Lost Island

Mezcal and ginger are an amazing firey combination. Created by Bryan Dayton, Ginger’s Lost Island comprises of mezcal mixed with cardamom, cinnamon and ginger liqueur, resulting in a bombastic marriage of flavours from Mexico and India.

Jewel of Oaxaca

Mango, lime, ancho chilli syrup… sounds awesome already? Just add some of that earthy, woody mezcal and you’ve got a tropical party in a hot tub! Strain and serve in a sexy coupe and accept that adoration that will be showered upon you.

Tags: , , , | Filed under: cocktails