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Posts Categorised: Pink Chihuahua

Tequila – You’re doing it all wrong.

You know the drill. It gets to that certain part of the evening and someone thinks it’s a good idea to order a tequila. A round of shots appear – you might protest at first – but then one goes down and that’s it – you’ve got the Flava! Lick the salt, do the shot, then suck on a slice of lime. It’s tradition.

But actually, it has absolutely no rooting in Mexican culture. They would never approach tequila (particularly quality, 100% agave tequila) but banishing the taste with citrus. And while some of them will take a pinch of salt after eating something especially spicy to neutralise the flavour, the salt n lime combo is most definitely something invented by Americans.

There is an apparent bit of history associated with the practise, that dates back to the 1930s. After an epidemic of Spanish Influenza hit Mexico then certain doctors prescribed the medicine of tequila with salt and lemon – they thought these additions would help the body absorb the tequila ore quickly and therefore hurry along the ‘remedy’. This was know as ‘tequila cruda’.

However, it is commonly known that now people only slam down salt and lemon when they’re shooting cheap tequila – and one should only ever do this with blanco tequila. Anything else and you’ll be masking the great taste and wasting your money!

El Camion Turns 5!

This month El Camion celebrates its 5th birthday! It’s crazy to think we have been rustling up burritos and shaking margaritas to the hungry and thirsty Soho public for half a decade now. Considered an industry local, a party den or simply the place to chow down on nachos like nobody’s watching, we will be celebrating our 5th birthday in style very soon. There will be tequila.

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In the mean time, here’s a look back at our 5 years on Brewer Street in reviews.

2010 – A Hedonist’s Guide To…

‘This is an after-work joint for local industry insiders (for whom work finishes at midnight) who know to stick with perfectly crafted cocktails, and that the best secret party is hidden in the arse-end of Soho.’

http://www.hg2london.com/bars/bodega/—dicks-at-el-camion—london-uk

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2011 – The Cocktail Lovers

‘This is a lovely, friendly good time bar. Better still everything about enjoying cocktails in London just gets so very much better knowing that Dick Bradsell is around and doing his stuff.’

http://www.thecocktaillovers.com/2011/08/baja-room-el-camion-soho-w1/

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2012 – London On The Inside

‘With decent grub, super cocktails and quirky decor you could easily whittle away your pay packet here and we’ll definitely be giving it a go.’

http://londontheinside.com/2012/07/23/review-el-camion/

 

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2013 – Londonist

‘If you’re up for a dance, Mexican vibes and a damn good time, head to The Pink Chihuahua (‘Dick’s Bar’), quite possibly the friendliest bar in Soho, with warm welcomes and staff with a talent for remembering names and favourite drinks.’

http://londonist.com/2013/10/where-to-get-a-drink-after-midnight-in-london.php

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2014 – I’m A Londoner

‘El Camion has something else up its sleeves; a Mexican restaurant menu that has kept loyal fans flocking straight back over the years to Brewer Street. It seems to have survived, almost solely, off a word-of-mouth trade on the competitive streets of gastro Soho. The long and short of it is: those who like it, love it.’

http://imalondoner.com/el-camion-mexicano-soho/

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2015 – Difford’s Guide

‘In the basement, below Sage Conran’s excellent Mexican restaurant you’ll find the Pink Chihuahua, a basement bar which is often presided over by bartending legend, Dick Bradsell.’

http://www.diffordsguide.com/pubs-and-bars/370/london/the-pink-chihuahua-at-el-camion

Difford's Guide review

Delicious Batidas at El Camion!

Batidas aren’t something you’ll find on every cocktail menu, which is a shame because they are damn tasty. They are also noted as a good remedy to cure a fiery stomach if you’ve been on the sauce the night before. Sweet, creamy and blended with ice, Batidas are a treat of a cocktail – and that’s why we’ve dedicated a whole section of our menu to them.

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Batida means ‘shake’ in Spanish and typically refers to a milkshake. In Portuguese it means the same, except when referring to a road accident, where it is usually used to describe a car crash. Not to confuse (or mix) the two.

A drink originating from Brazil, Batidas are made with Brazil’s national spirit, cachaça – which can be replaced with vodka where cachaça is not available, but that would be a little like sacrilege. Cachaça is known as Brazilian rum, as, like rum, it is made from fresh sugar cane juice that is fermented and distilled.

The cachaça is mixed with fruit juice or coconut milk, cane sugar and, ideally, condensed milk to make it creamier, and then blended with ice. It is served in a tall glass. With an umbrella if you like.

An umbrella always looks good

An umbrella always looks good

At El Camion we use Sagatiba Cachaça, an ultra-premium silver cachaça that has a smooth sweetness, making it perfect for cocktails. The sugar cane used is hand-selected in fields near the Sao Paulo distillery and is pressed within 24 hours of cutting. Fresh spring water is added and it is then distilled five times, resulting in a clean, sweet spirit. The tasting notes are at first sugary and intoxicating, then mellow out into velvety, caramel flavours.

Sagatiba Cachaça

Sagatiba Cachaça

Our Batida menu:
Coconut Batida

Sagatiba Cachaca, cane sugar, coconut cream and condensed milk. Blended.

Strawberry Batida

Sagatiba Cachaca, cane sugar, strawberry and condensed milk. Blended.

Passionfruit Batida

Sagatiba Cachaca, cane sugar, passion fruit puree and condensed milk. Blended.

Pineapple Batida

Sagatiba Cachaca, cane sugar, fresh pineapple and condensed milk. Blended.

Peach Batida

Sagatiba Cachaca, cane sugar, peach liqueur and condensed milk. Blended.

The El Camion Tequila Appreciation Society

Here at El Cam we believe tequila should be savoured and treated with a certain deference – it’s not all about the salt n’ lemon shots, you know! There are so many different varieties and nuances to this Mexican spirit that good tequila should be appreciated – and we’re here to help you do that. We sell over 80 different tequilas, and over 30 different mezcals. So next time you’re trying a new tequila, experiment with Part One of these Tasting Tips:

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Sight:

 

Tequila should be served in a clear glass so you can get a good view of the colour of your spirit. The best way to establish the true colour is by looking straight into the centre of the glass when it is held against something white. You can find out the tequila’s body by tilting the glass and seeing how it clings to the side, much as with tasting wine for its ‘legs’.

 

It is important to remember that sometimes Gold (Oro) Tequilas are artificially coloured with caramel colouring, while some of the finest aged Reposado, Añejo and Extra Añejo Tequilas acquire a golden colour from the wooden barrels in which they age.

 

 

Smell:

 

Firstly, smell the tequila while the glass is still, to get a first impression. Next, gently swirl the liquid in the glass so that the aroma is enhanced by increased surface area. You can taste tequila from three different angles, and it’s important to use your sense of smell on each. See if you can recognise these scents:

 

  • Lower rim, closest to mouth: a vey strong scent of alcohol
  • The centre of the glass: spices, honey, vanilla, or any other ingredients that have been used to cure the barrel.
  • Inside rim, furthest from mouth: usually the most authentic smell, removed from the alcohol scent – try and notice the woody taste from the barrel.

 

So, has this encouraged you to come and try some new tequila?! It certainly makes us want to give more a go! Tune into the next El Camion blog on Friday to learn how to make the most of Touch and Taste

El Camion’s Top Cocktails

Not only do we make the best Mexican fare in town, but we’re a dab hand at mixing cocktails too, with some of London’s most talented bartenders at the shaker. When you’re out for dinner, enjoy scanning your eye over our cocktail menu, where we use premium spirits with inventive ingredients to bring something fresh and innovative to the palate.

Take a peek at some of the most popular cocktails here at El Camion.

Tommy’s Margarita

One of BarChick’s faves, we mix Altos tequila with agave syrup, bringing a sweet agave kick to your classic margarita. Shaken with fresh lime juice and served on the rocks, this is a zesty taste of the Mexican party spirit.

Margarita

 

Pink Chihuahua

So good we named our members bar after it. Or did we name it after our members bar? What came first – the chicken or the egg? Altos tequila shaken with lime juice and almond syrup is delicious enough, creating a fruity, tart concoction. The addition of fresh pomegranate juice mellows the flavour and gives it its beautiful rose hue and, with a topping of shaken egg white, the texture is smooth, silky and completely moreish.

Pink chihuahua

Espresso Martini

The world-famous Espresso Martini was invented by none other than our cocktail aficionado, Dick. Wyborowa Vodka with fresh espresso, Tia Maria, Kahlua, and a dash of sugar is the answer to your prayers when you’re feeling a little less than party. Served straight up in a martini glass, it tastes like strong coffee with notes of chocolate and the texture is smooth and frothy.

Espresso martini

 

Also give these two a try:

Chilli-pina-rita

Another one of Dick’s creations, the Chilli-pina-rita is as exotic as it sounds. Altos Blanco Tequila is given a tropical hit with fresh pineapple spears, pineapple syrup and lime juice. Fresh red chillies bring a fiery dimension to it, awaking those tastebuds and delivering a helpful swift boot to your metabolism. Fresh, vibrant and spicy, it’s a great pre-dinner choice.

El Diablo

A favourite with those who like their cocktails how they like their dancing: fresh and fruity. Altos tequila mixed with lime juice and ginger ale, then topped with crème de cassis. Served long over ice, it is the taste of summer, whatever season we’re in.

Sangrita, You Say?!

As a house policy we don’t serve tequila with salt and lime. Instead we serve a homemade red sangrita, made with fresh pomegranate juice and hot sauces. All our tequilas are made from 100% agave and are some of the finest tequilas coming out of Mexico – we don’t want to sully them with salt!

 

Sangrita

 

Don’t confuse sangrita with sangria, though. Sangrita, meaning ‘little blood’, is a customary companion to a shot of straight tequila and is traditionally made from leftover juices (like orange and lime), pomegranate, fine pepper powder and spices. Its peppery, citrus taste compliments the tequila, also peppery and citrusy in taste, and highlights the tequila’s crisp acidity.

 

Tequila and sangrita

 

Traditionally, sangrita and tequila are poured into separate shot glasses and sipped alternatively, so that the sangrita cleanses the palate between each sip. We won’t judge you, however, if you decide to chase your shot of tequila with the sangrita. It’s more fun that way. It’s also used in a drink known as ‘The Mexican Flag’, where three separate double shot glasses are filled with lime juice, tequila and sangrita.

 

Mexican flag

 

Make your own sangrita!

A basic traditional recipe:

1 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 to 1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 oz. real pomegranate-based grenadine
1/4 tsp. ancho chile powder or 3 dashes hot sauce
1-2 slices jalapeño

OR… just pour the juices left over from a fruit salad into a cup, along with some hot sauce, chilli powder, pepper and pomegranate juice, mix it altogether and there you have it – a traditional slap-dash sangrita, the way it was meant to be. Now onto choosing the tequila…

An introduction to mezcal – Del Maguey

Mezcal – have you given it a go yet? If you’re a staunch fan of tequila then it’s high time you expanded your horizons and embraced the other Mexican spirit that we love.

We’ve already gone into the difference between mezcal and tequila here, and now let us introduce you to one of our house pours – Mezcal Del Maguey1056744x.

 

There is a delicious smokey earthiness to Del Maguey – this is in part due to the way it is produced. With tequila, the agaves are baked or roasted in autoclaves. However, in traditional mezcal, they are smoked in earth pits called “huecos.”

 

Del Maguey is a great introduction to the spirit, as it has lovely citrus notes, layered with the pepper and smoke that good mezcal imparts. It is hand crafted and twice distilled, very slowly in small wood-fired, riverside copper stills.

 

When trying, expect to find a nose of fruit aromatics, with a hint of sweet honey, vanilla and then the delicious roast agave. The taste merges ginger, cinnamon and burnt sandlewood, along with fruits from banana to tangerine. The finish is long and soft, making it not only make it a delicious drink to sip, but it has huge versatility in cocktails.

Spotlight On: Olmeca Tezón Tequila

  1. Olmeca Tezón is one of our premium tequilas, made from 100% Agave. A product of the Olmeca family, who produce their tequila in the highlands of Jalisco in Mexico, Olmeca Tezón takes its name from the indigenous volcanic mineral, known locally as Tezontle, which the traditional Tahona wheel press is made from.
  2. Olmeca Tezón tequila 
  3. The Tahona milling method dates back over 500 years and involves an enormous two tonne millstone crushing the Agave piñas into a pulp. Only a few other producers of Tequila currently use this method of milling – it is three times more time consuming than modern methods and produces around 6% more wastage. So, a lot of time and love goes into each bottle! The sweet juice extracted from the Tahona is called Tahona Liquid, of which a percentage is integrated into the fermentation and distillation process of all Olmeca Tequilas. Olmeca Tezón is the only one, however, that contains 100% of the Tahona Liquid.There are three types of Olmeca Tezón on our Tequila menu – Blanco, Reposado and Añejo.

    Blanco (Silver)

    Unaged and bottled after distillation, this clear, crystalline tequila has a light and clean herbal scent and tastes of citrus fruits with hints of honey, vanilla and spice with a pleasant, lingering finish. This is one sexy, sophisticated tequila!

  4. Olmeca Tezón blanco
  5. Reposado (Aged)

    Its brilliant gold colour is obtained from the American white oak casks, that were formally used to age Wild Turkey Bourbon. Aged and for 8-10 months, it has mandarin and lime notes, with a woody finish. The taste is spicy with a vanilla richness, mixed with grapefruit and orange flavours, leaving a sweet, smoky trace.

  6. Tezón Reposado
  7. Añejo (Extra Aged)

    For the connoisseurs among us, Tezón Añejo has been aged slowly for between 18 and 20 months and is ripe, full-bodied with a robust smoky bouquet that stirs the senses. It has a rich butterscotch and vanilla palate, with notes of orange peel, sea salt and oak, thanks to those ex-Wild Turkey Bourbon casks, and a long finish

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  9. Tezón Añejo

If you’re interested in trying something different, we have a full tequila menu with tasting notes and our bar staff will happily chat with you about the unique tequilas we have in stock. Better get exploring!

Read All About It! Recent Press for El Camion

As a staple on the soho circuit for many years, we’ve had our fair share of reviews. But it seems that we are still hitting the headlines!

This month, we were featured on Best Bars as one of the UK’s best bars for debauchery. Well, it was about time someone rumbled us. Check us out along with the other 14 here:

Best Bars – The UK’s 15 Best Bars for Debauchery

 

We also managed to get ourselves into the Evening Standard, mentioned as ‘the perfect place to meet for a naughty drink’. We didn’t know we had such a reputation!

The Evening Standard – Sex Mex

 

 

If you would like to write an article or a review of El Camion or the Pink Chihuahua Bar, send us an email at info@elcamion.co.uk