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Posts Tagged: agave

Our New Product: San Cosme Mezcal

We have a delicious new addition to our famous Tequila and Mezcal collection – one that we’re very excited to be bringing to the taste-buds of Soho. Now fans of the agave plant can come and try Mezcal San Cosme – a spirit that harks back to the craftsmanship of Mexico’s pre-colonial tradition.

 

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The name Mezcal San Cosme originates from Saint Cosmas who, together with his twin brother Damian, is the Patron Saint of Doctors. The brothers both defied death on a number of occasions and miracles are often attributed to them.

Therefore, Mezcal San Cosme can be approached for its mythical, rejuvenating and historic attributes, with each sip a discovery of its complex aromas, smooth textures and smoky softness. Sound enticing? Good! Come and try some today!

Tasting Notes from the San Cosme Mezcal website
Colour:
Bright, crystalline, unctuously caressing the glass of the mezcal, reflecting the great body of San Cosme Mezcal.

Nose:
A fresh scent of cooked agave, with a strong hint of alcohol and an underlying scent of raw agave. Some hints of caramel, wood and earth.

Taste:
San Cosme feels like it gently coats the mouth, and has a flavor of smoky agave mixed with leather.

Finish:
Warm pleasant finish.

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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.

 

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

Protecting our agave

Can a bunch of bartenders save artisanal mezcal and tequila? We bet you they can!

It’s no secret that here at El Camion we love tequila and we love mezcal – two awesome spirits made from the wonders of agave. But, if the agave is not protected, what does this mean for the industry and the livelihood of the noble agave farmer?

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This informative article from PUNCH talks about TIP (Tequila Interchange Project) and how this group is influencing government policy in Mexico regarding agave production.

TIP’s story began in 2010. Five bartenders, who were originally on a trip to find out more about tequila, learned of the changing nature of the agave spirits and together, with a mezcal producer, embarked on a mission to preserve the sustainable, traditional and quality practices in the tequila industry.

Mexicans have been farming agave for hundreds and hundreds of years, and it wasn’t until the 20th century that international demand started to soar, due to a global desire for cocktails. Multinational spirits companies started buying up farms, turning them into high production facilities. The agave rush had begun – but with it came over-planting, early harvesting, diseases within the crops and lots of wastage.

Because of demand, the future does mean innovative industrial production, which, of course, risks wiping out artisanal practices that have been passed down through families for generations.

TIP have campaigned to protect small distilleries and have already stopped policies going through that would have been a threat to the traditional culture of mezcal production. Now, a thriving non-profit organisation, they comprise of bartenders, consultants, educators, researchers, consumers and tequila enthusiasts and are seen as a leading advocacy group for agave distilled spirits.

Keep updated about TIP here on their website.

@ThinkTequila

Tasting Notes – Calle 23 Reposado

You may or may not have noticed, but here at El Camion we are passionate about tequila. Which is why we endeavour to continue to update you with all news, views, and what you should choose from our fine cabinet of wonders.

 

This time we’re focusing on Calle 23 Reposado – a 100% agave tequila from the highlands of Jalisco, in the Los Altos region. It’s worth mentioning here that agave from the highlands are harvested for their fruity characteristics, whereas the lowlands of Mexico are known to yield more earthy, herbaceous and powerful flavours.

 

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So, we’ve got the fruitiness sorted – what else can you expect from Calle 23 Reposado? Well, for one thing it’s actually the creation of a frenchwoman – who is a biochemist!! Sophie Decobecq fell in love with the taste, traditions and techniques of tequila making, and decided to look into drinking her own. The aim? To create a spirit that you

 

“could drink for breakfast, lunch, dinner and goodnight cure”.

 

So, how about the taste? For one thing – let’s look at ‘Reposado’. This means that it’s aged anywhere between 60 days to a year. Calle 23 Reposado is aged for 8 months (in ex-Jack Daniels bourbon barrels, no less). The taste is wonderfully balanced, with a light sweetness from the wood that has integrated with fabulous agave flavours. There’s a lovely warm finish with a spicy tang that makes this a seductive and memorable tequila to taste!

Tequila and Mezcal – what’s the difference?

  1. Here at El Camion we’re famed for our varied and impressive tequila varieties, and are proud of our label as self-confessed tequila connoisseurs. But some of you seasoned drinkers may have been introduced to a little something on the market called mezcal. This is another popular Mexican drink that can be smooth, smoky, and has that wonderful punch. But what actually is the difference?
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Well, when it comes to the tequila and mezcal debate, one thing is important to know – all tequilas are mezcals. Basically a mezcal is any agave based liquor. So, what specific qualities make a drink tequila?

There are generally three differences:

1) Tequila and mezcal are produced in different states of Mexico (although there is slight overlap). Tequila is produced in five states, with Jalisco being the central hub – this is where the actual town of tequila is! Oaxaca is where most mezcal is produced.

  1. 2) To be labelled true tequila, the law states it can only be made with Blue Agave.  Mezcal can be made with as many of 30 varieties of agave, though most are made with the Agave Espadin – this is the most prevalent agave variety found in Oaxaca.
  2. 3) The production process of both spirits is very different, leading to a distinctly different flavour. Although they are harvested in the same way by jimadors, shaving off the leaves to leave the ‘pina’, after that its a different process of fermentation. Mezcal often has a more smoky flavour.

So there we are! Whether you’ve sampled mezcal before, or still haven’t given it a go – just come and ask our advice!

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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!

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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