"Well, hello there, young man. Whatcha got there?"
Those were the words that country legend George Strait offered my way Monday evening at Perry's Steakhouse Memorial City, site of a media gathering to hail the launch of the new Código 1530 Tequila, in which Sir George is an investor. Strait was referring to the camera gear hanging around my neck and lighting contraptions I was carrying. Now, rarely do I ever get star-struck, but when the King of Country Music asks you an unexpected question, you struggle to find any words for a response.
"Oh, these are my pictures, I mean my photos, I mean my cameras, sir. I'd like to take a photo with you, and of you, please?" I stuttered. Real smooth...Nailed it! Well, at least the photos came out okay.
Besides not wearing his signature cowboy hat, Mr. Strait was exactly as imagined: kind, strong and regal. From his handshake to his voice to his piercing green-gray eyes, he was a complete professional and welcoming at the same time.
As the room settled in for the tequila tasting, we were offered The Strait Paloma, the newest signature drink available at Bar 79 inside Perry's Steakhouse & Grille. A traditional Mexican Paloma is a tequila-based cocktail mixed with grapefruit-flavored soda and lime juice. Here is the signature recipe:
1.5 oz Código 1530 Blanco
.5 oz Sour Mix
.25 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Blood Orange Puree
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
.5 oz Agave Nectar
1 oz Topo Chico Saborés Grapefruit Soda
Scanning the room, I noticed many familiar faces in the crowd. The most prominent were the array of news anchors and weathermen, including Rita Garcia (Fox 26), Shern-Min Chow (KHOU), Tom Koch (ABC 13) and David Paul (KHOU). All were excited to meet Mr. Strait, as well as sample his top-shelf tequila.
Federico "Fede" Vaughan, Código CEO and co-founder, introduced the crowd to the brand, which was traditionally a private stock of tequila available only for close friends and family. Fans of the tequila, who include his amigo George, pushed to make the spirit available to the general public.
"Normally, when we think of tequila, we shoot it and try to drown out the taste with a lime as soon as you can," said Strait as we sipped on our cocktails. "Código is not like that at all."
That much was certainly true. As I sipped on the reposado on the rocks, I kept waiting for the distinctive bite one expects while drinking tequila, but it never materialized. In its place was a clean, smooth and clear taste down the palate. The añejo was a bit stronger and harsher, but the Origen (their ultra añejo) was by far the best. It was extraordinarily smooth, much like an aged Scotch or premium whiskey.
Vaughan continued to convey details about their tequila, like how the water used is purified through volcanic rock and the agave was naturally growing. The product is then aged in French white oak Napa cabernet barrels. One of the more innovative bottles is the Código Rosa, which is the first pink tequila I've ever tasted. It was silky smooth and light, with a pleasant finish.
"We strive to be the best, not the biggest," he added.
If only the best is good enough for George Strait, we predict a successful run for Código 1530. We check "YES" on this note.
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