Sylvia Casares of Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen recently hosted a Winter Tequila Festival. Three tequila brands were represented: Riazul, Cavalino and Dulce Vida, and each offered up samples of their Blanco, Reposado, and Anejo varieties. Sylvia was on hand with delicious nibbles like taquitos, guacamole, and fajita nachos, to ensure tasters remained upright.
I was familiar with Dulce Vida tequila, and though the bottling has changed, the sweet agave beverage remained as smooth and potent (100 proof) as ever. I was unfamiliar with Cavalino, and after a few sips of their remarkably drinkable Blanco, I could tell the brand would have staying power. The bottle was different from many of the modern styles and featured a very masculine portrait of a galloping stallion riding across the desert plains, which fit well with the taste of the tequila -- strong and smooth with plenty of agave taste, minus the harsh hangover-inducing burn. It was good stuff.
Finally, I moved on to the Riazul. Riazul boasts 100 percent blue agave tequila, and you can immediately taste that it's a quality product. My tequila test is to drink the Blanco slowly. If you can swallow the un-aged version of the product without wincing, you have a decent product on your hands. Such was the case with the Riazul.
The Reposado was definitely a winner, but it was the Anejo that was really something different. The Anejo is aged for two years in French Oak barrels, imparting a distinctly smoky hue to the tequila. It is a beverage to be savored slowly, and has lovely notes of vanilla and caramel. Interestingly enough, I most enjoyed the Cavalino Blanco, the Dulce Vida Reposado, and the Riazul Anejo. Perhaps I was born with an intrinsically democratic palate.
If you want to host your own Tequila Festival at home, whip up a batch of guacamole and try out this recipe from Riazul.
- 2 oz Riazul Premium Silver Tequila
- ½-3/4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- 6 oz grapefruit soda
- 2 pinches salt
Fill a Collins glass with ice. Squeeze in the juice of half a small lime. Sprinkle with salt. Add tequila. Fill with soda. Stir, and sprinkle with more salt before serving.
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