With August fully in the rearview mirror, I can now say that this blog has officially started into its second year. Looking back there’s a lot to reflect upon and a lot to be thankful for. In the past year, I’ve been invited to sit as a judge at two tasting events, been exposed to numerous brands that were not available in retail stores here in Texas, and most importantly, met a lot of wonderful people that I would not have met were it not for tequilatracker.com. Some of those wonderful people are brand owners and aficionados and their passion for the agave is infectious. Even more amazing to me is their genuine desire to share their stories, insights and knowledge with anyone willing to listen. These are the people that make tequila the unique spirit that it is and I thank them for their willingness to share and educate those of us willing to learn.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to touch on or update a couple subjects I’ve mentioned previously or not yet had the chance to pass along before now…
El Viejo Luis
Back in November, I wrote a piece about El Viejo Luis and noted that they had an añejo that was still resting in barrels and to start looking for it in 2011. This past spring, the añejo hit the retail store shelves. I picked up a bottle and I’m duly impressed. A warm, buttery aroma mixed with a mild alcohol attack was my introduction to this fairly dark, amber-colored juice. Once in the mouth, the balance of agave and wood tends to lean to the wood side, but not in the sense that the oak is over-powering. Aged in new American oak for 18 months, the initial bourbon-like notes transitioned to subdued agave and spiciness as the juice warmed in my mouth. Altogether enjoyable and with a price point of about $35, this is a tasty tequila that can be enjoyed as both a sipper as well as a mixer, especially for those that enjoy a heartier margarita or paloma.
Marketing Tequila Through Food – the Camarena Taco Truck
Back in July, the Camarena Taco Truck made a near-month long visit to the Austin area. For the uninitiated, Camarena is a relatively new tequila brand backed by the wine giant Gallo and being made by one of the family lines of the Camarena’s, the most famous of which are Felipe and Carlos, whose creations include Tapatio, Ocho, El Tesoro and Trago. They have taken a unique approach to marketing their brand by taking it directly to the streets through food. The company has put together a couple of now-trendy food trucks that move around the country. In each of the cities that the truck visits, a local chef prepares a menu of taste-sized foods that have been infused with the company’s tequila. This menu is prepared on the truck as brand ambassadors talk to the people in line about the tequila itself. This is an interesting and unique way to market a product and create interest as well as name recognition without actually providing a real sample of the tequila to taste.
The menu for the Austin visit was prepared by Chef Julio-Cesar Florez of La Sombra Bar & Grill and included:
- Taco de Barbacoa (shredded beef, roasted Guajillo chili salsa, fried sweet plantains, tequila marinated cabbage and esquite)
- Cochinita Pibil (banana leaf roasted pulled pork with pickled red onions and a roasted pineapple habanero chile tequila salsa)
- Anticucho de Pollo (grilled chicken skewer with tequila lime glaze and salsa huancaina)
- Taco de Hongos (sautéed mushrooms, onions & tomatoes with chipotle orange tequila salsa)
- Buñuelos (Mexican style beignets with powdered sugar and a tequila cajeta sauce)
To be honest, I didn’t know what most of the food on the menu was. Luckily, I had my food expert wife along and she filled me in. I opted for the Anticucho de Pollo while she went with the Cochinita Pibil and both were excellent. I can’t tell you how much of an influence the tequila infusion had on the overall taste, nor can I talk much about the tequila itself since I have not had the opportunity to give it a full tasting. What I can say, however, is that if the Camarena Taco Truck happens to make a visit to your town, I’d suggest paying it a visit just for the food alone.
To all of you that take the time to read the pieces I post here, thank you! I plan to continue bringing the stories of the people behind the brands whenever and wherever I can. This educational journey is long and never-ending and I want to include and share as much of it as I can through these postings. I hope you will continue to follow me as tequilatracker.com moves into its sophomore year. ¡Salud!