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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Did You Hear The One About The Margarita On St. Patty's Day?: Patron Margarita Of The Year Event Recap and Tropicante Margarita Cocktail Recipe


It's that time of year again when green prevails and shamrocks bloom.  St. Patrick's ushers in, if not a patented Irish pride and acknowledgment, a certifiable reason to drink to one's unashamed delight.  Now while the Irish are known for their whiskies and gins, this here modern gent will toast the day with that spirit that will get me into the intoxicated mood to say "I don't care if I'm Jamaican, kiss me regardless!"  That spirit is tequila.


Now while there are many things that start a great party, one of the sure-shot party starters are tequila shots.  So when I combine festivity with the herbal rich crispness of tequila, I can't help but think that it's not a party till the Patron is popped.  How ironic that the makers of Patron also know how to throw a great party as well.  A couple weeks ago for National Margarita Day, Patron hosted a grand party on New York's Westside to introduce this year's selections for their annual Margarita Of The Year Contest while celebrating the beloved sweet and tart cocktail.  


On hand adding to the festivities of the day were the seven contenders for the contest all offering up freshly-made delicious variations inspired by a curated selection of great ingredients for their cultivated offering of a margarita.  The global spin of flavors was pretty epic from the English Garden Margarita to the Pacific Rim Margarita to the Mumbai Margarita to my personal favorite, The Tropicante Margarita which incidentally happens to fit in splendidly if honoring green is your St. Patty's thing or you just desire a pretty amazing margarita.


The Tropicante Margarita was a standout for me because of the flavor and textural harmony.  Using Patron's Reposado and Citrónage Mango, this cocktail delved into flavors involving heat, tartness, sweetness, island life that were all rounded-out by the surprising creaminess added by the fresh avocado.  

Saint Patrick's Day is this Friday, March 17.  Check out the photos from Patron's Margarita Of The Year Contest and see the recipe for the Tropicante Margarita below and with whatever you choose to imbibe in this St. Patty's Day, please remember to drink and enjoy responsibly.

TROPICANTE MARGARITA
Created by Alex Kady and served at 12 @ Madison in Denver


Ingredients
1.75 oz Patrón Reposado
.5 oz Patrón Citrónge Mango
.5 oz Light agave syrup
1 oz Fresh lime juice
.25 Medium avocado
+ Short dash celery bitters
+ Short dash grapefruit bitters
+ Chipotle chili salt* (.5 Cup of salt : 1 T chipotle powder)
+ Sliced mango for garnish

Directions
1. Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit.
2. Scoop out half of one side and add to cocktail tin, mashing with spoon until soft.
3. Add liquid ingredients to the tin, use a spoon to release avocado from the side of the tin, and “dry shake” the contents (without ice) until the avocado is broken up and emulsified.
4. Rim a double old fashioned glass with chipotle chili salt* and fill with ice.
5. Add ice to shaker tin and shake vigorously until well chilled.
6. Use a mesh strainer to “fine strain” the cocktail into the iced glass.
7. Garnish with a ribbon of mango.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Finest Hour Is Definitely Blue: Blue Hour Tequila Tasting Review


It occurs to me as I get older that there is something to the 'old and crotchety' label.  Let's clean that up a tad!  The 'more mature and comfortably set in your ways' label makes a lot of sense now.  You live life and experience what makes it good, what you will and won't tolerate and what makes it all memorable.  I'd like to pull positives out of the long-considered negatives and say that it's not about learning what is great and thinking that the whole word has to comply lest you get ornery with the world.  Rather, it more about learning what is great and sharing what you know since you are impassioned by your well-seasoned understanding that to share a good thing is more important than leaving folks uninformed in the dark.

With that said, I have discovered a simple wonderful tequila brand that I had the distinct pleasure of experiencing last week at an intimate tasting sponsored by the Barterhouse here in New York City's Flatiron neighborhood.  La Hora Azul (Blue Hour) Tequila is a fresh and exciting tequila brand that is labored over with skill and patience which ironically leaves it with a taste that is clean and almost as refreshing as water is to the parched.  
What I discovered with Blue Hour Tequila is a simple story with an extraordinary outcome.  Their agave collectors pick it at sunrise/sunset (dawn/twilight) or 'the blue hour' when temperatures, light and humidity are at the best for the plant picking.  It's this commitment at the very onset before initial distilling that inspires Blue Hour throughout it's whole tequila-making process.  It's clean and organic with a characteristic premium nod that makes it a true high-brow stand out in the muddled world of tequilas.

My first sampling was the Blanco, poured from the skillfully executed artisanal and patiently labored-over Blue Hour branded glass bottles, that was served over ice with a sprig of mint.  The youngest of the Blue Hour's trio was fresh, crisp and clean with the presence of the mint serving to add a distinctive element of herbal freshness that allowed the purity of the Blanco to shine through.  The next was the Reposado, the middleman, paired with a couple of cucumber slices. It was smoky and, while it had more depth than the Blanco, had a smooth flavor that created a pleasant lingering.  The third, and not usually my favorite, became my instant favorite with the Blue Hour offering.  Their most-seasoned Anejo was just perfect without the heaviness one would expect from an anejo and, when paired with the orange slice in the glass, was full-flavored and incredibly soothing without that  weight of a more-seasoned tequila.  This particular fact was quite remarkable as it was explained that by Mexican tequila grading standards, Blue Hour's Anejo is actually at a double-anejo grade quality.  That really lent credibility to the fact that this is a pure, untainted and honest tequila that in my opinion undeniably placed it at the forefront of noteworthy and top shelf tequilas that should be housed by more establishments in creating a proper and ideal tequila flavor profile for tequila connoisseurs.  

What I was also very glad to be introduced to was the pairing of the Blue Hour Tequilas with fine chocolates.  At first, my skepticism got the better of me, but my flame for tequila and love affair with chocolate had quickly turned my skepticism into intrigue.  On hand at the event was Milène Jardine Chocolatier offering simply amazing artisanal chocolate truffles that when paired with the clean Blue Hour Tequilas became a sweet, exotic, palette-cleansing decadence that offered up a new dessert profile for after-dinner or occasions.  Sourcing inspiration from international cuisines, Milène Jardine Chocolatier has flavors like Sanctuary, a ginger, turmeric and black pepper truffle inspired from Japan/India, Goddess, a hibiscus and mint truffle inspired by Egypt and Serenity, a whiskey and sea salt truffle inspired by Ireland.  

An extremely fine tequila that you'll just want to keep streamlined with minimal garnishes to preserve the flavor and fine chocolate truffles that are as labored over, rich and thought-out as the unleaded approach to the tequila sums up this tasting.  The result of one is purity and the result of the other is decadence.  A match made in heaven.   Blue Hour Tequila is becoming more readily available at your finer restaurants.  Please visit BlueHourTequila.com for more information and cocktail recipes and visit www.MileneJardine.com to experience those decadent truffles and as always please remember to drink and enjoy responsibly.