Tequila’s are hard to make well, which is what makes this not-so-easy-drinker such a good find which explains why I know a great many weaklings who avoid particular liquors due to traumas endured in the past years, but I am made of unsympathetic, thirstier stuff and hold no such grudges. Truth be told – without coming across as a drunkard of sorts – booze and I developed a strong bond from the start, and though it’s possible that some dark day this or that peach syrup will trigger a recovered memory of shame and vomit, on principle I’ll drink whatever you put in front of me. This includes the most commonly cited bogeybooze: cheap tequila.
By cheap I mean tequila that isn’t 100 percent blue agave. Seems any fermented and distilled spirit from the right part of Mexico can call itself tequila if it’s made of 51 percent blue agave. I’m no purist, and the zero-proof agave nectar the bar snobs hounded me into buying last year doesn’t tickle me in a particularly fancy way, so I began my tequila exploration optimistic that I could find a good mixed-breed for just under R200. I was wrong.
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I remain convinced that one could add any number of worthy organic compounds to agave to produce a spirit nice enough to drink naked, but I am no longer confident that anyone actually does. Tequila producers are understandably reluctant to disclose exactly what their other “natural flavors” are, but my research suggests that mutton, canned cheese, and tomato sauce (not All Gold) are among the more popular agave-stretchers.
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Jose Cuervo gets most of the credit for convincing first time drinkers that tequila is nasty. I have no qualms with this arrangement, because until my student loans were paid off I had no business knowing that Hennessy and co is so costly. My only beef with Cuervo is that for a rather entry level tequila, it’s not very cheap. A 750ml bottle of Jose Cuervo Silver at my liquor store runs at R179. One of my favorite bartenders, Moses from KEG, drinks his Jose Silver while his awesome coworker KB big-times it with Jose Cuervo Gold, but we’ll get to that in 2019 when I’m finally promoted to the “Drinking the Top Shelf” beat—which also goes for R179, so I got some of that too from the awesome guys at Jose Cuervo SA.
Needless to say, I was excited to get my hands on Jose. The silver offers pleasant aromas of fresh and clean agave, spicy black pepper finishing warm and smooth after it opens up. In the mouth it starts with the smooth, silky clear flavour and ends with a fiery pepper finish. Delicious! I haven’t tried Jose Cuervo Gold yet – because, my weak liver – but based on the quality and consistency of the rest of the lineup, we fully expect it will live up to our expectations.