Meditations

Tasting Tequila with Don Julio


don julio Far too many people still think of tequila as something to be shot back, followed by the requisite lime, salt and shudder, as evidenced by the raised eyebrows I got when I told people I was going to a tequila tasting. But Don Julio was in town along with world-renowned mixologist and brand rep Brian Van Flandern and they were hosting a party at Pacific Goldfish Kitchen in Yaletown. That’s not to say that there weren’t also shots – I think as soon as we got there we tossed back a shot of blanco followed by limes rolled in black pepper and Angostura bitters – but after sampling a few signature cocktails, we retired to the back room to get into the good stuff.

4115514408_a1f6a828be_o To be a true tequila, the liquor must be made with agave and, like champagne or sherry, must come from the specific regions in Mexico. Starting with the aforementioned blanco – an un-aged, unrefined tequila -  there are several classifications of the spirit. Blanco is aged less than 2 months and reposado is aged from 2 months to a year. Joven or Oro tequila falls in between and comes from blending blanco with older tequilas and usually also has caramel colouring added to it. The ubiquitous Jose Cuervo on every counter at every house party falls into this category. Añejo is aged 1 – 3 years and Extra Añejo just goes up from there. We headed into the back room to taste the full Don Julio range; from the rugged blanco to the mellower reposado (aged 8 months) and getting into the sipping tequilas with the the rich añejo. These are good consumer grade tequilas, but the favorites then came out, with the 1942 and the Real.  Notes of vanilla and caramel in the 1942, chocolate flavours in the Real and silky smoothness in both. The Real is the oldest añejo in Mexico and the years of refinement show.

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