To Shoot or to Sip
If my recollection is correct, the bar scene in Manila was buzzing with the tequila craze during the mid to late 1990s. The tequila ritual of “lick, sip, suck’’ was just being introduced, and the world’s largest tequila brand, Jose Cuervo was at the forefront of this brilliant promotion locally. The tequila ritual of “lick, sip, suck’’, or probably more appropriate as “lick, shoot, suck’’ is also known as the tequila cruda. The ritual involves licking the back of your hand near the index finger, putting salt on it, then licking the salt, shooting down the straight tequila and then sucking into the sliced lemon. The idea was for salt to reduce the alcohol “burn’’ of the tequila and lime to add flavor as a pseudo-“chaser’’. To make this more interesting (to say the least), Jose Cuervo back then would hire promo-girls to initiate this ritual with bar customers. The very game promo girls would willingly be participants themselves. These promo girls, who were in sexy outfits and fully made-up, would place salt on their necks for testosterone-charged male customers to lick from, then after shooting the tequila, the final reward for these guys was to suck the lemon slice placed in the tip of the lips of the promo girl. Other variations or “body shots’’ also came from this same concept with tequila. This was quite taboo then, but it surely got tequila the “sexual’’ tag the product was popularly or even notoriously known for in its sudden emergence. While this tequila ritual is still very much prevalent, the ones used for this style of drinking is more applicable to harsher and much cheaper tequilas known in tequila classification as the “mixtos’’ (to be explained below).
Tequila as a controlled Demarcated Region
Much like wines with its AOC, DOC and other regional classifications, tequila is really no different. Tequila is a specific regional name for a distilled spirit made from the blue agave plant (agave tequilana weber azul), in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, in the Mexican state of Jalisco. The agave plant has resemblance to the head of a pineapple or even an aloe vera plant because of its spiky leaves, though these leaves are cut to get to the heart or what is called the piña of the plant (it looks like a pinecone), which is where tequila comes from. The piña can weigh up to around 50kgs or 110 pounds, while the agave plant itself can grow up to 2 meters in height. The major difference however is unlike varietal grapes for wines that are harvested annually, once a blue agave plant is harvested it is for one time use only. And it takes an agave plant 8-10 years to mature after planting before the piña of the plant can be utilized to make tequila. Being a huge Mexican export, an official agency, the Consejo Regulador del Tequila, A.C.(or CRT) - which is patterned after more established wine & spirits regulatory councils, watched over the tequila quality standards.
Tequilas are classified under either: 1. Mixtos (mixed), tequila made with use of no less than 51 percent agave, with other fermentable sugars making up the remainder; or 2. 100 percent Agave (self-explanatory). Only those made from 100 percent agave can claim in the label the term 100 percent blue agave, as against those that simply says “made with blue agave’’.
There are 4 General Categories:
• Plata (silver) or Blanco (white): this is the pure white spirit, usually un-aged and bottled or stored immediately after distillation; other tequila producers age their Plata tequila for less than two months in stainless steel or neutral oak barrels;
Platas are used for cocktails, like popular tequila concoctions margarita and tequila sunrise
• Oro (gold) or Joven (means ‘‘young’’): this is the Plata tequila that is colored gold from the added caramel flavor
• Reposado (literally means “rested’’): the white spirit is aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels
• Añejo (literally means “aged’’): the white spirit is aged a minimum of one year, but normally less than three years in small oak barrels
There is actually a fifth category declared by the CRT, the Extra Añejo, that requires minimum three years of aging, but we do not see this much here. As you may have guessed, the cheapest tequilas would be the Plata Mixtos, and the most expensive would be the Añejo or Extra Añejo 100 percent Blue Agave tequilas.
Launch of Casa Noble
According to the reliable industry statistics bible, Impact Databank, the premium tequila market, all made from 100 percent blue agave, is on the rise worldwide, with close to 10 percent increase in volumes, as against a regressing general mixto tequila volume. This comes with very aggressive marketing from luxury high profile brands like Hollywood-leaning Patron. Another brand also in this mix is the Casa Noble, who counts among its owners, the legendary Mexican singer Carlos Santana. Casa Noble’s claim to fame is it has been touted as the best tasting tequila in the world. Casa Noble recently made its foray into the Philippine market with its formal launch at the newly opened Sage, in Shangri-La Makati. Our good friend Edwin Ong of Global Noble International Corp. has been appointed the exclusive Philippine importer and distributor of this ultra premium 100 percent blue agave tequila brand. Prominent metrosexual personality Tim Yap has been taken in as Casa Noble Tequila’s brand Ambassador.
Now, patrons of premium tequila have another choice of brand to enjoy sipping …. and not to lick, shoot and suck. For inquires on Casa Noble Tequila, please contact Global Noble at (02) 714 2115.
Lao,S. (2014, April 1).To shoot or to sip. Manila Standard Today. Retrieved from http://manilastandardtoday.com/2014/04/01/to-shoot-or-to-sip-/