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Archive for July 24, 2017

HOLIDAY: Tequila Trivia For National Tequila Day

Caballito & Margarita Glass
[1] The two special tequila glasses: caballito and Margarita (photo courtesy El Jimador).

Watermelon Cocktail
[2] A tequila-watermelon cocktail. The recipe is below (photo courtesy Milagro Tequila).
Blue Agave Pinas

[3] After harvesting, piñas are roasted in a stone oven (photo courtesy Casa Noble Tequila).

Pulque

[4] Pulque: what the Aztecs drank before the conquistadors taught them how to distill (photo courtesy Mexico News Network).

 

July 24th is National Tequila Day. How about some tequila trivia?

THE AGAVE PLANT

  • The Blue Weber agave plants used to make tequila are pollinated by bats. They flower only once.
  • While the agave plant looks like a cactus, it is a succulent in the lily family.
  • The leaves of agave are so sharp that they are used as cutting instruments.
  • A blue agave plant matures in 6-12 years and weighs 90 to 150 pounds. The piña itself (photo #3) weighs from 25 to 50 pounds.
  • The piña is the part of the plant used to make tequila, and gets its name because it looks like a pineapple (piña in Spanish). It grows underground. It looks like a pineapple, so is called a pia.
  • The person who harvests the piña is called a jimador (HEE-ma-dor), which derives from the verb gemir, to groan with effort.
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    THE TEQUILA

  • The nectar of the piña is called pulque (PULL-kay, photo #4). The Aztecs fermented the sap from the leaves of the maguey agave. It was drunk by people of rank during religious ceremonies.
  • Pulque remained popular until the late 19th century. Its sales declined in favor of beer, which was brewed by European immigrants.
  • The conquistadors, who arrived in 1519, taught the Aztecs how to distill agave into a spirit, now known as tequila.
  • There are four legally authorized expressions (categories) of tequila: blanco, reposado, añejo and extra añejo. Laws dictate the minimum and maximum aging period for each. Here are details.
  • For marketing purposes, some premium producers have created “hybrid” tequilas with new names, e.g., barrel select reserve blanco; or have created extra-extra aged tequila marketed which may be called, e.g. 5 years aged tequila, or El Magnifico. These are names bestowed by the distillery, not by law.
  • The longer it ages, the more flavors it develops and the darker it gets. Blancos, which are clear, can be aged for a few weeks for complexity, but so briefly that they don’t take on color.
  • The worm in the bottle (which is the larva of a moth) is not placed into tequila bottles, but into some mezcal bottles. These are cheaper, “tourist souvenir” mezcals, not quality brands.
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    DRINKING TEQUILA

  • The taste of tequila comes partially from its aging time in white oak barrels, but also from the volcanic soil of the Jalisco region, which imparts a spicy, earthy quality.
  • The traditional way to drink tequila is from a tall, narrow shot glass called a caballito (photo #1), which means little horse. Another name for the glass is tequilito, little tequilashots.
  • When drinking shots, the wedge of lemon or lime provided is to refresh the palate between drinks.
  • FLore has it that tequila shots cause fewer hangovers than cocktails with sugar, but this isn’t so. The alcohol hangover is caused by the dehydration effect from the alcohol itself.
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    TEQUILA SALES

  • Tequila was first imported to the U.S. in 1873. It remained a niche product until Mexican restaurants began to open up outside of California and the Southwest, in the 1960s.
  • The United States is the largest tequila consuming market (yes, even more than Mexico).
  • Almost half of the tequila is drunk by women (which may owe thanks to regular and frozen Margaritas).
  • The Margarita is the number one cocktail in the U.S., per The Spirits Business.
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    OK, you’ve earned your drink. Happy National Tequila Day!

     
    RECIPE: TEQUILA-WATERMELON COCKTAIL

    If you are multiplying this recipe, consider pulsing the watermelon in a blender instead of muddling.

     
    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 2 ounces blanco/silver tequila
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice
  • 4 one-inch cubes fresh watermelon or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • Garnish: 3 watermelon balls on a pick or notched cucumber slice on the rim
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    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE the watermelon and agave in a mixing glass. Add the remaining ingredients and shake with ice.

    2. STRAIN into a martini glass and garnish as desired.
     
     
    MORE: TEQUILA COCKTAIL RECIPES, HISTORY &: MORE

  • Añejo Tequila With Dessert
  • Award-Winning Tamarind Margarita
  • Bandera Shots
  • Beyond Salt: Different Margarita Rimmers
  • Bloody Maria Cocktail Recipe
  • Caramel Apple Pie & Cherry Pie Cocktail Recipes
  • Cranberry Tequila Cocktail Recipe
  • Cucumber Tequila Recipe
  • Deconstructed Margarita
  • El Vocho Tequila Shooters
  • Flavored Tequila
  • Margarita History
  • Mercadito Coctail
  • More Tequila Cocktails
  • Non-Cocktail Ways To Use Tequila
  • Original, Frozen & Other Margarita Recipes
  • Passionfruit Tequila Cocktail Recipe
  • Pink Tequila Cocktai Recipes
  • September 16th: The Real Mexican Independence Day
  • Smokin’ Maria Recipe
  • Spicy Pineapple Cocktail
  • Spicy Tequila Cocktail Recipes
  • Spicy Watermelon Margarita
  • Sweet & Hot Tequila Cocktail
  • Tequila 101: The Five Expressions (Types) Of Tequila
  • Tequila & Cheese Tasting
  • Tequila Christmas Cocktail
  • Tequila Cupcakes
  • Tequila Hot Chocolate
  • Tequila Lemonade Recipe
  • Tequila Expressions
  • Tequila History
  • Tequila With Maple Bacon Rim Recipe
  • Watermelon Tequila Fizz
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    TIP OF THE DAY: 12+ Other Uses For Trail Mix

    August 31st is National Trail Mix Day, but we’re jumping the gun with today’s tip.

    Trail mix is a popular grab-and-go snack. Leave out the chocolate chips (substitute toffee chips or M&Ms), and it’s a great hot-weather grab-and-go.

    It’s also fun to make your own creative blend of ingredients.

    12+ USES FOR EXTRA (LEFTOVER) TRAIL MIX

    Turn trail mix leftovers into:

  • Baking: Mix into brownies, cookies, loaf cake (carrot bread, zucchini bread), muffins (toppings or mixed into batter); make granola bars.
  • Beverages: Garnish whipped cream on hot chocolate, milk shakes, smoothies; serve in ramekins with hot or cold drinks.
  • Breakfast Cereal: Top cold or hot cereal, overnight oats, pancakes and waffles (garnish and/or batter ingredient).
  • Breakfast Dairy: Top yogurt or cottage cheese.
  • Candy: Mix into homemade chocolate bark.
  • Dessert: Garnish cupcakes, fruit salad, iced carrot cake, pudding, zucchini bread.
  • Ice cream: Top frozen yogurt, ice cream, sorbet.
  • Party favor: Set up a “trail mix bar” and let guests mix their own, to go.
  • Salad: Garnish green salads.
  • Salad: Mix into protein salads (egg, chicken, tuna).
  • Sandwich: Top a cream cheese, jelly sandwich or peanut butter sandwich; a cream cheese bagel; mild grilled cheese (e.g. Brie) or goat cheese sandwich.
  • Side: Mix into a grain salad (for a trail mix without candy).
  • Snack: Toss with popcorn (recipe below).
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    RECIPE: SPICY TRAIL MIX POPCORN

    This recipe is adapted from Walnuts.org. Here are more recipes incorporating cheese, peanut butter and other ingredients.

    Ingredients

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon kosher salt (use the lesser amount if using lightly salted popcorn)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups trail mix
  • 9 cups freshly popped unsalted popcorn, see instructions below
  • 1 cup dried cherries, cranberries, golden raisins or other colorful dried fruit
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    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper or no-stick aluminum foil; set aside.

    2. COMBINE the egg whites in a large bowl with the Worcestershire sauce, paprika, cayenne, cumin, curry, salt, and pepper. Whisk until very well combined.

    3. ADD the trail mix and toss well to coat completely. Add the popcorn and toss until the popcorn is well-speckled with the granola mixture. You will still see a lot of the white popcorn, but that’s O.K.

    4. TRANSFER the mixture to the prepared baking tray; spread it out over the entire sheet. Bake until the coating is dry and the popcorn is crisp, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool.

    5. ADD the raisins and mix well. You can stored the popcorn in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

     

    Trail Mix On Waffles
    [1] Top pancakes and waffles (photo courtesy Sierra Trading Post).

    Smoothie With Trail Mix
    [2] Top a smoothie. Here’s the recipe for this chocolate breakfast smoothie from Natural Comfort Kitchen.

    Yogurt With Trail Mix
    [3] Here’s the recipe from Natural Comfort Kitchen (with homemade yogurt).

    Popcorn Trail Mix
    [4]Is it trail mix popcorn, or popcorn with trail mix. Here’s the recipe from Delicious Meets Healthy.

     
    HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN TRAIL MIX

    Mix and match:

  • Candy: carob chips, chocolate chips/chunks, crystallized ginger, mini marshmallows, M&M’s, Reese’s Pieces, toffee, yogurt clusters
  • Cereal: Cheerios, Chex, Corn Flakes, graham cracker cereal, Grape Nuts, mini shredded wheat, rolled oats
  • Dried fruits: apples, apricots, banana chips, blueberries, candied orange peel (gourmet!), coconut, dates, dried cherries and cranberries (our favorites!), dried mango, figs, raisins
  • Exotica: crystallized ginger, Japanese rice crackers, jerky bits, sesame sticks, wasabi peas
  • Nuts almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, walnuts or other favorite (chop large nuts into chunks)
  • Savory: freeze-dried edamame, peas or veggie chips; pretzels, mini crackers, roasted chickpeas, soy beans or soy nuts, wasabi peas
  • Seeds: chia, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds
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    THE HISTORY OF TRAIL MIX

      

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