tequila Feed

On my recent trip with the Tahona Society, we visited took ATVs into the agave fields and "helped" harvest some agave. There, Olmeca Altos tequila Master Distiller Jesus Hernandez filled me in on some details about agave I didn't know, so I thought I'd share them: The quiote, the giant asparagus-shaped sprout that shoots up from a mature agave plant in order to spread its seed, only comes from the female plant. This is nearly always cut soon after sprouting so that it doesn't drain energy from the agave heart. After the quiote sprouts, you have a year and a... Read more →

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If you've been following along, you know I'm in Mexico with the Tahona Society, a tequila education program sponsored by Olmeca Altos tequila. So far we had a cocktail contest and visited three distilleries plus a whole lot of bars. Today after visiting a distillery, we went to learn some Mexican history. Near the city of Teochitlan are the ruins of Guachimontones, an Indian culture dating back to a hundred years or so B.C.. Up on a hill is the place where the royalty lived and worshipped. There were circular pyramids and a restored ball court. Then we headed into... Read more →

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Today on the Tahona Society trip to the tequila regions of Mexico we visited the distillery of Sauza. Yesterday's visit to La Fortaleza was an example of the most primitive/traditional production methods for tequila. Today at Sauza we say the most high-tech. I last visited Sauza about a year ago, and that post on Alcademics is here, and probably a bit more thorough than this one. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take pictures in most of the distillery, so mostly text will have to do. Sauza uses what they call "soft extraction" of the sugars from agave plants. While almost... Read more →

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Yesterday I visited the La Fortaleza distillery. This tiny distillery makes 100% tahona tequila, in the heart of the city of Tequila in the Lowlands. The distillery was rebuilt in a 100 year old distillery site by Guillermo Sauza, 5th-generation Sauza family. His grandfather sold Sauza to the company who sold it to Jim Beam. Guillermo decided to return to distilling the traditional way. The tahona is a volcanic stone wheel that is rolled in a pit to crush baked agave. Most distilleries use a diffuser, rollermill, or a combination of rollermill and tahona. The fibers are removed and the... Read more →

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Tuesday night I helped judge the Tahona Society Cocktail Competition here in Arandas, Mexico. The competition (and the Tahona Society in general) was sponsored by Olmeca Altos tequila. My co-judges were Henry Bessant, who helped develop the Olmeca Altos brand, Charles Joly, winner of last year's competition and bar manager at The Aviary in Chicago, and Tomas Estes, owner of the Cafe Pacifico restaurants and Ocho tequila. Eighteen bartenders from eleven countries competed in the event. What I liked was that nearly every competitor brought an ingredient from their home country to make their cocktails, from a smoky Ukrainian dried... Read more →

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A great first day in Mexico with the Tahona Society! Today we loaded into ATVs at the Olmeca Altos distillery and headed into the agave fields. We road on muddy paths, rock-laid roads, and small town streets. Then we watched jimadores harvesting agave in the field, and a few of us took turns at harvesting plants ourselves. At the end, I got really muddy and a bit sunburned. A great day! Tomorrow a distillery visit and cocktail contest. Read more →

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Unless something has gone horribly awry, I am in Mexico right now with the Tahona Society. This week we'll be visiting several tequila distilleries and I'm helping to judge a cocktail contest with Olmeca Altos tequila. I'll do my best to post here during the trip, but you know how it goes with that much tequila around... I'll be doing more live posting on the Alcademics Twitter Feed @alcademics and in the Alcademics Facebook Group. Salud! Read more →

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For CLASS Magazine online at DiffordsGuide.com, I wrote an article about filtration in spirits. This was based on the research I did for my talk on the subject at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic earlier this year. Don't Forget the Filtration Factor By Camper English Nearly every spirit undergoes some sort of filtration, yet we rarely acknowledge it as part of production. But filtration makes vodka what it is today, practically defines Tennessee whiskey, is the standard in making white rum, and is changing the look of tequila. Filtration is important. Generally speaking, filtration refers to the mechanical process of passing... Read more →

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