There is an adage that you shouldn’t cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink. I have a similar rule for making a cocktail: you shouldn’t mix one with a tequila you wouldn’t sip.
You might ask, if you’re mixing it, what difference does the tequila make? For me there are two important reasons to love your tequila.
First, with so many great tequilas out there, there’s no excuse not to love the one you’re drinking. Naturally, as a co-founder of Mijenta, I’m biased – I believe ours stands among the very best at any price point. But there are many misconceptions about tequila in the marketplace, and like the industry has seen with bourbon and Scotch whisky in recent years, we’re on the cusp of a great awakening among consumers about what tequila can – and should – be.
In my view, authentic tequila has a richness, complexity and depth of flavor unmatched by other spirits. In fact, in many ways, producing tequila is more akin to making wine than liquor. Like grapes, the agave plant reflects the terroir in which it grows. The soil, the elevation, the rainfall, the exposure to sun all factor into how the plants develop. But like other spirits, choices throughout the distillation and aging process go into how a tequila ultimately tastes. Ultimately, whatever the process, I believe a good tequila is one that allows the characteristics of the terroir to shine through.
At Mijenta, that’s what we aim to achieve and we work hard to ensure every detail is exactly right. Our Maestra Tequilera, the renowned Ana María Romero Mena, has carefully calibrated every aspect of the production process to create a spirit that is both authentic and unique. Mijenta is made from 100% Blue Weber agave from the best plots of land in the highlands of Jalisco, and Ana María hand-picks the barrels in which the tequila will mature. Importantly, unlike many others, Mijenta never uses any additives to manipulate the taste, aroma or body of our tequilas.
Secondly, it pains me to see people make drinks where the tequila is their least favorite ingredient. If you don’t love your tequila, you’ll inevitably use the other ingredients in your cocktail to mask, rather than complement, its flavor. That means you’ll often end up with something overly sweet, or mostly juice or otherwise unbalanced. I’ve seen many people make cocktails like this, and I assure you, there’s a better way!
For me, I love making cocktails with both Mijenta’s Blanco and Reposado tequilas. When I’m mixing a drink with them, I’m looking for ways to highlight or play off the distinct profiles that each presents.
For instance, with the Blanco, I love the Mijenta French Kiss. For this drink, I mix Mijenta Blanco (1.5oz), St. Germain (0.5oz), Dolin Blanc (0.5oz) and Salers Gentian Aperitif (0.5oz) and serve it up in a chilled martini or coupe glass. I like to finish it with lemon zest and garnish with Yamamomo.
On the other hand, when I’m mixing a drink with the Reposado, I often want to emphasize the more savory notes that come from the barrel aging. One recipe I love to make is the Mijenta Moletini. I take Mijenta Reposado (2oz), Amontillado Sherry (0.75oz), Cacao liquor (0.5oz) and 2 dashes of mole bitters, stir them with ice and strain into a martini glass. To finish, I garnish it with orange zest.
Summer is a great time for coming together with friends and family, celebrating and of course, sharing a few drinks. I hope you’ll try one of these cocktails, or your own favorite, with Mijenta and stop by our Tales of the Cocktail events to learn more. Salud!
Join the 20-year anniversary of Tales of the Cocktail taking place July 25-29 in New Orleans and taste Mijenta for yourself! Simply search ‘Mijenta” in the Tales of the Cocktail 2022 Agenda and purchase tickets to their events here!