Never Say Never: Tequila

Tequila shots for all of us...

Shots, shots, shots… NO. Photo by: taylorandayumi

For years, I have proclaimed that tequila & I are enemies… But my friends seem to believe in the old adage, “Keep your friends close, & your enemies closer.” What do I mean? They keep making me try different kinds of tequila, tequila cocktails, and talking about tequila, and dammit! I’m starting to like it, and dare I say, I think tequila likes me back. Never say never. Seriously–you’ll be forced to eat your words, and that’s just no fun at all.

But mezcal, on the other hand… It’s smoky, and can be a little overwhelming for me, so I tend to avoid it when possible. When it’s done right, however… I can’t get enough.

My friend Luke DeTraz is hosting a cocktail education series at The Gladly in Phoenix, and he invited me to join the tequila class. (See? Tequila pushers, all of them!) After an hour of education about how tequila is made and a tasting of a variety of tequila & mezcal, Luke made a couple cocktails for everyone to sample. My tastebuds took notice of the Antigua Usanza, Luke’s take on an Old Fashioned. Made with the El Silencio Joven blend & Amargo Vallet liqueur (which is AMAZING, by the way. Move over, Fernet), the smoky goodness of mezcal is blended beautifully with the Amargo & a coffee chile syrup that you’ll want to devour by itself. For National Tequila Day, I thought it’d be nice to share a tequila (okay, mezcal) drink that I enjoy. Luke was kind enough to share his recipe, which is below, but be warned–this cocktail is not for the faint of heart, Coors Light or Patron drinkers. (I couldn’t resist.)

The Antigua Usanza, a take on an Old Fashioned, made with mezcal.

The Antigua Usanza, a take on an Old Fashioned, made with mezcal.

Antigua Usanza

  • 1 oz el Silencio Joven
  • 1 oz of a good, bourbon-y Añejo (Luke used ArteNOM Seleccion de 1146 Añejo, which is excellent)
  • 0.5 oz coffee chile syrup
  • 0.5 oz Amargo Vallet
  • 1 orange peel
In a cocktail shaker or pint glass, combine all ingredients. Add ice and stir until chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into rocks glass. Squeeze orange peel over drink, making sure oils fall into glass, place in the drink, & serve.
Recipe for Coffee-Chile Syrup:
  • 1 cup coffee or espresso
  • 1 cup dark muscavado
  • 2 chili de arbol

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan. Let boil for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Mash chilies during the process for more heat.

Cheers! I hope you don’t wake up with any regrets tomorrow morning.

Tequila will get you every time!

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