An Afternoon of Great Pleasure (Tequila)

May 18, 2012

I don't know very much about Tequila.  This is not to say that I don't want to learn, far from.  Actually I know more about Scotch than I do about Tequila, and that's not saying very much.  Fortunately as far as Scotch is concerned, all I had to do is express a healthy interest in the brown spirits and suddenly there were many bottles arriving daily.  The same holds true for Tequila. 

I opened my mouth to say that I had much to experience, much to learn and suddenly they started arriving.  One Tequila that I'm passionate about is named Arrogante. 

This brand comes from my friend Patrick Wilson, who, as it turns out has crossed paths with me through mutual friends.

The thing that makes this story so profound is that the person in common is gone, but only the details remain. 

Trust me, truth is much stranger than fiction

I first tried Tequila in Mexico while I was about 18.  The lush flavors of the Agave Cactus is stuck in my memory.  I can vividly picture where I was, who I was with.  That was the trip to the Yucatan.  The Tequila flowed all day in a variety of combinations. 

When I tasted the Arrogante today, I was blasted back to that time.  It was a nice memory of flavor if not the more tactile emotional stuff. 

This story of how Patrick and I met comes by way of Social Media and Charleston, South Carolina.  This is most profound, our fortuitous meeting. 

I needed to learn more about Tequila, and Patrick has in his collection of products some beautiful expressions of the craft of making Tequila.

The Arrogante Anejo in my glass is just wild stuff to taste.  It calls out to me to sip.  I want to summon the spirits by throwing some on the floor and then I'm called upon to sip some more. 

I sprinkled some spring water over the top and it became alive with possibilities.

The Anejo reveals itself slowly, patiently.  It comes in a gorgeous fat bottle.  It forces you to open with two hands as if gripping a chalice. The bottle is fat and handsome with gold writing set against the frosted glass.  This bottle is very classy in appearance and would be a fine addition to anyone's bar.

The cork is massive and the Tequila is oily and thick on first glance.  It reminds me of honey, the color is of syrup for my pancakes.

My tasting impressions are as follows:  Sweet corn cakes revealing themselves smeared with sweet, creamy butter.  There are dark stone fruits in there, a dizzying stew of plums to raisins to steaming hot, butter and caramel coated popcorn.  The mouth- feel is thick and finishes with wild honey, fresh lavender and crisp ginger snap cookies.

I'm warmed deeply by the 80 proof heat.  This is a drink for the snifter, or perhaps mixed with something more potent. 

Today I received the absolutely ravishing Ginger Syrup from Morris Syrups in Brooklyn.  This little fireball of a potion blasted me back to my family's sailboat.  We always kept fresh ginger syrup on board to stave off a flu, correct your coffee or ward off sea-sickness.  I would make strong Dark and Stormy cocktails with Dark Rum and seltzer water with a healthy splash of the Ginger Syrup. It's a memory that serves me every time I taste ginger and simple syrup.

This syrup is even better than I remember and this aromatic concoction fits into the cocktail found below very comfortably!

¡Hasta Luego! Cocktail

Ingredients to make 2 rather potent cocktails 

Danger Level 5 out of 5

2 Shots of Tequila Arrogante Anejo

1 Shot of Tenneyson or Lucid Absinthe or your choice

1 Shot Snap (USDA Certified Organic Ginger Snap Liqueur) 80 proof!

Seared Tangerines and Lemons (carefully peel to remove bitter pith)

2 Tablespoons of Ginger Simple Syrup from Morris Kitchen in Brooklyn

2 Tablespoons of Dark Maple Syrup (Seek out Grade B)

Lemon Peel garnish

Bitter End Mexican Mole' Bitters


In a stainless steel pan, sear the citrus fruits and set aside to cool

Muddle your seared citrus in your shaker and then add a bit of ice to the shaker

Add Tequila, Absinthe, Snap

Add Syrups

Shake and strain into a short rocks glass with a couple cubes of spiced maple ice

Garnish with a lemon peel and a couple drops of the Bitter End Mexican Mole' Bitters to taste

Method for Maple Ice:

Freeze an ice cube tray with water and maple syrup. 

In each slot also add 4-5 drops of the Bitter End Mexican Mole' Bitters- sweet hot! 


The Arrogante Blanco is Mexico's version of Rum Agricole. I'm so impressed with the bright aromatics in this expression of Tequila flavor.

Again due to the sheer heft of the bottle, you are forced to open the bottle with two hands.  This simple action creates a continuity of motion.  You become one with the bottle, it is everything in your focus- and soon to be in your mouth, sliding graciously down your throat.

The Blanco also rolls in at 80 Proof as does the older Anejo above.

I love the Blanco for the quality of fresh agave.  You can taste the purity of the fruit, white flowers reveal themselves along with little puffs of fire and smoke.  There is definitely the flavor of citrus that arrives like an out of control green horse on a narrow mountain path. It's suddenly there as the edge looms ever so close to the steed's hooves.  Scary and powerful all at the same time.  This is not a beginner's Tequila but one that needs to be carefully savored. 

I recommend simplicity with this slurp. 

The Morris Kitchen Lemon Syrup is up to the task of this cocktail.  There is a depth to the lemon syrup that defies my imagination.  In conjunction with the Blanco Tequila the syrup is both mystifying and grounding. 

You can taste a pitcher of freshly made lemonade- then the hit of the Blanco arrives like a very angry rattlesnake. 

It's over there in the corner, rattling its tail and you cannot change anything. 


Edge of the Cliff Cocktail

Meant to absolutely twist the minds of you and your friend. 

Danger level 5 out of 5


3 Shots Arrogante Blanco

1 Shot Tenneyson or Lucid Absinthe

Fresh lime juice (about 1/4 cup)

Perrier Sparkling Water

Morris Kitchen Lemon Syrup

Use about 3 tablespoons in the cocktail

Cut limes for muddle and for garnish

Fresh Cilantro


Muddle fresh lime chunks with the lime juice and the Morris Kitchen Lemon Syrup

Add the Tequila and the Absinthe

Add some ice to the shaker

Shake until frosty

Add some ice to a tall cocktail glass

Strain the mixture into the glass

Garnish with a sprig of fresh cilantro and a chunk of fresh lime

Finish with the Perrier Sparkling Water


The final expression of Tequila artistry is the bold blue bottle of Tecnico "Spectacular Tequila Elaborated" 100% Pure Agave

This bottle is unmistakable in appearance.  It is a stout bottle with an impressive top of a Rudo the Mexican wrestler.  These wrestlers have a cult following.  They wear masks on their faces like Japanese Kabuki artists. 

They are powerful men with a mission.  Their Tequila on the other hand is extremely elegant and almost Bourbon like in flavor.  Sure it is 100% agave, but it reveals itself on my tongue in a very brown liquor fashion.

The nose is pure agave.  There is brown Mexican honey in there along with rosemary and wet stones.  I don't suggest actually licking a wet stone, but the impression remains. 

This honey like finish is laced with Kentucky Bourbon although no Bourbon is in the mix, only in the cask.  They use Bourbon casks to age this expression, not unlike Rum producers or Scotch Whisky producers. 

Elegant is not even the start of this lovely Tequila. 

I taste freshly crushed agave syrup along with a thick tongue coating sensation of brown sugar and rich maple syrup.  There is a citrus element, like preserved lemons in the mix.  Little bursts of tobacco flowers give way to a froth of wood fire and liquid smoke.  There are wildflowers that come into view then are cut by the blade of a razor sharp machete

It's aged for 18 months in Bourbon Oak.  I think that is why I like it so much.

The Tecnico has the stuffing to hold on to the ring, even under duress.  A big hit in the snifter is good- a squeeze of Agave Syrup, better- a splash of fresh lime juice?  Perhaps a mashed chunk of grilled pineapple?


The Brakeless Train Cocktail- Every engineer fears a runaway train.  Especially in the winter, with no one coming either direction for about a week!

Will numb the brains of you and your companion.  But isn't that the idea

Danger Level 5 out of 5 


4 Shots Tecnico 100% Agave Tequilla

Grilled pineapple (cut a pineapple into chunks and grill over charcoal (let cool)

4 Tablespoons Morris Kitchen Preserved Lemon Syrup

5 drops Bitter End Mexican Mole' Bitters

Fresh mint

Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water


Muddle some of the grilled pineapple with the Preserved Lemon Syrup and fresh mint

Add the Tecnico Tequila

Add some fresh ice

Add the bitters

Shake until the shaker is frosty

Serve in short cocktail glasses with a garnish of grilled pineapple and top with a bit of the Perrier Sparkling Water!