May 4th, 2007

In the news – gin and tequila

A couple of drinks articles this week made me really thirsty. The first was Eric Asimov’s gin roundup. He and his NY Times tasting panel rated 80 (!) gins, and the way they did it was super smart: they made martinis.

“…because gin is often consumed in a martini, we decided to taste the gin as expressed through the world’s most famous (and perhaps least understood) cocktail. We discovered that while great martinis require great gins, great gins don’t necessarily make great martinis,” writes Asimov.

You got that right, brother. The panel’s number-one gin for martinis? Supple and balanced Plymouth English Gin, no surprise.

The second article was Boston drinks/arts writer Liza Weisstuch’s size-up of artisanal tequila. I don’t know why I can say “artisanal beer” or “artisanal cheese” without batting an eye, but the concept of “artisanal tequila” still makes me smirk. I know, I should get over this prejudice. If a tequila producer uses good ingredients (aka 100 percent blue agave) and proper barrel aging, his spirit is just as worthy of respect as good brandy or whiskey, right? Right. It’s just the trendiness of the stuff that makes me roll my eyes. As with every other spirit, there’s great tequila, and there’s overrated tequila that comes in a neat bottle and is priced to make poseur boys look cool in the eyes of poseur girls.

So, I was surprised to find myself thirsting for tequila while reading this article. Actually, I was thirsting for cocktails made with tequila. Apparently, Eastern Standard’s Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli has created something called the Jaguar: “a blanco mixed with herbaceous Green Chartreuse, Amer Picon, and Fee Brothers Orange Bitters and garnished with a flaming orange rind,” writes Weisstuch. Now that’s a cocktail that would make me stop laughing about tequila. See you soon, Tom!

Permalink | Filed under Booze in the news, Gin, Tequila |

3 Responses to “In the news – gin and tequila”

  1. MC Slim JB

    Superb article. My favorite line, from my #1 cocktail heroine, Audrey Saunders of New York’s Pegu Club: “… after perhaps 8 or 10 martinis, Audrey fessed up, referring at one point to ‘a generation lobotomized by vodka.’” Hear, hear.

    I’m pleased that my personal favorite, Plymouth, landed on top, my second favorite, Hendrick’s, did well, and that my cheapie standby, Gordon’s, also placed highly. I quite agree with their assessments of how certain gins (notably, in my mind, Bombay Sapphire and Tanqueray Ten) just don’t work well in cocktails. I needn’t reiterate their truisms about proper Martini ingredients and proportions, though I am an orange bitters partisan.

    I’ve been pleased to note over the last six months that many more Boston bars have discovered Plymouth. It’s now the well gin at Tremont 647, displacing Beefeater’s, and the basis for a superb Negroni there. I’m seeing it on a lot more bars in its slick new packaging.

    I’m still trying to get my hands on a bottle of Bluecoat, an artisanal gin from Pennsylvania that isn’t yet distributed in Massachusetts. I’ve heard good things.

    On a side note, my favorite cocktail tequila is El Tesoro Platinum, a 100% blue agave blanco that retails for about $30 but compares favorably with more heavily-marketed $50-and-up bottlings like Patron. It makes a lovely Tequila Gimlet, and in the right hands, a fine up Margarita.

  2. Stephen

    tequila is the topic for mixology monday over at the cocktail chronicles…… i already posted my recipe over on egullet….. cheers….

  3. Rachele

    Plymouth is a great standby, but nothing compares to Old Raj. Seek it out! It’s worth it.

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