(Featured in HUSH Magazine 10/18/2012)
Let the countdown begin…
Vancouver is having a Tequila Expo!
This week, I was invited to a media tasting for a sneak preview. The invitation promised there would be an expert present to answer all of my Tequila-related questions.
Tequila-related questions I’ve had in the past include: “whose toupee did I just wake up wearing?” and “why am I digging up this grave?”
Meaning I love tequila, but know nothing about it.
Thankfully, I have Eric Lorenz in my corner. Eric is a Tequila Aficionado out of Michigan. The man has a mind like a Mexican leg-hold trap. Anything you want to know about agave spirits, this Sharp Shooter will spout off faster than your iPhone 4. Plus he looks a bit like the guitar player from Pantera.
Today, Eric is teaching me how to be a Tequila Superstar!
The bottles in front of me this evening are Tavi Anejo, Cabo Wabo Reposado, Uno Mas Anejo, Herradura Anejo, and Tavi Silver.
Eager to get sipping, I pounce on the huge bowl of limes on the bar. Eric looks at me like he just saw my leaked nudes: shocked and disgusted, yet mildly amused.
To a Tequila connoisseur, limes are completely acceptable — if you’re drinking Tijuana sewer-rat pee.
“With a high end tequila, you want to actually TASTE it,” explains Eric.
Makes sense. Perhaps the limes are placed there as a trap? A way of sussing out the muchachos from the niños.
Eric pours me a sample of Herradura Anejo.
“A good Tequila is one you enjoy drinking. But if by ‘good’, you mean ‘won’t give you a headache’, then the easy answer is one with 100% agave. If it doesn’t say it right on the bottle, it definitely isn’t 100% agave.”
“Tequila is required to have a minimum of 51% agave,” continues Eric, “Cheap tequila with less then 100% agave are full of fillers and fermentable sugars. Remember: Sugar equals Hangover.”
There’s a reason the morning after Cuervo Gold aches like a drunk tank frotterizing.
“Gold rarely means Good,” Eric agrees. “The gold tinge comes from caramel colouring. They put it in the cheap stuff to make it LOOK like it’s been aged.”
“Also,” Eric goes on, “just like its not ‘Champagne’ unless it’s from France, a product is only ‘Tequila’ if it’s made in Mexico. Otherwise? It’s Mescal.” (also spelled Mezcal)
I ponder this a second.
“So. Tequila, Mezcal, Mescal…” I dribble a little bit of Tavi Silver on myself, “Cut to the chase: which is the one that gets you high?”
Eric pours a taster of his own. His eyes stay fixed on the glass.
“None of them. People confuse mescal with mescaline, the drug that Hunter S. Thompson used to do. Mescaline comes from peyote, which actually IS a cactus.”
“Does the Tequila worm get you high?”
For a second I fear he is about to strangle me with his ponytail.
“First of all, the worm is found in mescal, not actual Tequila. And usually Value-Priced mescal at that. It doesn’t get you high either. But honestly, if you’re hammered enough to eat a worm, you may as well be.”
I thank Eric and stumble out the door in search of pizza.
Now I’m really looking forward to the Tequila Expo. Best of all: I’m not totally clueless any more! Although these are just snippets of the bigger picture, having a bit of knowledge feels awesome.
No longer will I associate Tequila with sunburnt white folk on vacay and amateur filmmakers coaxing Girls to Go Wild. Like any other high-end product, Tequila is an art.
Now get on out there and appreciate it!
Snag a ticket to the Vancouver International Tequila Expo on May 12th here.
Have a Tequila-related question for Eric? Want to pester him for corroding the world’s moral fibre with liquor? Connect with Eric Lorenz here.