The recovery involved from a 4-day trip to the state of Jalisco in Mexico for a Tequila trip was not as bad as I thought. It’s only been 3 days since I’ve returned, and I’m ready to blog about it. My good friend Andrew, who is forever indebted to me for this, by the way, attended this experience with me. We arrived in Guadalajara, a mid-sized city of around 1.5 million (or was it 3 million, or 4? we received many different accounts) on Friday evening. A tour of the city revealed it’s magnificent cathedrals and central squares. Poverty abounds in this middle of Mexico metropolitan, and small children, no older than 2 years old, would scurry up to us, placing small heart-shaped stickers on our shirts saying “Me Haces Falta” (I need you) in return for small change.
Herradura Tequila, the best-selling tequila in Mexico, took care of us, to say the least. The Quinta Real hotel was luxurious. A good combination of resort-like atmosphere and European boutique, the Quinta Real held comfy beds and attentive staff. Tamirind margaritas made with Herradura Blanco and snifters full of Herradura Seleccion Suprema (an extra anejo tequila, a category of Tequilas Herradura originated, by the way) were the drinks of choice. Hangovers and headaches were kept to a minimum, due to the quality of this tequila.
We visited Casa Herradura, a vast expanse of land that included a glitzy Hacienda and fields of agave plants as far as the eye can see. The “Tequila Express” train that Casa Herradura runs journeyed us on the 1.5 hour ride from Guadalajara. More drinks on the train, of course! Sangritas and Polomas were flowing and the mariachi band tooting (to say the least) their horns, making the journey seem shorter than it really was.
You’d think that by the end of this trip we’d all be tequila’d out, right? Well, in short, yes. So Miguel from Brown-Forman had the bright idea to take us all to a bar in downtown Guadalajara that specialized in…wait for it…Jack Daniels! The place was called “Rock Town.” And boy did it rock! Bottles of Jack Daniels at practically every table, an awesome cover band crooning Pearl Jam and Guns ‘N Roses, and young attractive Mexicans who seemed pretty Americanized, made us feel right at home. After polishing off 3 bottles of Jack and a bottle of Finlandia Vodka, we sauntered home, unwilling to go back to the states the next morning. At least I didn’t have to leave at 5am the next morning to catch an 8am flight, like many of the members of the group did. I felt for ‘ya!
Miguel and Jackie – you rock! Mexico rocks! Tequila rocks! Herradura rocks! Here are some photos and a recipe that rock!
(sorry for yelling…)
A beautiful church in Guadalajara. Don’t mind the dude in the foreground.
Never seen 4 politicians forever immortalized in stained glass, but what the hey, right?
The Government Palace. Would never have expected to see what we saw inside…
Look closely…creepy, right? It’s one of Jose Clemente Orozco’s best works depicting world politics in the 1930’s.
This good ‘ol cantina, Las Fuentes, made us feel right at home.
Can you make out the menu? Ahh…Squirt…my favorite.
How’d the bartender guess we wanted tequila shots?
Cabell, Brian, and Andy hamming it up at lunch.
What do you get when you cross a couple of Mexican dancers, a Cuban, and a goofy American bartender? Nirvana.
The Casa Herradura Distillery:
The ovens that cook the agave. We were fortunate enough to chew on a few pieces of freshly baked agave. Mmm mmm good!
The “Jimador” (El Jimador just happens to be the name of another brand of tequila that Herradura produces) is the bloke who chops off the arms of the agave plant to get to the core, called the “Pina.”
Us bartenders sure like to stick together. And show off our guns. Next time you see me, ask me about the agave pina war wound I sustained.
After being cooked, the juice from the agave plant turns into sugars, is fermented, distilled, then bottled. An arduous task, but boy is it worth it!
Here’s a nice recipe for my favorite margarita I had while in Mexico. I’ve modified it a bit so you can make it at home:
Herradura Tamarind Margarita
1 oz. Herradura Anejo Tequila
1/2 oz. Triple Sec
3/4 oz. Fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. Tamarind Concentrate
Shake all ingredients very well in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a chilled, chili-pepper salt*-rimmed martini glass.
Garnish: lime wheel
*to make chili pepper salt, combine 1 tsp. each of kosher salt, ground cumin, ground chili pepper, ground cayenne pepper, ground cinnamon, and ground garlic.