What do you think of when you think of tequila? Hangovers are probably pretty near the top of the list, along with the shots and margaritas that likely preceded them. Tequila gets a bad rap — mainly due to chain restaurants and crappy bars mixing it with questionable neon bar mixes, artificially-flavoured syrups, and cheesy umbrellas. You inevitably wake up the next morning and blame it on the tequila.
Well, my dears, we’re totally blowing it. It’s high time we moved this feisty Mexican liquor from forgettable nights into our regular rotations.
Sauza Tequila is a great place to start, but before diving right in to your new relationship with tequila, it’s important to get acquainted with the different types. There are four, but the most common and accessible are silver and gold. Silver tequilas, like Sauza Silver, are clear in colour and light in flavour. With their distinctive citrus flavours with hints of herbal and floral notes, silver tequilas can be subbed for things like rum or vodka in summer cocktails. My personal favourite? Herb-infused tequila lemonades.
Gold tequilas are bolder, with the colour and slight flavour of sweet caramel and the subtle brightness of hibiscus. This taste is more flavour-forward with a sweet finish and could be subbed comparably with something like a rye whisky. Gold tequila is also what is traditionally used in a margarita.
Sauza sent me some bottles of their gold and silver tequila to play around with for Cinco de Mayo earlier this week, and a recipe book for inspiration! The first recipe I tried was the Rosemary Lemon Margarita. A classic drink with modern flavour profile. It was fresh and tart, and I halved the sugar because I’m a sucker for a bit of a pucker. Rosemary sprigs are aromatic and gorgeous, making this a perfect party cocktail.
Rosemary Lemon Margarita
4 oz Sauza Silver Tequila
Juice from 8 lemons
3 cups club soda
4 rosemary sprigs
4 tbsp sugar
Combine lemons, club soda, sugar, and tequila in a pitcher and mix well. Refrigerate until cold. Rub the rosemary sprigs gently to release the aromatic and flavourful oils before placing in each glass. Pour margaritas into glasses and refrigerate for one hour or so more, to fully infuse rosemary flavour. Serve.
The next drink that looked appealing was a Mint Margito, which had classic mojito flavours but used tequila instead of the traditional rum. Tangy lime, fresh cucumber that I happened to have on hand, and cool mint made this drink refreshing and slightly complex. This cocktail made me wish the rain outside would dry up immediately so I could sun and sip it by the pitcherful.
1 cup Sauza Silver Tequila
2 cups club soda
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 bunch fresh mint
8 slices fresh cucumber
3 tbsp sugar
In a small pitcher, muddle together mint leaves, sugar, cucumber, and lime juice. Add tequila. Fill four glasses with ice and top with mixture from pitcher until 3/4 full. Fill up final 1/4 with club soda and garnish with cucumber wheels and mint sprig.
This last cocktail was a concoction of my own imagination, inspired by my love for spicy drinks and a handful of serrano peppers that I happened to have in the fridge. It’s got a spicy kick, but rounds out with the tart-sweet flavour of the grapefruit juice. It’s downright delicious, if I do say so myself.
Spicy Grapefruit Margarita
1/2 cup of Sauza Gold Tequila
3 serrano peppers, cut and seeded
4 cups club soda
Juice of 4 grapefruits
Pour tequila into a pitcher and add sliced peppers. Let sit for between one hour and one day (I let it sit for an hour and it was already super spicy. If you let sit for longer you can mix half and half with non-infused tequila for a milder taste). Once satisfied with the flavour of the tequila, strain and pour back into pitcher. Add club soda and grapefruit juice and serve in salt or sugar-rimmed glasses. Ahhhh.Tags: Cinco de Mayo, cocktails, dranks, drinks, gold tequila, grapefruit, mint margito, rosemary lemon margarita, sauza, Sauza Tequila, silver tequila, Tequila, Winnipeg