Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

It’s the beginning of May and all of a sudden I’m craving chips and salsa and a frosty margarita for some reason. Then it dawns on me…Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner!

To clear up any confusion you might have, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It is not Mexican Independence Day, which is September 16th.

Now, let’s get back to the food. Here at Oliver’s Market, we have everything you’ll need to celebrate Cinco de Mayo; from our house made salsas and guacamole to our Oliver’s Own Organic tortilla chips, plus a great selection of tequila.Our award winning salsas are made in-house using only the freshest ingredients and you have five styles to choose from, well six with the guacamole (roasted tomato, aquacate, medium verde, pico de gallo, spicy jalapeno and guacamole). Our Oliver’s Own organic tortilla chips are made with organic yellow corn and compliment any of our amazing salsas or guacamole! Unfortunately we don’t make our own tequila (but how cool would that be?). However, we do have a great selection of tequilas for you to choose from, including Don Julio, Casa Noble and El Jimador.

Speaking of tequila, Cinco de Mayo (and our great sale pricing this week) presents a great opportunity to get to know this spirit a little better. What’s the difference between Añejo and Reposado? Why are they different colors? Do they all taste the same? Which one goes best in a margarita?

Have no fear! I’m here to put your mind at ease and provide you with all of the information you need to select the best bottle of tequila for the occasion.

What is Tequila and How is it Made?

Tequila is a distilled beverage that is made from the liquid extracted from the heart of the blue agave plant. Tequila can only be produced in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, and in the highlands (Los Altos) of the Mexican state of Jalisco. The agave plants are carefully trimmed regularly and kept from blooming or dying early. When ready to be harvested, the leaves are carefully cut away and the succulent cone is harvested. The cones are then baked, and then mashed to extract the agave juice. The juice is then put into large wooden or stainless steel vats to ferment which creates a wort. The wort is then distilled twice, resulting in a silver tequila. It can then be bottled as a silver tequila, or placed in wooden barrels to age.

Silver, Reposado or Añejo?

Silver is the tequila that is bottled shortly after distillation. Look for notes of black pepper, along with agave, citrus and honey. Silver is perfect for a margarita.

Reposado is tequila that has been aged anywhere from 2 months to 1 year in oak. Look for more woody aromas and flavors, along with agave. Food friendly, pair it with tacos.

Añejo is tequila that has been aged anywhere from 1 to 3 years in oak. It displays huge aromas and flavors of oak. Pair it with an after dinner cigar or a chocolate dessert.

Which Brand to Select?

No matter what your budget is, we have the right tequila for you! Three of the tequila producers we’re featuring this week are great starting points for learning about tequila styles: Don Julio, El Jimador and Casa Noble.

Don Julio

Don Julio began producing tequila in 1942, and continues to distill fine tequilas to this day. Don Julio focuses on quality over quantity during every part of the tequila production process. When it came time to select a bottle, they broke tradition by opting for a short, squat bottle instead of the usual taller, thinner bottles. Both the blanco and añejo are excellent choices.

El Jimador

El Jimador is named after the jimadors (master harvesters) who spend years mastering the art of perfectly harvesting the blue agave. They look at each plant carefully, knowing which ones are ready, and which ones should be left until tomorrow. Their Reposado is hand-harvested, double distilled and aged in American oak for 2 months.

Casa Noble

Casa Noble started producing tequila in the 1700’s in the region of Tequila. Their tequilas are made from estate-grown agave and are produced using traditional methods. Their crystal (or blanco) tequila is triple distilled and has a fresh, crisp, clean taste. It is perfect to craft a tasty, frosty margarita.

Of course I wouldn’t leave you without a drink recipe to craft the simplest, tastiest margarita possible.

Margarita

  • 1.5 ounces Tequila
  • 2 teaspoons Agave Nectar
  • 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime  juice (about half of a lime)
  • Ice

Mix contents (except ice), stir to dissolve agave nectar, then pour into your favorite margarita glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lime wheel or wedge and enjoy.

Salud!

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