Tequila Old Fashioned

December 8th, 2007

In my adventures with cocktails over the past few years I have sampled all of the main base spirits like gin and rum, as well as some pretty exotic ones too. However, there is one spirit that has been almost entirely neglected by me – tequila. Sure I’ve mixed up the odd Margarita, and had a few of these tasty concoctions, but that’s about it.

I’m not really sure why it’s taken me so long to embrace it. It’s perhaps in-part due to nasty experiences with shots of horrible tequila whilst at university, and also because aside from the cheap and nasty stuff, it’s not easily available in this country. However, I have now finally purchased a decent bottle – Don Julio Añejo for those who like to know these kinds of things – so let’s see if I can’t do some catching up.

Tequila is a Mexican spirit that is made using at least 51% agave, a plant often, incorrectly, assumed to be a type of cactus. Cheaper tequilas can also include other ingredients to make up the remaining 49%, but the best use 100% agave and if at all possible you should buy tequila labeled as such.

Tequila is available in various ages, the youngest being blanco, which is un-aged and clear. The next oldest, reposado, spends between 2 months and a year in oak barrels. Añejo tequila is aged between one and three years and finally extra añejo is aged for anything above three years. Gold tequila has the appearance of añejo tequila, but is merely an imposter getting its colour from additives.

Tequila Old Fashioned

Tequila Old Fashioned

If you’ve only ever tried cheap blanco shots, or even a Margarita made with good reposado, añejo tequila will probably come as something of a surprise. Although aged just a few years the tequila is rendered incredibly smooth and nuanced compared to its harsher, younger siblings. The Tequila Old Fashioned has a lovely vanilla tone with plenty of citrus. Its finish is slightly spicy, with the citrus continuing through.

Trying this cocktail inadvertently turned in to a comparison of The Bitter Truth and Fee Brothers lemon bitters, both of which I have owned for some while but never actually used in a cocktail before. The Bitter Truth proved to be superior, tasting a lot more natural than the Fees which seemed quite sweet and artificial.

However, if you have them then Fee’s Grapefruit bitters are definitely the ones to use in this drink. The grapefruit hints work wonderfully with the tequila providing a very balanced drink. After this, tequila is definitely a spirit I will be exploring further…

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Posted in Grapefruit Bitters, Lemon Bitters, Recipes, Tequila

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6 responses to “Tequila Old Fashioned”

  1. Dominik MJ – the opinionated alchemist Dominik MJ - the opinionated alchemist says:

    A Tequila Fashioned is really a fantastic drink! You might also try Chartreuse Vegetal Elixir instead of Bitters. Few drops highlights the vegetative notes of the tequila – and makes it even more complex!

    Nice post with a great drink!

  2. Jay Jay says:

    Thanks Dominik. I don’t have any of the Chartreuse Elixir, but I love regular Chartreuse so I’ll keep my eye out for some. I can imagine a Chartreuse like flavour working well with tequila.

  3. corey corey says:

    “the Bartoloni”: equal parts tequila reposado, tequila anejo, and green chatreuse, two dashes of tabasco, shaken furiously and served up, no garnish. This drink has been a huge favorite in Seattle for about a year now.

  4. Dominik MJ Dominik MJ says:

    Well this “Bartoloni” doesn’t look like a match to a tequila old fashioned!
    And why do you want to mix reposado and anejo? You could directly choose a more aged reposado or a quite young anejo, no?

  5. holiday cheer « liquor is quicker says:

    [...] disappear into a drink, and the bright citrus and bitter notes will really come out.  Clearly, as Jay at Oh Gosh! points out, these bitters are made to pair with tequila.  I would easily put the Paloma, a grapefruity cousin [...]

  6. Michael Anissimov Michael Anissimov says:

    Why are you ruining it with ice?

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