Tequila Makes a Splash in 2022
The traditional spirit of choice for Cinco de Mayo, tequila is quickly becoming a year-round favorite. A deepening appreciation for this spirit has propelled it to one of the top drink trends of 2022, according to industry experts. For a better understanding of what’s fueling this rising tide of tequila, The Related Life reached out to Nicole Salicetti, award winning mixologist at Night Inn.
“There's a lot of tequila imbibing on Cinco de Mayo, but that can carry on well into your hot summer months and I truly believe tequila is a wonderful spirit to have all year round,” Nicole explained. ”More people are opening up to the beauty and nuances of the flavors within tequila. Education about the spirit certainly has attributed to its growing popularity. Of course, the fact that many celebrities have jumped on the tequila-making train (some for the good, some for the really bad) also fueled a rise in popularity for this spirit in the last couple of years.”
The Versatility of Tequila
Producing tequila is a labor- and time-intensive process; the Blue Weber agave that sources it can take a dozen years to mature. After harvesting, the core of the plant is cooked and then shredded to extract the agave juice, which is then fermented, distilled and aged. The complex process translates to distinct flavor profiles and aromas – not all tequila tastes the same. As a drink category, it is divided by age into four types: blanco/silver (the “youngest”); reposado; añejo and extra añejo (the most aged).
“The range of light to dark spirits create more choice and therefore versatility in choosing what tequila you may want to use in a cocktail or simply sip on. And just as other spirits, the terroir will affect the tequila produced in a slightly different area,” Nicole noted. “Tequila's flavor can range from sweet notes of vanilla (so common of the very popular brand Casamigos), to the more dry and vegetal notes found in the reposado expression of Camarena. You can find aromas in the nose that will differ from the palate and span the spectrum from sweet to dry, earthy to tropical. I've even had a slightly cinnamon note in one tequila.”
The versatility of tequila makes it an especially refreshing choice for the summer months, especially because of the crisp flavors that arise when mixing fresh limes and a little salt, she added.
Tequila Recipes for Spring and Summer
Because of these diverse characteristics and flavors, tequila can be crafted into cocktails modeled after other classic recipes, said Nicole. Simply swap out the original spirit with tequila. Take the old fashioned for example: Just replace the whiskey for your favorite tequila and perhaps switch out the simple syrup for a little agave nectar and change your bitters for a mole, orange or hellfire bitters. Then garnish with a lime zest and orange peel.
“Tequila works on most cocktails this way, if you know how to swap out your other ingredients for some that will better match the flavor profile of the tequila you are using,” added Nicole. See a few of her recipe suggestions below. Happy mixing!
Oaxacan Old Fashioned
1.5 oz Reposado Tequila
.5 oz Mezcal
1 tsp agave nectar
Orange peel for garnish
2 oz Tequila
1 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
.5 oz simple syrup
2 slices cucumber and/or jalapeno
As a bonus drink, check out Nicole’s latest creation for Casa Dragones. This amazing cocktail landed her a spot as a top 3 finalist.
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The Related Life is written and produced by the Related Life Editorial Team. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest events, news and announcements in your area, and tag us for a chance to be featured @therelatedlife and #therelatedlife.