No Paul, I haven’t forgotten about the challenge you set me a few weeks ago, I just had other things I was excited about, and wanted to write about them first - and I was exploring that cask strength Caol Ila. Thanks for the request though.
For those readers who don’t remember, Paul has come into possession of a big bottle of tequila, and wondered if there are any simple drinks that he could use it for. He likes the Tequila Sunrise and Margarita, but feels they are just a bit too much trouble sometimes. I know what he means. Tequila Sunrise isn’t that difficult, but sometimes you just don’t want to get the cocktail shaker and the measuring cup out. You just want to stick some booze and a mixer over ice, and sit there enjoying it.
The thing about tequila is that it doesn’t come with a standard companion – you know, with the other strong liquors you have something that goes with it, almost to the extent that it’s a drink in its own right. You have rum and coke, gin and tonic, vodka and orange, even whisky and coke. But what do you have for tequila? Everyone seems to think you have to go through that whole rigmarole of biting a lemon wedge and licking salt, but why can’t we just enjoy tequila in a simple way, instead of having to act like you’re at a student party?
Well, we can, and there is one combination that comes to mind straight away that will do the job; tequila and lime. I’m a big fan of lime, and just adding the juice of half a lime (or 1 measure of lime juice) to a glass of tequila should produce the desired effect. Paul was unlikely to be satisfied with that alone though, so a little experimentation was called for. Until my Jose Cuervo Gold ran out - or longer if my financial situation improved, and there was sufficient spare funds to buy another bottle of tequila (along with all my other booze requirements) - I would be adding every soft drink I could find to a glass of tequila, and trying to determine if they were natural partners. Ay, ay, ay!
I did start by having a look in my various cocktail books to see if there was any singular ingredient that marries with tequila on a frequent basis, but that wasn’t leading me anywhere fast, and I decided it was time for some visceral experience. The only soft drink we had at home was a carton of pineapple juice that I’d had for a couple of months. I hadn’t opened it yet, but it was good until some time next year, so we may as well start there…
Tequila and pineapple juice – No! It doesn’t work. It’s just confusing, like if you brush your teeth and then immediately drink a glass of orange juice.
Tequila and lemon juice – a decent combination, but you don’t want to overdo the lemon juice. I did (adding a whole measure, to two measures of tequila), but I was able to rescue it by adding half a teaspoon of sugar syrup. Since lemon juice is such a powerful flavour, you’re not going to get a very big drink, but it’s a good fall back if you need it.
Tequila and cranberry juice – strong flavours battling it out here. It doesn’t taste bad, it’s just confusing. The taste of the tequila just about comes out on top, and overall it suggests that tequila doesn’t tend to mix too well – which is probably why it doesn’t have a natural partner.
Tequila and lemonade – I used the bottled, fizzy kind here and there isn’t really anything to report. The search continues.
Tequila and orange – it should really have been obvious that this one would work. It’s most of a Tequila Sunrise. The only thing missing is the grenadine, and in the Tequila Sunrise, that just sits at the bottom, so you’re drinking a lot of tequila and orange juice along the way. I’m going to stick out my neck a bit here, and say this is actually quite a complex (but complementary) flavour combination. Also, I don’t know if I’m just being daft, but there were elements of the taste that reminded me of a nice single malt.
Tequila and apple – it’s not that this tastes bad, it just doesn’t work. There’s something odd about it.
Tequila and tonic – not as successful as the vodka and tonic or gin and tonic, but if you did ever find yourself in an unlikely situation where all you had was a bottle of tequila and a bottle of Indian Tonic Water (like maybe if you’re stranded in deep space, and you’ve already drunk all the Pimms), you can rest easy knowing that you can mix these together. (I don’t even know what Pimms is, but I’m sure there will be a post on it sooner or later.)
Tequila and coke – not complementary of each other, I’m afraid.
There you go, Paul. Hopefully you can find something in amongst all that lot. I could go on, but there are probably more types of juice and soft drink than there are spirits, so I’d have to start a soft drink blog if I was going to try them all. I’m not going to do that – cheaper though it would be, but I am going to leave it open to you lot. Let us know if there is anything you like to mix your tequila with. Keep it simple though.
If you’re not happy to stick with tequila and orange or tequila and lime, I do have some suggestions for other things you can do with that bottle.
- Give the bottle to me.
- Take it out with you in a hip flask.
- Use it just for taking big swigs to warm up before going out in the evening.
- Use it for a drinking game – like alcoholic chess.
- Just hang on to it for when you can be bothered to make a Tequila Sunrise or Margarita. People say that spirits will eventually go stale in the bottle (once it’s been opened and the spirit therefore exposed to air), but I’ve never noticed any evidence of that. I had one bottle of brandy for about four years, and I never noticed any discernible difference in flavour.
- Give the bottle to me – it’s the least you can do after I used all of my bottle trying combinations that didn’t work. Actually I didn’t use all of it, and I enjoyed the research, so thanks for that.
If you have any other things you’d like me to try before you waste your own liquor on it, or even if you just have any questions you think I might be able to help with, feel free to let me know.