Hold the Salt and Lime
How are you meant to drink tequila? Most people see the spirit as a shortcut to oblivion, downed in a quick succession of shots with salt and lime. That's fine for the misto tequilas that aren't made from pure agave pulp (from the blue agave tequilana plant), though you'll get an absolute howler of a hangover from the added cane sugar. Aged tequilas deserve a little more respect, and can be treated and drunk in the same way as a decent whisky — sipped and savoured.
The golden bottle of tequila you see here is a Seleccion Suprema - Extra Añejo by Herradura, a tequila distillery and hacienda based in Amatitán, Jalisco, Mexico. Herradura (or 'Horseshoe') was a family concern for over a century, but was taken into Anglo-American ownership in 2007. The new owners have preserved the original estate and approach to distilling, using only the best estate grown agave. Herradura's Extra Añejo is an award-winning select tequila that has been aged for four years in oak barrels. The taste is of a smooth tequila with oak and caramel — something like a good cognac — very pleasant.
In Herradura's words: 'Leave behind the social accessory of a cocktail and let this drink rest on its own gravitas.' They also say it's good with pudding after a meal.
A Glass of Its Own
I have to mention the glass you see in the photos. The Ouverture is designed and made in machine-blown crystal glass by Riedel (1756) —they do hand-blown too — specifically for drinking decent tequila. Does it make a difference? I'm highly credulous, so for me certainly. If Riedel's glassware experts are willing to spend months searching the right shape, width and stem of a glass to get the most from a type of drink, I'm happy to follow their lead.
Four Inches of Fun
I must also mention the cigars in the photos, although I think I've mentioned them before. (Was I busy in the duty-free shop after the hols!) Vegafina's Perlas are one of the smaller handmade cigars at around four inches. The cigars are made at the famous Tabacalera de Garcia in the Dominican Republic, and the end-product is a mild cigar with a creamy, spicy taste and a good even burn — a nice cigar for after dinner with a coffee, I'd say.
VegaFina is one of the premium cigar brands owned by Altadis whose parent company is our very own Imperial Tobacco. How the world turns.