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Jalisco hit the bar!

Over the summer, the Gastrognome and I were lucky enough to make a short trip out to visit ye ol’ Bay Area. The first stop on our journey, however, was unfortunately nowhere near our final destination. Indeed, there was more potential for us to be stranded in a dank and odious wasteland, struggling desperately against boredom and madness than there was for, well, much of anything else. Yea, those who have been there know of what I speak: a nearly 5-hour layover in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport! Fortunately, there is an oasis in the midst of that blasted landscape and it comes in the form of the international terminal. Here one can find shopping and entertainment of various sorts, but much more interestingly for us, one can also find tequila.

How about a margarita?

The beverages were cool and refreshing and quite good, even if a bit on the sweet side. They made us hungry for tacos, which were eaten before pictures could be taken of them.

And yet, time still remained before we could continue our voyage, so while other travelers around us shouted at the soccer match being played on the big TV, we decided to go adventuring.

And by adventuring, I mean MOAR TEQUILA!

Left to right: Gran Centenario Reposado, Patrón Reposado, Don Julio Añejo.

Yes, the prices had experienced typical airport levels of inflation (you know—somewhere hovering just under movie theater or hospital cafeteria levels of inflation), but as you can probably already guess from the picture above, there was a delightfully surprising breadth of selection to choose from.

We opted for the premium tequila flight, which allowed us to pick three from a list of eight. I opted for the Patrón because everyone talks about it like it’s really good and I wanted to see what the hype was about, the Gran Centenario because it has a really epic name, and the Don Julio because the only people who I’ve heard talk about it are the sort who take their tequila drinking very seriously.

(You may have encountered the sort: older gentlemen with hard, dark eyes, grey-flecked mustaches, sun-browned skin and the ability to let you know just by the slightest change in the degree that their eyes narrow in disapproval or their head dips ever so briefly in respect what they think of your character. And of course they possess the natural ability to learn everything they need to know about you as a human being from a single glance at your drink order. Now, I’ve not reached that venerable age yet, and the system surely has nuances that I don’t yet comprehend, but I gather the basics go something like this:

If you ordered your tequila in the form of [A] then you are [B].

a margarita = you are a woman

silver tequila = you are a sissy

a bunch of shots = you are a stupid gringo

some fruity cocktail = you are a godless savage and should probably be beaten for your own good

tequila reposado = you are a man

tequila añejo = you are a man of wealth and taste

These can of course be combined. If, for example, you ordered a bunch of silver tequila shots, then you would be a stupid, sissy gringo. Or if you order a margarita with tequila reposado, then you are probably a drag queen.)

The samples arrived shortly, each resting merrily in its own little salt-rimmed vessel and accompanied by a sprightly slice of lime. I assume this presentation was to facilitate shot-taking, but the Gastrognome and I were keen to ensure that we would not be falsely judged, since it was entirely possible that one of the TV-watchers was also a Serious Tequila Drinker. Besides, we still had two hours to kill and figured it would be better to take our time and sample than pound the drinks and then spend the next hundred minutes trying not to puke in our carry-ons. And thus the tasting did commence and the results were that we fell asleep right after boarding the plane and woke up somewhere over the Sierra Nevada. Well, while that last part is true, I expect you want some sort of report on the tequilas as well. Oh, alright then, pushy-pants, here you go:

Round 1—Patrón Reposado: This is (in the US at least) by far the most well-known of the tequilas that we tried and it was (in my mouth at least) by far the least interesting. Very smooth, very mild, with a light, translucently pale, gold-ish color. It left me wondering why it is A) so popular and B) so expensive, but then again, most Americans probably don’t want their tequila to taste like much so it’s easier to do more shots, and if it’s expensive, and it says premium in the ad, then it must be good, right? Also, rappers sing about it! So if you want to hand out a lot of money for a gold tequila that pretends to be a silver tequila and possibly attracts ladies/dudes of the sort who are more interested in the amount of money you’re handing out than what your name is, then I think this one should be near the top of your list.

Round 2—Gran Centenario Reposado: If tequilas were Mike Tyson (and we’re talking Punch Out! era Mike Tyson here, not post-rape era Mike Tyson), then the Patrón would be his voice and the Gran Centenario would be his fist. Seriously, this thing is pretty much the opposite of the Patrón in every way, with a deep, amber color and a powerful, herbal smell that at least gives you a slight—though not quite sufficient—warning that you are about to be jackhammered in the face with magnitude. Yes, magnitude. Now this is not to say that this is a bad thing. There’s a certain beauty to raw, unadulterated power being skillfully employed, and the Gran Centenario definitely knows what it’s doing. The intensity really comes from the taste itself—this isn’t some gruesome throat scorching of the sort you can get from any cheap booze—it has real substance to it. Of course, in this case the question becomes how often you want to take what the Gran Centenario is dishing out.

Round 3—Don Julio Añejo: It would be easy to say that Don Julio Añejo is something in between the two previously discussed tequilas, but that would be rather like describing gold as being something in between chalk and iron. It would actually be much easier, I think, to not compare the Don Julio to the other tequilas at all and just watch this video of Plácido Domingo singing Granada instead.


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4 comments to Jalisco hit the bar!

  • princesszyrtec

    1. Your writing style. Love it. Missed it. Want more of it.
    2. I bought a bottle of Patron Silver as a thank you gift for a man, but now I realize, thanks to your revealing expose, that I was really insulting him. Unless he’s okay with being a sissy. Not judging.
    3. My sister dated stupid gringos exclusively in her formative years.
    4. I am a woman.
    5. The “combinations” are hilarious, yet familiar, somehow… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_7vVOnpyJY

  • Falquan

    What happens when you combine liquor with literature you read in high school?

    Tequila Mockingbird!

    (Ok, not mine, that’s all Hannah).

    Hilariously enough, one of my favorite tequilas remains Jose Cuervo Tradicional, specifically the reposado. Usually I consider José as the bottom of the bottom, but, it’s honestly not bad.

    Also got lost in that airport on the way home from Seattle. I carried a lot of luggage. There was an escalator that was down for maintenance. I took the stairs. The escalator opened when I reached the top of the stairs.

    Worst part: I had not time for this tasting.

  • Amon-Rukh

    Yeah, I’ll admit to digging the Jose Cuervo Traditional reposado as well. It’s one of those liquors that has a surprisingly large upgrade-to-cost ratio compared to the standard version.

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