05/05/10 – Cinco de Wino

By Jesse on May 3, 2010

Join us on Wednesday night in celebrating Cinco de Mayo, the date in 1862 in which the Mexican army, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragosa, scored an unlikely defeat of the French expeditionary forces in the Battle of Puebla. For decades, this rather obscure holiday has been used as an excuse to consume copious amounts of tequila… which is exactly how we’ll be using it on Wednesday night!

In typical Young Winos fashion, we’ll be taking something that’s fun and carefree, pumping it full of education, and spitting it back out all classy-like. By the end of this week’s festivities, you’ll not only know your way around the important classifications of tequila, but you’ll have tasted several delicious and inspired margarita recipes, and you’ll hopefully have learned a thing or two about Mexican cultural heritage in the process. (Oh yeah… and you’ll be smashed.)

In recent years, tequila has finally begun to get the recognition it deserves as a premium fine beverage, the best of which is subtle and nuanced, just like Scotch, brandy, or — yes — wine. Even the most loco of Cinco de Mayo revelers will probably be able to tell you that tequila comes from agave. But what does that mean, exactly? What’s agave? And how does it “come” from it? This video will tell you everything you need to know in less than six minutes (skip to 1:10 if you want to bypass the intro):

Here are three words you’ll frequently see on tequila bottles:
Blanco (“white”) or plata (“silver”): white spirit, un-aged and bottled or stored immediately after distillation, or aged less than two months in stainless steel or neutral oak barrels;
Reposado (“rested”): aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels;
Añejo (“aged” or “vintage”): aged a minimum of one year, but less than three years in oak barrels;

On Wednesday night, we’ll be tasting three premium tequilas — one blanco, one reposado, and one añejo — and trying to pick up the subtle differences between the three.

Once we’re done sipping, we’ll put on our party hats and use what remains of the three bottles of tequila to make some delicious margaritas. Do you have a signature margarita mix that you’d like to share with the group? If so, let me know — we’re looking for five or six different homemade margarita mixes to compete for the affections of the Wino faithful.

Here’s the margarita recipe from Cruz del Sol, makers of Wedneday’s night’s reposado entry. Think your margarita is better than that one? Prove it!

For this meeting, you can choose to bring either $10 or your own original homemade margarita mix.

We’ll be meeting at Jessica Barraco’s place in Brentwood. The RSVP system functions like this: if you want in, you click on this link and tell me so (don’t forget your full name, e-mail address, and a message letting me know which you plan to bring: money or mix). First come first served on bringing your own margarita mix, so RSVP soon!

Hope to see a bunch of you on this most historical of holidays. Don’t forget, meeting starts at 8pm!