Sunday, 2 December 2012

Tequila tasting at Lupe Pintos

Tequila is one of those things everyone knows about Mexico. Or do they?

Last Saturday I took my MexiGeek crew (@Book_Love_Sarah and @EdinburghIsla) over to Lupe Pintos, the spiritual home of Mexican cooking in Edinburgh, for their annual tequila tasting.

I have a confession to make: although most of the time I'm enamoured of all things Mexican, my Achilles' Heel is tequila. I'm a whisky drinker, as in single malt Scotch whisky, which I drink neat (or, if it's cask strength, with just enough water to cut the noseburn).

It's really whisky's fault that I don't like other distilled spirits. Whisky sets the bar to an unreachable height. Really, how are you supposed to compete with something that's been aging in a barrel for 12 years or more?

Add to that, my only previous experience of tequila is some rough José Cuervo drunk from a shot-glass perched on the belly button of an inebriated sorority girl with no self-esteem (this is called a "body shot").

But the good news is Lupe Pintos' tequila tasting is just the thing for someone who isn't sure they like tequila.

First of all, Doug Bell, owner of Lupe Pintos, is the original MexiGeek, and really knows his stuff. He's passionate about all things Mexican, and his knowledge and enthusiasm really come through as he takes you from the more basic Casa Casco Viejo to the elite (though American-owned) Patron.

You learn the history of tequila (which is to mezcal what champagne is to sparkling white wine), how it's made, how it's actually drunk in Mexico, and the recipe for the perfect margarita. The tasting comes with some delicious homemade botanas (Mexican tapas, essentially), including the traditional diced fresh fruit and tajín (ground chile and lime salt).

But the two most important things I learned were:

  • Tequila can be delicious
  • Mexico takes the same pride and care in producing its national drink that Scotland takes in whisky
So did it convert me?

Well, I did buy a bottle of tequila: Don Agustin anejo (meaning it has been aged in a barrel for at least a year).

This was less intense than the Patron, and probably empirically not as good as the family-owned Herradura (Doug's favourite), but it was the one I liked best.

Leave it to me to go for the tequila that tastes like whisky!

The Edinburgh tastings are over for the year, but the Glasgow ones are up next. If you would like to know the truth about this world-famous but often poorly understood drink contact the store to book your place.

I cannot recommend this highly enough.

Other exciting news is that the shop is now stocking tajín and pilocillo (Mexican unrefined sugar). This place just keeps getting better.

Two MexiGeeks and two perfect Margaritas