Body Shot(8)By: Kelly Jamieson
Hayden’s attention was caught by Beck as he winked at a woman farther down the bar, then leaned over to listen to something she said. He threw back his head and laughed, his white teeth gleaming in his dark beard. Then he said something back to her, and Hayden craned her neck to see the woman. Yeah, she was pretty—dark-haired with shiny red lips reflecting Beck’s smile in an equally flirtatious one of her own.
Hayden turned her attention back to Marco.
“It takes eight to ten years before the blue agave plants are ready for harvesting. The harvester, known as the jimador, extracts the piña from the core of the plant, which are then split open and steamed. The resulting liquids ferment for twelve hours to several days, then undergo a double distillation process resulting in a potent, high-proof tequila.”
“What’s the difference between gold and silver tequila?” someone asked.
“Another good question. And I was just getting to that. Tonight we’ll be sampling tequilas from these different categories. First, silver tequila, also known as blanco or white, or plata, which is platinum. This is blue agave spirit in its purest form. It’s clear and typically un-aged. The true flavors and the intensity of the agave are present, as well as the natural sweetness. This is Patrón.” He held up a bottle.
Beck and Cade also had bottles of Patrón, and they began pouring small amounts into what looked like champagne flutes.
“These glasses are tequila glasses,” Beck said, “specially made to experience the full complexity of the tequila and not compress the aromas.”
Hayden and Carrie exchanged glances. Hayden had to admit she was reluctantly impressed. These guys were serious about their tequila. For some reason she’d expected limes, salt, and shot glasses that they’d toss back, but this was clearly not the case.
“First we look at its color.” Marco held up the glass, and everyone picked up their glass and did the same. Hayden inspected the clear silver liquid in her glass.
“Also look at the consistency. In some of the more aged tequilas, the liquid will have a heavier, thicker body. Next, savor the aroma. But don’t do this like wine—this is eighty-proof alcohol.”
“If you stick your nose right in the glass, all you’ll smell is booze,” Beck added helpfully. “And your eyes will water. You guys don’t want to look like you’re crying into your tequila and have your guy card revoked.” He shot a grin at the men in the group, who laughed.
He was so damn funny and charming he even won over the men sitting at the bar.
“Take three little sniffs,” Beck continued. “The first one without moving the liquid.” He did so and everyone again followed suit, Hayden included. “Then give it a swirl and see what you smell. And one more small sniff. Anyone?”
The scientist in her made Hayden focus intently on the task. “I don’t really smell much,” she admitted.
Beck smiled at her. “You’re right, this silver tequila doesn’t have a lot of aroma. Maybe a hint of agave. Now everyone take a small sip to get your mouth used to the alcohol.”
They all did so. Hayden grimaced as the heat traced its way down her esophagus.
“Taking a little first gets your mouth ready for the burn of the alcohol, so your next taste you can ignore that and focus on the other notes,” Beck said.
Hayden liked how Marco was the tequila aficionado and Beck brought everything down to earth.
“Now take some tequila onto your tongue and try to identify the various tastes.” Marco said. “You might sense some citrus.”
“Alcohol,” Brian said. “I taste alcohol.”
The laugher included their three tequila hosts.
“Yeah,” Beck said. “I was once tasting tequila with a guy who went on about the ‘hints of pamplemousse, Meyer lemon, and Spanish oak.’ He was full of shit. No need to be a pretentious douchebag about it—just say what you really taste…and if it’s simply alcohol, so be it. Everyone’s palate is different. But maybe we’ll help educate your palate a bit tonight.”
“I feel heat,” Hayden said. “Though it doesn’t last long.”
“That’s right,” Beck agreed. “Heat is very true. And don’t worry…as we get into some of the more complex tequilas you’ll probably taste more. Try keeping some in your mouth…breathe through your mouth with it a little open if you can…then swallow and experience the back-end notes.”
Marco spoke up. “Before we move on to the reposado, we have to cleanse our palates. This is sangrita.” He poured red liquid into more glasses. “Tomato juice with a little lime and a dash of Tabasco. If you don’t care for it, you can swish some water around in your mouth also.”