Salud to Hispanic Heritage Month
In celebration of this special month, here are some fun and enticing Latin spirits facts including tequila, cachaça, pisco and mezcal:
• All tequilas are mezcals but not all mezcals are tequilas. Although both spirits are made from certain forms of the agave plant native to Mexico, mezcal is traditionally produced from the maguey plant and tequila from blue agave. The major distinction between mezcal and tequila is in their taste profiles; Mezcal is complex with a smokier flavor than tequila, which is a smooth spirit with delicate earth tones and a warm finish.
• Cachaça, Brazil’s native spirit, was recently recognized as an official spirit and distinctive product of Brazil on February 25, 2013 by the U.S. Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). This liquor made from fermented sugar cane juice is the most popular spirit in Brazil, where approximately 390 million gallons are consumed annually. Although cachaça and rum are quite similar, the latter is produced from molasses made from boiled sugar cane where cachaça is a product derived of fresh sugar cane juice.
• Peru and Chile have been at war for hundreds of years over who can officially claim pisco as their native spirit. There are differences in grape varietals and production restrictions, but both countries have been making this delicious spirit for centuries. Moreover, the TTB recently recognized pisco as a type of brandy and distinctive product of both Peru and Chile. However, it is important to note Peruvians claim the spirit is named after the Peruvian port of Pisco from which the drink was first exported. The word pisco also means “little bird” in the language of Peru’s Quechua Indians.
Embrace the month long celebration with these Latin-inspired cocktails that are as delicious as they are easy to make.
1-1/2 parts Portón Pisco
1 part Lime Juice
1 Sprig Rosemary
2 Sliced Jalapeños
3/4 parts Agave Nectar
Muddle one jalapeno, rosemary and agave, add lime juice and Portón and shake well. Strain over ice in rocks glass and garnish with one jalapeno and rosemary.
1-1/2 parts Tres Agaves Reposado Tequila
1 part Manzanilla Sherry
1/4 part Maraschino
1/4 part St. Germain
2 dashes Regan’s orange bitters
French maraschino cherry, for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Stir vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a very good quality French maraschino cherry.