This Year, Resolve to Try These Healthier Drink Recipes

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Healthier Drink Recipes for Resolutions

A new year brings out the best in us. Motivation. Dedication. Commitment. Resolutions for a healthier YOU. You’ve dusted off your sneakers, packed your gym bag, and thrown out all the leftover See’s Candy (after eating all the Scotch Mallows). You’ve bookmarked a healthy meal planning link that you know you will actually refer to.
Take a look at your home bar. Still well-stocked from holiday entertaining? Now you’re a little sad at the thought of not tasting the nectar of the gods while you get yourself back to the healthiest version of you. Don’t fret. You don’t have to give up everything. In fact, you can enjoy alcohol in moderation and still crush your fitness goals. Check out these healthier drink recipes to keep your resolutions this New Year.

Let’s Talk Tequila Healthy Drink Recipes

We are a pretty health-educated group. We know that when you do decide to imbibe, the least caloric way is to drink the spirit neat or on the rocks. Typically, a straight shot (1.5 ounces or 1 jigger) of tequila (and most liquors) is just under 100 calories. The heavy doses of sugar and fat come from the mixers, not the alcohol. That doesn’t mean that your trainer will tell you to go ahead and have 3 or 4 straight tequilas. Nor does it mean that you can’t make a “fit and fabulous” mixed drink. Just like with other health-related options, choose wisely.

Kombucha Margarita Healthier Drink Recipe

Kombucha Margarita – It’s Really a Thing

Everybody’s talking about kombucha. It’s been heralded as a magic elixir to heal what ails you. Literally. It is a fermented probiotic drink with health benefits rumored to rebuild connective tissue, relieve headaches, reduce gray hair, improve digestion, and even cure cancer*. Kombucha is derived from the good kind of bacteria and yeast that ferment and create a lightly carbonated and tasty tea-like beverage.

Adding tequila to kombucha for a “healthier” drink recipe might seem a little odd. We don’t make any assertions that this cocktail makes tequila healthy, but this recipe is a healthier alternative to the classically sugary margarita. The Kombucha Margarita takes the standard margarita base of tequila, triple sec, and lime juice, and adds the not-so-standard kombucha and stevia. The effervescence of the kombucha gives the margarita an extra little fizz and flavor.

[*Editor’s Note: kombucha health claims are just that. Claims. You are encouraged to do your own research on kombucha and decide for yourself if the hypotheses can be substantiated.]

Chia Seed Healthier Drink Recipes

Ch-Ch-Ch Chia

No, we aren’t specifically talking about the green “hair” growing plant pets that dominated kids’ wish lists in the 80, but we are talking about the seeds that make their hair sprout. Chia seeds are taking over health food store shelves and making their way into mainstream food items (margaritas included). Used by the Aztecs and Mayans for centuries, chia seeds are rich in nutrients and antioxidants and have a high Omega-3 content. To pack some nutrients into your cocktail, spoon in some chia seeds to this “healthy” drink recipe. The Chia Margarita uses tequila, triple sec, and lime juice, naturally. Add chia seeds, palm or coconut sugar, and stevia for a fit(ter) take on the marg.

Acai Smoothie Healthier Drink Recipes

How Do You say “Acai”?

The correct way is “ah-sigh-EE” even though it looks like “ah-KAH-ee”. Either way you say it, it’s good for you. Supposedly. The superfood acai berries are jam-packed with antioxidants, fiber, and heart-healthy fats. While health benefits like weight loss, reduction of acne, lowering of cholesterol haven’t been medically proven, the high level of antioxidants in the berries is undisputed. Antioxidants are good. Margaritas are tasty. So an Acai Margarita must be superb. Using a low-calorie margarita mix, or triple sec and lime juice, add tequila, acai mix, ice and blend for a berry beautiful margarita.

Paloma Cocktail

Mix It Up

Some health trends are just too trendy for certain people. Especially when it comes to making cocktails. One alternative to the it-health-product-of-the-week margarita is a zero-calorie mix like Be-Mixed. The pre-made concoctions use erythritol, stevia extract, and monk fruit extract to add natural sweetness. Tequila recipes with Be-Mixed range from the bright Paloma (with the added health benefits of fresh grapefruit) to a deep Berry Sage Margarita made with fresh antioxidant-rich berries. If you choose your extra ingredients wisely, your only additive is flavor.

Pomegranate Martini

Pom-tastic

Pomegranate is undeniably one of the most beautiful fruits in the grocery store. The deep rich hue and the jewel-like seeds are only the surface of what makes this fruit so spectacular. High in dietary fiber, vitamins C and K, and folate, the pomegranate is as healthy as it is stunning. Want to take the beauty up another level? Add tequila. The Pomegranate Martini is a delightful mix of POM Wonderful® Pomegranate Juice, Cointreau, Azuñia Blanco organic tequila, and lemon. Skip the sugar rim for the lower calorie version of this cocktail.

Keep Your Resolutions

Getting motivated at the New Year is relatively easy. Staying motivated? Not so much. We can’t be your personal trainer and help you set a new personal record at the gym. We can’t (and wouldn’t) stop you from Friday night indulgence. But we can keep you up-to-date on what’s happening in the world of tequila. Sign up for our weekly newsletter for all that’s good in tequila.

Want to connect on a more personal level?! You can find Team Azuñia on FacebookInstagram and Twitter!

10 Winter Cocktails that are Better than Champagne

By | Blog

You know us. We have an opinion about everything booze related. Seriously. We love champagne so much that we even wrote a post about it. But we love tequila just a little bit more. Counting down to the champagne toast on New Year’s Eve is always fun, but we think it could be more fun. So before you stock up on the bubbly, take a look at these celebratory winter cocktails for your holiday season. As we get closer to the new year, one day at a time, we bring you our favorite 10 winter cocktails that are better than champagne.

Countdown to the New Year (By Way of Winter Cocktails)

Anejo Old Fashioned Winter Cocktail

10. First up in our countdown of winter cocktails that are better than champagne, is the Añejo Old Fashioned. Simple and refined, the Añejo Old Fashioned is one of America’s oldest cocktails (with a tequila twist). Swapping out the rye whiskey for Azuñia Añejo tequila gives this old-fashioned new life. The muddled sugar cube and Angostura Bitters add a level complexity to an otherwise simple cocktail. Everything old is new again.

Peppermint Patty Cocktail

9. Minty, chocolaty, and wintery, the Peppermint Patty is everything you love about December holidays and more. Steaming hot chocolate is layered with Azuñia Blanco organic tequila and Peppermint Schnapps and finished with mile-high whipped topping. Sprinkle some candy cane pieces on top for the holiday kick this cocktail (and you) deserves.

8. Served neat, on the rocks, or with a splash of water, our Black, 2-Year Extra-Aged Añejo is perfect for a cool winter night. Special Reserve Añejo is THE winter cocktail for the tequila connoisseur, no matter how it’s served.

Butter Me Up Cocktail

7. Everything is better with butter. That includes winter cocktails. The Butter Me Up is a real crowd-pleaser. Azuñia Añejo tequila, rum, and homemade hot-buttered batter make this rich velvety cocktail more of a dessert than a drink. Seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves, it’s the creamy after-dinner drink your celebration calls for.

Heart and Soul Cocktail

6. We wish we could start every day with the Heart and Soul coffee-laced winter cocktail. Homemade cinnamon and clove infused Azuñia Añejo tequila (it’s easier than it sounds), orange bitters and coffee liqueur are the core of this sweet cocktail’s spirit. Serve in a stemmed glass and top with whipped cream for a little extra love.

Mexicali Mule

5. Give your mule an upgrade by using tequila. The Mexicali Mule trades in vodka for Azuñia Blanco organic tequila in the fizzy winter cocktail. Ginger beer and Angostura Bitters give the cocktail its buzz and its bite. The traditional copper mug adds to the sparkle and the flavor of this spunky drink.

Toddy Blossom Cocktail

4. Holidays got you down? Or fighting the dreaded winter cold? The Toddy Blossom is the winter cocktail’s equivalent of chicken soup. Azuñia Reposado organic tequila, elderflower liqueur, agave nectar, hot water, and all-powerful lemon make this tea-like drink the cure for what ails you. Even if you aren’t under-the-weather, this cocktail will warm up even the coldest of nights, perfect for those fireside chats.

Negroni

3. A classic aperitif, the Negroni, gets a tequila makeover in this winter cocktail mash up. Swapping out gin for Azuñia Blanco organic tequila, the Tequila Negroni keeps the Campari and Vermouth, creating a beautifully balanced bite in this booze heavy drink. Share one with friends today.

Apple Cider Margarita - Margarita History

2. Boozy cider drinks are never a bad idea. Trust us. The Apple Cider Margarita winterizes your favorite sunny cocktail. Throw out everything you know about the standard marg and make this cold-weather version. Shake up Azuñia Reposado organic tequila, Orange Curaçao, fresh orange juice, and apple cider. Serve over ice with an apple garnish for a slice of winter perfection.

Champagne Sparkler

1. What’s a list of winter cocktails without a little bubbly? Remember how we said we liked tequila more than champagne? We like tequila AND champagne even more. The Spanish Sparkler combines Azuñia Reposado organic tequila, agave nectar, and fresh lemon, with an effervescence float courtesy of a splash of champagne. Now that’s a festive libation! We know what we want to drink when the clock strikes midnight.

Tequila Wishes and Caviar Dreams

We hope that you enjoy our 10 winter cocktails that are better than champagne as much as we enjoy creating cocktails for you. We take cocktail crafting seriously and have a slew of other recipes where these came from.

Happy Holidays and cheers to a new year filled with tequila wishes and caviar dreams!

Want to connect on a more personal level?! You can find Team Azuñia on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

Easy Champagne Cocktails for Your Holiday Celebration

By | Blog

Easy Champagne Cocktails

Dom Perignon said it best when he said “Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!” Champagne is a twinkly libation that makes one’s mouth upturn in a smile with just one taste. The effervescence and brightness make it the perfect celebratory drink. Which is why it’s the “spokesdrink” of revelries, especially around the holidays. Our love for champagne is deep. A chilled glass of bubbly is perfection on its own. But, add a little tequila in our favorite easy champagne cocktails, and you really will taste the stars!

Let’s Talk about the Base

The base of these easy champagne cocktails is champagne. Champagne, like tequila, is a region-specific drink. To be “champagne”, the grapes must be grown in the Champagne region of France, just as agave must be grown in specific regions of Mexico to be “tequila”. Only certain grapes can be used in the golden elixir. Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay are the most popular of the seven types of grapes allowed to comprise champagne. Similarly, only certain types of agave make tequila. Much like coffee and tequila, champagne and tequila are a duo worth celebrating.

Celebrate Good Times, C’mon (With Easy Champagne Cocktails)

If you’re like us, we know you’re gearing up for fantastic seasonal celebrations. What goes better with the holiday season than champagne cocktails? Nothing, really! We’ve compiled a few of our favorites to share with you as a collective “Cheers!” to you, our favorite people.

Champagne Sparkler

The Spanish Sparkler

Tart lemon is balanced with the natural sweetness of agave nectar in this festive libation. Start with Azuñia Reposado organic tequila, squeeze in fresh lemon, and mix in agave nectar. The Spanish Sparkler is brightened with a bubbly float of champagne and garnished with dehydrated lemon. It will undoubtedly have you tasting the stars this holiday.

Agave Cocktail

The Agave Royale

Bubbling over with the perfect combination of lime and herb, the Agave Royale is a bright party drink perfect for your holiday brunch bunch. The float of champagne or sparkling wine on top is the pièce de résistance! The difference between champagne and sparkling wine is simple. Like we talked about before, champagne must be produced in Champagne. Anything else (Cava, Prosecco, or Cremant, to name the most popular) is deemed “sparkling wine”. Many sparkling wines are just as good and won’t break the bank as much as good champagne will. We could all pinch a few pennies around the holidays. Don’t tell Charles Dickens, though, as he’s been quoted as saying “Champagne is one of the elegant extras in life.”

A Champagne Margarita

This glittery-sugar rimmed easy champagne cocktail is festivity in a flute. The Champagne Margarita combines our favorites (yours, too, right?) – a margarita and champagne. This effervescent cocktail of Azuñia Blanco organic tequila, fresh lime, triple sec, sweetened lime syrup, and champagne will add a pop to any celebration.

Sangria Tequila Cocktails

Tequila-Champagne Sangria

For a real crowd-pleaser (and so you don’t have to spend so much time mixing cocktails one at a time), try this Tequila-Champagne Sangria. Combining quantity and quality, this zesty punch mixes Azuñia Blanco organic tequila, citrus, mint, agave nectar, dry white wine, sparkling wine or champagne, and lemon-lime soda. This mix-ahead punch has a gentle fizz that will add sparkle to any celebration.

Champagne is the Bees Knees

Champagne is pretty awesome. There is always a reason to toast with a glass of bubbly. But maybe bubbles aren’t your “thing”. We’ve got plenty of seasonal cocktails on our recipe pages. Find your “thing” using the search box to locate your fave ingredient or flavor. Share with us what you are “cheersing with” or “cheersing about” on social media. We love celebrating with you!

Classic Cocktails with a Twist of Tequila

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Bartender making Classic Cocktails with Azunia

Luke Tamney, Bartender, Central Bar and Bistro Photo Credit: Brittany Wangsness

What’s more traditional than an Old Fashioned? The cocktail name itself says it’s “Old”. What’s manlier than a Manhattan or a Tom Collins? Nothing, really. Both those cocktails were named after men. (Okay, so the Manhattan is really named after a City, but you see where we’re going, right?) And then there is the Martini. James Bond, the unofficial spokesperson of the cocktail, has been drinking Martinis (shaken, not stirred) since the 1950s. Men want to be him, and women want to marry him. 007 and his Martinis are the epitome of “classic”. The Sidecar is another classic cocktail with questionable historic origins. The only thing not debated about the Sidecar is its place on the “Classic Cocktail Shelf”.

All of these traditional cocktails have one thing in common: none of the original recipes include tequila. Bummer. But, necessity is the mother of all invention. And because tequila is our bread and butter, we switched up some of these classic cocktail recipes with a tequila twist.

Latin Old Fashioned

Who’s Old Fashioned?

The Old Fashioned is so old that it’s believed the name came from bar patrons ordering drinks the “old fashioned way”. The “old fashioned” Old Fashion is comprised of rye whiskey, simple syrup, bitters, and garnished with an orange peel and cherries. In our take on the drink, the Añejo Old Fashioned, we swapped rye whiskey for tequila and the simple syrup for a good old-fashioned sugar cube. The Añejo’s buttery finish of vanilla, chocolate, and caramel has a slightly spicy edge in this tequila twisted Old Fashioned.

The Latin Manhattan

The Manly Manhattan

Comprised of whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters, and garnished with a maraschino cherry, the Manhattan is named after the New York City club in which it was first made (and not a manly man). There’s not a lot of fluff in this drink, unless you count the maraschino cherry. It’s a drink that lets the main ingredient, the whiskey, shine. In our version, The Latin Manhattan, the whiskey is traded for Añejo tequila, and the richness of the tequila takes center stage of this modified drink.

Jose Collins

Tom, Who?

Next up on our list of tequila-ized cocktails is the Tom Collins. Unlike the two classic cocktails we talked about previously, the Tom Collins gets its booziness from gin, not whiskey. Gin, lemon juice, a little sugar, and soda water make up this spirited lemonade. Literary references of the Tom Collins date back to the 1800s, but our tequila-based Collins, the José Collins, is a little bit younger. Using Blanco tequila instead of gin, the José Collins showcases the lighter side of our classic cocktail mash ups.

Mexican Martinez

Not James Bond’s Martini

There are at least a million martini recipe variations of the classic gin, vermouth, and green olive garnished drink. You can have it dry, on the rocks, dirty, or stirred (not shaken). You can make a martini with vodka in lieu of the gin. So we thought, “why not a tequila martini”? The Martinez is a bold blend of Reposado tequila, sweet vermouth, orange bitters, and Luxardo Maraschino. The only reason the original 007 didn’t order his signature drink this way is because it hadn’t yet been invented.

Blood Moon Tequila Tasting Party

A Tequila Sidecar is Really a…

The classic Sidecar is a beautiful blend of Cointreau, lemon juice, and cognac served in a glass rimmed with lemon juice and dusted with sugar. It’s bright, citrusy and sweet. A traditional drink with a questionable history (don’t they all), the Sidecar actually might be the basis for the Margarita. Legend has it that a really smart bartender added tequila to the ingredients and traded the sugar for salt, thus creating the Margarita. We further twisted this recipe by adding blood orange juice to the Cointreau and Reposado to create our Blood Orange Margarita.

Classic or Not

Whether you prefer your drinks old fashioned or shaken up a bit, we’ve got a plethora of recipes for your DIY adventures. Check out our recipe box and see if you can stir up your own take on a classic cocktail.

Thanksgiving Meal Ideas for the Tequila Lover

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Tequila Pairing with Truffles

Happy Thanksgiving! Your house is in shambles, the turkey is still frozen, your husband is sporting his gym gear, and your kid is wearing his shoes on his hands. Oh, and you forgot the ice. Take a deep breath. We have honest, authentic Azuñia Tequila to the rescue!

First, remember, we’re all human. Your loved ones are coming to visit you, not the piles of laundry or to examine your air filters. Every year we crave this season of togetherness, and yet we stress out over the smallest of details – matching napkin rings and finding the perfect way to cook a 20-pound turkey in 30 minutes. Stop the insanity!

We hope this little guide will help you to better enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday. So, whether you decide to roast a giant turkey or stuff a pork loin, raise a glass of Azuñia tequila, and cheers to you because there is still Christmas to get through.

In our tequila pairing, we considered some of the traditional fare, such as roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, etc., but we also introduced some new, Latin-infused dishes to bring your drab holiday dinner to life.

Let’s start with the appetizers.

tomatillo-habanero-salsa-hor-2-690x292

Chips & Salsa paired with Azuñia Blanco

Do not ask your guests to bring starters of any kind, because you might be waiting until dessert to get a bag of broken chips and a tub of watery salsa. Chips and salsa are a great place to start and easy to assemble. Forget the store-bought chips. Here’s an opportunity to add a small gourmet touch by making your chips ahead of time. All you need to do is quickly fry wedges or strips of corn tortillas. As you bring them out of the hot oil to drain on paper towels, hit them with your favorite spices, like salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin or paprika. I know what you’re thinking, “I’ll make the corn masa from scratch, too!” Please, throw that idea out the window! We do, however, encourage you to make the salsa from scratch. We especially love tomatillo salsa paired with Azuñia Blanco organic tequila; the fresh bouquet of cilantro and tart tomatillos harmonize with the citrusy tang of limes.

Aguachiles and Avocado

Aguachiles with Azuñia Blanco

Now, you may be thinking aguachiles, a shrimp cocktail marinated with lots of chile and lime, are not a “traditional” Thanksgiving dish, but it has many things going for it. Aguachiles are delicious, you don’t have to cook them, and you can prepare the components of the dish (make your serrano salsa and clean your shrimp) ahead of time. As your tio is struggling to unload your tia from the car, simply toss the raw shrimp in a spicy lime and serrano salsa. The lime will cook the shrimp, without making it feel rubbery, and that heat from the serrano salsa is meant to be matched with Azuñia Blanco. This non-traditional dish can quite possibly steal the show from your dried turkey.

Green Salad with Fall Fruit paired with Azuñia Blanco

And if you’re the “green salad” type, then you’re in luck because Azuñia Blanco is fantastic when paired with a salad loaded with fall fruit. Obviously, any citrus (blood red orange and red grapefruits), but think about fall fruits like apples, pomegranate arils or tropical fruits like mango and pineapple. If those fruits aren’t available to you, stick with your green salad but make your dressing in advance using fruit juices or pomegranate molasses. And yes, you can buy it, too. Serve your guests some Azuñia Blanco organic tequila and congratulate yourself for barely lifting a finger.

If you want a cocktail, mix up Azuñia’s Tequila’s Margarita Auténtica. It’s just four ingredients, and you can make a big batch hours in advance. It’s every person for themselves when your guests finally arrive.

Now on to the main course:

Roasted Turkey paired with Azuñia Reposado

No matter what, there will be a turkey. My suggestion is to brine the bird in a large cooler and cook it in a turkey roaster, because you are going to need your oven and stove top for something. Brining will infuse your bird with flavor inside and out.

When it comes to your turkey, aside from brining, think how else you can infuse flavor, like stuffing the cavity with apples and fennel or lemons and onions. Perhaps you’d like to go the extra step and rub a flavored butter under the skin? Next time try rubbing your favorite salsa under the skin. How? Cook out some of the liquid, making it more of a paste like a pesto. Or make a spicy glaze by pureeing chipotle chiles with Azuñia Reposado organic tequila and honey. Some great memories can be made around a chipotle glazed turkey.

Candied Pumpkin

Pork Stuffed Loin with Azuñia Reposado

If you’re a non-traditionalist, forgo the turkey and make a stuffed pork loin. Sure, it’s a little pricier, but you can prep the pork ahead of time and pop it in the oven 40-60 minutes before dinner. As far as the stuffing goes, try apples or mushrooms and onions, or our favorite, guaranteed to blow their socks off, Calabaza en tacha (Candied Pumpkin), a traditional Mexican recipe of Calabaza (you can use pumpkin, butternut, acorn, etc.) cooked in brown sugar cane (piloncillo) syrup, stuffed in a pork loin and rolled in spices and herbs. The sweet piloncillo is a classic combination in disguise…think honey glazed ham, just better.

I mentioned Azuñia Reposado, and you perked up. The Reposado is aged for eight months in American Oak, so you’ll taste butterscotch and wood, which will complement the sweet brown sugar syrup. Reposado is versatile and will lend itself well to turkey, but also to glazed spiral cut ham, buttery mashed potatoes, rich gravy, sweet yams, that mysterious green bean casserole your aunt brought and yes, the stuffed pork loin.

Tequila and Truffles

Dessert:

Dark Chocolate Truffle paired with Azuñia Añejo

Since we’re pacing ourselves (remember, it’s not a race), you’ll have space in your tummy for dessert. Let’s complete the dinner with some Azuñia Añejo. This ultra-premium tequila is aged more than 12 months, is smooth, buttery and has whispers of vanilla and caramel. The usual pairing suspect is chocolate. Yes, folks, chocolate, and tequila. Make (or buy) some decadent dark chocolate truffles, or bake a flourless chocolate cake (in advance) topped simply with whipped cream or dusted with powdered sugar. No time to bake? Pick up some fudgy brownies from your favorite bakery. Azuñia Añejo is perfect to sip alongside decadent desserts like these.

And let’s face it, after the day you’ve had preparing this loving homemade Thanksgiving meal, you deserve an extra pour of tequila.

Here is LatinoFoodie’s recipe for decadent Hibiscus and Dark Chocolate Tequila Truffles. The Azuñia Añejo Tequila is optional, but fun! Remember, this is dessert. The truffles are small, but they pack a chocolatey punch and aren’t overly sweet. For a sweeter truffle, try using a bittersweet or milk chocolate.

Hibiscus and Dark Chocolate Tequila Truffles

Makes 12-18 truffles

Ingredients:

¾ cup heavy cream

¼ cup dried hibiscus, finely chopped

10 ounces dark chocolate (at least 60% cacao), finely chopped

2 tablespoons Azuñia Añejo tequila

1 tablespoon salted butter

Optional toppings for truffles: cacao powder, powdered sugar, finely shredded coconut, pulverized nuts, hemp seeds or a sprinkling of hibiscus sugar

Procedure:

Heat heavy cream and hibiscus in a small saucepot over a medium-low flame until it begins to simmer, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to steep 10 minutes.

Briefly reheat over a medium-low flame for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add chocolate, tequila and butter. Stir gently until fully combined and glossy. Place in a shallow bowl, cover and chill for 20-30 minutes.

Once firm, but not completely hard, scoop truffles using a tablespoon or a small ice cream scoop. (The size of your truffles will determine the yield.)

If needed, quickly roll the truffle in your hands to shape. Roll formed truffles in your choice of topping: cacao powder, powdered sugar, finely shredded coconut, pulverized nuts, hemp seeds or a sprinkling of hibiscus sugar.

Note: working with chocolate can be messy, but forgiving. If your chocolate is too soft, chill it for a few minutes until you can work with it again. If your toppings aren’t sticking to the truffles, simply roll the truffles in your hands for a few seconds. The heat from your hands is enough to melt the chocolate. You can also blitz your toppings in a coffee/spice grinder to get a fine grind.

Tequila and Truffles Pairing

Thank you to our friends at LatinoFoodie for this tasty post. For more from our guest contributors, please visit their website.

What is “authentic” Mexican cuisine, really?

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Al Pastor Taco by LatinoFoodie.com

Just like authentic Mexican tequila, authentic Mexican cuisine begs the question – what is it and what makes it “authentic”. While we know what makes authentic Mexican tequila, we decided to ask our friends at LatinoFoodie to help us determine what is authentic Mexican cuisine. LatinoFoodie is a great resource for authentic Mexican cuisine. Not only do they keep us on top of LA-area food and drink events, they create delicious recipes that are a genius mix of traditional and modern Mexican influence. We were lucky to have found each other during our Cinco de Mayo recipe contest. Their recipe for Mole Poblano walked away with top honors. One peek, and you can see why. Muy delicioso! Pair it with a Tamarindo Margarita for perfect mix of modern and authentic Mexican cuisine.

LatinoFoodie has helped us celebrate all of our favorite holidays from Thanksgiving straight through to New Year’s Eve by developing authentic Mexican tequila cocktail recipes and pairing them with great food. Recently, we celebrated our one year anniversary (aw!) as friends and partners. It’s obvious why LatinoFoodie is our go-to resource for all things “authentic”.

Now you know a little more about Latino Foodie. Read on to learn more about traditional Mexican food!


 

Understanding cultural influences on Mexican cuisine is important, especially as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 to October 15, reminds us of all the contributions Latinos have made in this country. One of the many valuable gifts has been the rich cuisine from Mexico.

What is Authentic Mexican Cuisine?

Just what makes an ethnic dish authentic? From Indian to Italian to Mexican cuisine, it’s hard to find what is truly “authentic” vs. fusion food.

It’s an ongoing debate among many foodies and self-proclaimed “authentic” food police in the United States. Every time I see or hear the word authentic thrown around to describe a cuisine, especially Mexican, I have to roll my eyes just a little. The evolution of many of our most popular and beloved dishes had major influence from other countries.

For me, culinary “authenticity” is deeply personal. Food brings memories of family, grandmothers, and identity.

If you want true national food, we wouldn’t be eating carnitas, enchiladas, or tacos for that matter.

Meal of Carnitas - LatinoFoodie.com

Regional Mexican Cuisine is Real

Interestingly, much like the people of Mexico and her descendants, Mexican cuisine represents a myriad of cultural influences that have occurred over history.

With European colonization and massive migrations in the 19th and 20th centuries, isn’t Mexican cuisine technically “fusion?” For that matter, how can any country with foreign invasion and settlers consider its cuisine authentic?

Regional Mexican cuisine includes ingredients that are indigenous to that particular region as well as those brought by the Spaniards, including ingredients from Europe and Asia. Mexican food did not consist of lard or pork. Spaniards brought the pig. Tortas, the thick bread stuffed with refried beans and carne asada came after the French invaded Mexico and with them came the idea and technique of baking French bread.

el-trompo

Middle Eastern Flavors in Mexico

When you think of famous Mexicans like Selma Hayek and Astrid Hadad, you’ll see they are of Lebanese descent. The Lebanese have immigrated to Mexico since the 1880s to areas such as the Yucatan peninsula.

By the middle of the 20th century, Middle Eastern flavors were already manifesting in Mexican cuisine. One of the most notable of these influences, which continues to be a hallmark of hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants, is the rotating meat on a spit – “el trompo.” Pork eventually replaced lamb, and the shawarma we associate with Middle Eastern eateries became “al pastor.”

In Puebla, the Lebanese influence is most obvious in creations such as tacos árabes, which uses the marinated pork prepared on a spit, again a technique brought over from the Middle East, and sliced into a pan árabe (pita bread) or a thick flour tortilla and topped off with slices of onion, and a red sauce.

Truly Global Cuisine

Also in Mexico, one of the more popular desserts is called Crepas con Cajeta. In the 1860s French forces invaded Mexico, until we kicked them out starting with the Battle of Puebla. This is what we now celebrate here in the U.S. – Cinco de Mayo. It took another five years after that battle for the French to leave Mexico for good. Chefs liken savory crepes to enchiladas.

Less well-known is the culinary imprint left by large waves of Africans brought to Mexico as slaves during the Spanish colonial era; by Japanese, Filipino and Chinese immigrants (the latter of whom created a Chinese-Mexican fusion food just south of the U.S. border).

What matters is showing respect for the ingredients and appreciating how the dishes came to be. Once you know the history of a dish, it is easier to appreciate the idea of fusion cuisine and not get so hung up on the word “authentic.”

Bottom line – People who say they want “authentic” Mexican food or call out a dish as non-authentic are showing their unfamiliarity with history. Most global cuisine has various cultural influences brought by foreign invasion, slavery, and migration from people of other lands. Mexican cuisine is a prime example of this “fusion” food. Maybe one of the few honestly authentic products coming from Mexico is…. You guessed it – TEQUILA!

Thank you to our friends at LatinoFoodie for this tasty post. For more from our guest contributors, please visit their website.

Tasty Ways to Add Ginger to Cocktails

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Prince Harry - How to Add Ginger to Cocktails
Ginger: It’s All the Rage

Just ask Eddie Redmayne, Emma Stone, Benedict Cumberbatch, or Prince Harry. The strawberry locks. The alabaster skin. The freckles. Now that’s good looking. Oh wait? That’s right. We’re writing a blog about spicing up drinks with fresh ginger, not super spicy redhead celebrities.

That’s a fun topic, too, but we strongly believe it is best left to the experts at Buzzfeed. Now that we reminded ourselves what we actually do around here, we can get back on topic. Ginger. There’s a reason we are crazy about ginger (and it doesn’t have to do with any of the previously mentioned people). It’s because ginger makes common cocktails extraordinary!

Add Ginger to Cocktails - Sushi Tray

Get to the (Ginger) Root of It

Maybe you thought ginger was just something to munch on while you were waiting for your rainbow roll. Even though ginger can aid in digestion and has purported healing properties, it’s actually more than just functional. It’s really tasty as a mix-in to your favorite spirits.

Tasty…and a little bit of work, or rather prepping it for your cocktails can take some time. The ginger root is very dense, and in order to get a sizable amount of juice, you have to do some manual labor. Thankfully, the flavor is just as dense as the root itself. Only a little is needed to enhance your favorite cocktail.

To get to the juice, you have to get to the inside. And to do that, you have to peel the gnarly root. #ProTip: Rub the root with the edge of a metal spoon for the most efficient way to peel. This method also produces the least amount of waste and preserves the most amount of usable ginger. Win/win.

Take the naked root and juice it. Even if you don’t have a fancy juicer on hand, this step is pretty easy. Rough chop the ginger and place it in a garlic press. Squeeze the press over a bowl covered with cheesecloth and watch the juicy goodness, albeit slowly, fill the bowl. Because of the effort involved in ginger juice extraction, we recommend going big and prepping a bunch of juice at one time. It’s only advisable to keep ginger juice frozen if you’re planning on keeping it longer than a day. Ginger juice ice cubes, anyone?

How to add ginger to cocktails

The Many Shades of Ginger

It’s possible we lost you with all the work you have to do juice ginger. Keep in mind, using ginger to spice up your cocktails can be easy, as the root is really versatile. Much like Prince Harry, the ginger root is up for just about anything. It plays well with almost every spirit, making it a mixologist’s dream.

It has a rich earthy heat that can be sweetened with honey, agave nectar, or sugar and made into syrup for a different kind of cocktail. Use the thin slices of the root that you didn’t squeeze to garnish your drink. Wet the inside of the glass with ginger root oil (Amazon Prime will have it to you in 2 business days or less.) We’ve even been so bold as to rim the glass with ginger juice and then dust with a sprinkle of raw sugar.

Adding ginger to cocktails is a surefire way to kick up your mixology game. We think if Bobby Flay were a mixologist instead of a redheaded celebrity chef, he’d throw down a perfect ginger cocktail for his signature dish. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to “Beat Bobby Flay”, you could use our Penicillin #2 tequila cocktail recipe to move on to the next round.

Penicillin Cocktail How to Add Ginger to Cocktails

Still Prefer Blondes?

We’re not naming names, but we know a few people that no matter the coaxing, pleading, and plotting we do, just can’t wrap their arms around the bite that ginger (even sugared) gives. To those people, we offer you a wide array of tequila cocktail recipes for your arsenal. You know, just in case you run into our favorite ginger chef in a dark alley or on a television set someday.

 

Happy Father’s Day From Azuñia’s Founder

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Dear Friends,

As I approach Father’s Day every year, I reflect on my life and its many accomplishments. Leader of a growing tequila company, friend to the people I’ve met along the way, and father to two young spunky girls are the three endeavors I am most proud of.

Being the Founder and CEO of Azuñia, I am responsible to not only my employees and partners, but their families as well. In my 9 years with Azuñia, I have come to know each employee, and I’ve learned that the choices I make for the company have a direct impact on their lives.

When I first started traveling to Mexico in the mid-eighties, I fell in love with the people and the land. My visits over the past 30 years have influenced the way I live my life and run my business. During these trips, I learned from the Miravalle family that we are just that, family. I appreciate how they invited me into their home and shared meals with me – not just as a business partner, but also as a friend. As we shared food and sipped tequila, we made decisions for our future together as Azuñia. This practice of sharing a dinner table with business partners is not often practiced in the States. My trips to Mexico and to the Miravalle Ranch taught me to think outside of the box when cultivating relationships.

On one memorable trip to Mexico, I met a young 9-year-old girl, Nicole. We immediately bonded, and even though we spoke different languages were able to make a very special deal. We agreed that if she learned to speak English before her 15th birthday, I would buy her the most beautiful dress in all of Mexico for her quinceañera.

She began English school later that year, and as we talked throughout the years – her in English and me in Spanish – her language skills improved. In the agreed upon time, she learned enough English to earn that dress. I was honored to attend her quinceañera celebration. It was an honor to have a dance with her at the reception, and I’m happy that we are still close friends.

While being a business owner and friend to the families of Azuñia is important to me, nothing fulfills me as much as being a dad to my beautiful daughters, Reagan and Deary. My two little girls have taught me the importance of many values – patience, kindness, perseverance, humility, and grace – that I use every day running the business. Because of them I am future-focused. I want to succeed for them. I look forward to each day with robust energy, as I want to make them, my Azuñia team, and my Miravalle family proud for years to come.

On Father’s Day, let’s toast all of the fathers, fathers-to-be, and stand-in fathers that work so hard every day to make the future brighter and happier for all of us. And let’s honor the dads we’ve lost by sharing those memories with our loved ones.

Celebrate well.

– Jim

How to Make The Best Simple Syrup for Tequila Cocktails

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Simple Syrup

How to Make 1:1 Tequila Simple Syrup

  1. Boil water first. Doing so will prevent the sugar from burning.
  2. Take water off heat.
  3. Add equal parts white sugar.
  4. Stir until dissolved.

Pro Tip: Use 2 parts Demerara, brown or Turbinado sugar with 1 part water instead of 1:1 white sugar and water.

How to Make Simple Syrup recipe

Some of Our Favorite Tequila Simple Syrup Variations

Herb or Spiced Simple Syrup

An herbaceous flavor adds a level of taste to cocktails that you just can’t beat. It’s sophisticated, earthy, and memorable. Add herbs or spices (vanilla bean, rosemary, clove) in the initial water boil explained above and allow herbs to steep for 10 minutes.

A few exceptions to the rules:

  • Cilantro and basil become bitter over high heat.
  • To make ginger syrup, you’ll need a juice extractor. Then add equal parts sugar (no heat).

Fruits or Veggie-infused Simple Syrup

Imagine a cocktail made with the essence of blueberries or the fresh tartness of raspberries or savory celery, adding a whole other level of flavor, fruits and veggies are endless in their abundance of new taste characteristics.

Fruit syrups are not heated. Just juice your fruit or vegetable, such as strawberry, pineapple or celery, and add equal parts sugar.

Tea Simple Syrup

Your morning cup can add so much depth to your cocktail!

We love green tea, but just about any tea works. Teas add an earthy, even herbaceous, flavor not to be missed. Just add tea to equal parts sugar and water, over low heat.

Chamomile tea, as used in the Chamomila Cocktail above, makes a fantastic cocktail.

 

Looking for more recipes to use your tequila simple syrup? Consider these fun recipes.

Strawberry Fields Forever

Strawberry Fields Forever combines strawberry-infused Azuñia Reposado organic tequila, Cocchi Barolo Chinato, Amaro Montenegro, and rhubarb bitters for a bright, seasonal cocktail.

Strawberry Fields Cocktail

Fernet Me Not

This herbaceous tequila fernet cocktail features Azuñia Reposado organic tequila, Fernet, and the sweet-tart profile of muddled raspberries, and finishes with a mist of smoky mezcal.

The Secret Garden

The secret garden is a delicious blend of Azuñia Blanco organic tequila, Amaro, simple syrup, muddled cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil.

Cucumber Cooler

Azuñia Blanco organic tequila, Salers Gentiane, simple syrup, fresh muddled cucumber, orange bitters, and a hint of mint combine for a drink to quench your thirst on the hottest of summer days.

Beauregard’s Cocktail

A festive springtime cocktail with Azuñia Blanco organic tequila, cointreau, muddles blueberries, safe, and a splash of soda water.

Beauregards Berry Tequila Cocktail

Get Azuñia Delivered to Your Door

Do you want to try out your advanced home bartending skills tonight? Mix up one of these simple syrup recipes and get Azuñia delivered in 60 minutes or less from Drizly. If you don’t have Drizly in your city or have more time to wait, go to our Buy Now page to find Azuñia online or at a store near you.

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Come see us at the San Antonio Cocktail Conference!

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Come taste our organic Azuñia Blanco tomorrow (January 16, 12 pm – 4 pm) at the Hotel Valencia / San Antonio Cocktail Conference!

Kailee will be whipping up one of our great Azuñia coctails with Blanco, Dolin Blanc vermouth, cucumber, jalapeño, agave nectar and fresh lemon juice. 

Azuñia at the San Antonio Cocktall Conference

Azuñia at the San Antonio Cocktall Conference

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