A Tasty New Tequila for Cinco de Mayo

May 3, 2011

We’re embarrassed to admit it’s been a full two months since we had our first tantalizing taste of a fabulous new tequila that’s just been introduced to Washington State and elsewhere throughout the country–Familia Camarena Tequila–at downtown Seattle’s tony Alexis Hotel.

But more than a tasting, this event was billed as a “Home Mixology Happy Hour,” where my fellow journalists and I got to mix it up, as it were, by making our own cocktail.

Each cocktail showcased one of Familia Camarena’s two grades of Tequila–Silver (unaged) and Reposado (aged two months in new and used American oak), made from 100-percent blue agave.

Both are expertly crafted by the Camarenas, a family that’s been in the tequila business in Mexico since the early 1700s, opened its first distillery in 1938, and bottled its first tequila almost 75 years ago.

Today, the family’s pure, smooth (very!), easy-drinking spirits are stylishly packaged and very reasonably priced at $20 for a 750-milliliter bottle.

Just this week I learned that one of the well-crafted cocktails we mixed that heady evening–Copa de Arandas–won the Chairman’s Trophy as the best original tequila cocktail of 2011 at the nationally recognized Ultimate Cocktail Competition held in New York City.

With Cinco de Mayo fast approaching, I thought it would be fun to share the award-winning recipe with you. It will make the perfect party sipper for the big day. . .something that stretches geographical boundaries and taste buds beyond the more-common Margarita.

Copa de Arandas

2 ounces Camarena Silver Tequila

1/2 ounce Blanc (white) Vermouth

1/2 ounce Sweet Vermouth

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 ounce Italian Amaro

3 ounces ginger ale

Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

1. Combine the Tequila, Blanc Vermouth, Sweet Vermouth, lemon juice and Italian Amaro in a highball glass. Mix well.

2. Fill the glass to the brim with ice.

3. Top with ginger ale, and stir gently with a bar spoon. Garnish with mint.

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