After months of waiting, we are excited to announce that our book, ¡Hola Tequila!, is so very close to being released. The exact date when the book will be in stores is still to be determined, though the official release is March so they should be there soon. As of right now, you can pre-order at Amazon.
The first review came out two weeks ago thanks to William Dowd. Read it on Dowd on Drinks.
If you have been following this blog, you will have seen many of the amazing photographs that appear in the book, which were shot by Shannon. He did a fantastic job illustrating what I was thinking and that is no easy task; one that could only be done by someone who has worked with me for over a decade. This is why I love working with him! All of the images were shot within the block of our studio and I know that he enjoyed working on the environmental sets that allowed him to get out of the darkness of the studio in August.
For my part, this was a fun book to write and for the 2 months that I worked on it (I know, that’s an insane deadline!) I was engrossed in the subject, there was very little room in my liquor cabinet of a brain to think about much else. I love to write about history and when it came to tequila I took the approach of digging out some of the lesser known points of the spirit’s past. When you dig far enough, there are some very interesting things to be found.
Tequila’s story includes how it is produced and the process seems to me to be the most fascinating of all the distilled spirits produced today. Much of this admiration stems from a press trip I took a few years ago that was put together by DISCUS and took us to a handful of distilleries in Jalisco, Mexico. I’ve been to many distilleries since, but few have impressed me to the extent of tequila. Much of that has to do with the labor required in cultivating the agave and then working it into the fine liquid we know as tequila.
As I do on About.com, I often take a practical approach to cocktails. I like drinks that are attainable by everyone, the ingredients are readily available and most are quite common – you likely have 80% of the ingredients in your bar or kitchen right now. Some of the drinks are brand new, designed specifically for ¡Hola Tequila!, some are favorites from my tequila experiences. You will find Margaritas, both Tequila Sunrises, and the Paloma, plus the newbies like Mint Madre, Piña de Picante, and (a personal favorite) Cilantro-Cucumber Smash. For each main recipe I give ideas for creating variations, many of which involve infusing tequila with herbs and fruits that compliment the cocktail.
Considering that we are talking about tequila, it would not be right to avoid shooters. I included advice for improving on the traditional tequila shot, and the other shooters are each designed to be versatile enough to be served as a sipping drink. My number one pet peeve about shot drinks is that they do not always taste good and I see no point in downing something that tastes like crap no matter how quickly it goes down. I invite you to pour my El Tigre shooter into a cocktail glass… it’s elegant, pretty, and quite tasty.
The other aspect of ¡Hola Tequila! that I am proud of is that it is unbranded. Instead of recommending this brand or that, I encourage you to explore for yourself and find tequilas that you enjoy. The only brand mentions are when they are relevant and important to the story of tequila itself. I feel that it is important for drinkers to explore, learn, and taste for yourself because taste is so subjective. Hopefully, with the information I lay out on the types and regional characteristics of tequilas you will be able to make educated choices in finding great tequilas, as there are far too many available to recommend that this subject could comprise a whole book on its own, though it would become dated far too quickly to be relevant.
Though Shannon was my main support on this project, we had help from others that warrant a mention. First and foremost is our publisher, Sellers Publishing Inc. The entire team there are a joy to work with and I am grateful to have worked with them. Then there is Theresa, a good friend who is an executive chef and sat with us for hours coming up with great garnishes for the photographs. Quite a few of the images were shot inside Montage, our fabulous business neighbor and a divine restaurant with an excellent atmosphere. They opened their doors to us and the space is a photographer’s dream.
I do hope that you enjoy reading ¡Hola Tequila! as much as I enjoyed writing it.