Cabrito/ Centinela Cocktail Competition 2013: The Heats are really getting Fiery!

We are well into our exciting Centinela Cocktail competition, with the London final taking place at the end of July, and the competition is heating up! We have 3 regional finals in total and the winners from each final will then get to go to Arrandas in Mexico, the home of Casa Centinela & Cabrito, and battle it out to be the ultimate winner for 2013!
Our London finalists are being chosen from internal heats within bars around and so far we have some great people in the final:

Dominik from Evans and Peel with “The Shifting Punch”
Ruairidh & Daniel from Love Jericho in Oxford, with “Pepes Tepache” & “$500 Dollar Fix” respectively
Irene from Beach Blanket Babylon with “Cherry Lady Boy”
Alessio from Drink Shop & Do with “Tiempo Fuera”
Shane from Mokoko with “Papa Don’t Beet Me”
Joe from Hidden Rooms with “Aguamiel”
Csongi from Montgomery Place/Market Place with “El Cordial”

Cabrito Tequila
Cabrito Tequila

Congratulations to all the finalists so far! And to add to this list of amazing talent we have last night’s winner from Made in Camden… And what a fight it was! As my first time up judging a heat for this competition, I got a real insight into the level of thought and creativity that all the bartenders are putting into their creations. With real attention to the taste profile and history of Cabrito (the range used in this heat), the results were delicious and taste-bud-tingling treats for all us judges.

First up was Louis with a real concentration on the nutty notes of Cabrito blanco – using a dry amontillado sherry in the cocktail to really draw out these flavours. Along with this he introduced a little French character (from his home country) into the cocktail, using yellow Chartreuse. Adding his own honey recipe for sweetness and a dash of bitters, he stirred to temper the drink and poured into a Sherry glass.

Next was Teresa, who added a real kick to the competition and introduced flavours from the home of tequila itself by adding chillies to the cocktail! Based on Cabrito blanco – in order to get a pure agave flavour without oak – she added the chillies, simple syrup, Lillet and a splash of fiery bitters. She gave it a quick shake (but not too much!) to get the chilli flavours out and poured into a Coupe glass.

Mexican contender Freddy came next, adding some real fruit to the mix; a watermelon cocktail using fresh watermelon. Freddy wowed us with his history knowledge of Cabrito (the number one tequila in Mexico and one he was very familiar with). Using the blanco, he mashed up the tequila with the watermelon then added Sotol from Mexico (a mezcal-like drink), some orange bitters and fresh lime juice. He gave it a slightly longer shake and poured into a Coupe for a deliciously pink finish.

Last, but of course not least, was Rebecca who brought along her homemade roasted lime, onion and cayenne pepper puree to create a twist on a Bloody Mary. Seasoned with lots of herbs and spices; she was used the reposado and mixed in green tomato juice and some extra chilli sauce. It was served with a shot of spicy tomato juice and was certainly one to blow any cobwebs away!

I hope my brief overview conveyed that it really was a tough one to judge! All were different, had an understanding of

Teresa
Teresa

Cabrito, and tasted great… but after much deliberation we had to make a decision. The winner was the one we thought was a drink that really celebrated Cabrito taste at the heart of the cocktail; showed a consideration to the homeland of Mexico; and was balanced, well thought out and left us wanting several more of the same…. Teresa, with her cocktail “Hellquila”. Congratulations on being the next finalist in our Centinela Cocktail Cup!

The next heat is at Thursday 4th July at the Four Seasons in Canary Wharf! It will be at 2.30pm for anyone in the area that wants to pop in and give them a cheer!

Well done to our winners so far and good luck to all upcoming contenders!

 

By Clare Corlett

Amathus Drinks

Jesus In Town – It Must be Centinela Tequila Time! By Lucy Rundle

Casa CentinelaIt did not escape my notice that a flicker of fear ran through the eyes of those I mentioned “tequila tasting” to. Oh no, doubtless they have memories, albeit blurry, of scantily clad women with holsters and small glasses insisting you down a shot with lemon and salt, whooping and banging on the table then disappearing as fast as your cash. But this was the tequila tradition of the eighties, and not at all the lifestyle we are introduced to at this tasting. In any case, the lovable Mexican from the House of Cabrito & Centinela Tequilas with us today is called Jesus Morasso, and there’s nothing harsh about him.

Jesus Morasso
Jesus Morasso

On the contrary, we learn how this family-owned business makes memories with its tequilas, living life ‘como va’ or ‘as it goes’ – no hurry or sense of urgency, just a careful watch over the Weber Agave plants, planted in the Jalisco region of Mexico – the tequila highlands. There are five tequila regions in Mexico, rather like the delimited areas indicating permitted wines of France (AOCs) amongst which Jalisco is the main player. With its red soil, rich in iron oxide to produce a good concentration of sugars in the agave plant, tequilas from here tend to be fruitier than the more herbaceous tasting tequilas of Mexico’s lowlands.

Having established the first tequila distillery in 1904, the Centinela Family has grown considerably, with agave plantations covering the equivalent of 3,000 football fields to produce 4,000 piñas – or agave hearts – each day in order to make enough tequila for the Casa to reign as the third largest producer, providing Mexico with its most popular tequila.

Time for the taste test! We start with the Cabrito range – this is Mexico’s No. 1 selling tequila and in case you were wondering cabrito means goat (as depicted on the label) and can also be used to describe a rather cool, do-as-he pleases sort of a person – an independent spirit.

Nick Making Cocktails
Nick Making Cocktails

Cabrito Blanco
A clear, bright liquid with fruity flavours of the agave plant and a touch of herbal notes too. This is the ideal mixing tequila really – Nick (see picture) made lovely margaritas with this; freshly squeezed lime juice and a touch of agave syrup for sweetness. They really were refreshing and delicious.

Cabrito Reposado
Reposado tequilas have spent a little time in wood barrels. Ex-bourbon barrels are used as they may only be used once for bourbon, so there is still plenty of flavour to be extracted from the American oak of the barrel. Consequently there is a more spicy and complex palate than the Blanco, and softer mouth-feel.
On to the elegantly packaged Centinela range. (Centinela: The one who defends or protects.)

Centinela Blanco
This blanco tequila had a stronger agave flavour than the Cabrito blanco, along with a real freshness. All the makings of a margarita linger, a hint of mint, salt and lime, although Nick mixed this one with Friché grapefruit soda and served it in a glass with a salt rim. This went down extremely well, possibly as the grapefruit flavour went so well with the agave.

Centinela Reposado
Now we are onto tequilas to spend time with, definitely to be sipped and enjoyed! The Centinela Reposado is my personal favourite, with a bit of a green tea flavour along with cinnamon, toffee, vanilla and a hint of smokiness. Easy to drink, smooth and a lovely, soft mouth-feel.

Centinela Añejo
Ooh, the intensity! This tequila is certainly more complex than the reposado, more closed too, but fuller in body, softer, heaps of vanilla and notes of sweetness – caramel, fudge and toffee. Not sure you would really want to mix this – not to make a margarita anyway, as that would hide some of the delicate flavours derived from more than a year on oak. A proper tequila lover’s tequila.

All tequilas at the tasting are 38% abv.

 

By Lucy Rundle, Amathus Soho
0207 287 5769