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Alcohol Drinks

Azulana Is The First Sparkling Tequila On The Market

Canned cocktails have been quietly making a splash on the spirits scene in recent years. They have more flavor than hard seltzer without all the work of making a craft cocktail at home. Pure Azul Beverage Company recently launched its entry into the market with Azulana, a ready-to-drink sparkling tequila beverage.

It is said to be the first sparkling ready-to-drink beverage crafted using 100% blue agave tequila on the market. “Our goal was to take a spirit so rich in heritage and offer it in a way that ultimately speaks to today’s modern tequila enthusiast,” says Henry Morita, CEO and Co-Founder of Azulana. “We are incredibly proud to introduce this contemporary, craft cocktail to consumers.”

Tequila sales in the U.S. continue to grow, In 2017, the US saw an 8.5% increase in tequila liter sales over the previous year, according to the Distilled Spirits Council. Likewise, the demand for ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages continues to rise rapidly. Canned wine alone now represents a near $50 million business.

Produced in Guadalajara, Mexico, the decision to produce Azulana in the region (known as the “birthplace of tequila”) was crucial to the brand, as they aimed to authentically integrate the region’s rich heritage and history, while also contributing to the local economy through its production, manufacturing and distribution.

In support of the farmers that make the product possible, the brand has developed a program that will include donating 5% of all profits to initiatives within Former Mexican President Vincente Fox’s Foundations, including CentroFox and Crisma, which offers pediatric rehabilitation, mechanotherapy, hydrotherapy, and speech therapy for adults and children.

Available in original, lime and pineapple rosemary, each 12-oz. can of Azulana is 4.3% ABV and contains 145 calories.

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Desserts Are Stunning Works of Art At This Mexican Sweets Shop

Imagine digging into a sweet treat that looks like it was a patch of forest transplanted right onto your plate. Peculiar on paper, I’m sure, but extend your thoughts further and envision the delicious tastes of pine honey, matcha, forest fruits, and clouds of sugar hitting your palate as you look at what seems to be growing mushrooms and forest moss. Though this was hard to conceptualize at first, I soon enough realized the sweet sorcery being wielded by Chef Fernanda Covarubbias and her team at La Postreria in Guadalajara, Mexico, with each whimsical bite of their desserts.

In this episode of Taste the Details, I experience the philosophy behind La Postreria, which is a reverence for desserts while also challenging the very notion of how we think they should be made or presented. Results come in the form of ethereal assemblages of confections, chic pillars of sweets, and enticing presentations that stimulate our eyes as much as our palates. Here, clever innovation is met with equal parts tried and true technique.

Though La Postreria is a veritable hatchery for off the wall modernism and deviation, these very concepts are nurtured by an approach rooted in respect for premium, unadulterated ingredients and the utmost care given to even the most minute details in temperature and texture. All of these tasty details were a good reminder that life is in fact, as sweet as we make it.

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Having Never Had Cholula Before, I Went Straight To Mexico To Taste the Source

 

I’ll admit it: I am not much of a hot sauce fanatic, and I can not handle the spice. My Korean ancestors are probably shaking their heads at me unfortunately, but it is what it is. With ketchup as my main condiment of choice for over 25 years, I have only recently decided to let my tastebuds venture to more flavors that fall under the same red color, but with scorching differences. From Sriracha to Tapatio to Tabasco, these new hot sauces were such interesting experiences in my mouth. However, when it was time to try Cholula, my friends enthusiastically and passionately gushed about how it was the best hot sauce. They would pull out mini bottles from their purses, and coworkers would reveal full-sized ones from out of their desk drawers. Clearly this wasn’t just a hot sauce — this was a lifestyle. Thus, you can imagine that when the opportunity came to go straight to the source for a Cholula-filled weekend, I absolutely jumped on that Cholula train straight to Mexico for my first official taste.

Two plane rides and three in-flight movies later, I checked into my hotel in Guadalajara, freshened up, and headed to cocktails and (most importantly) appetizers. Warm empanadas, seasoned chips, and fresh ceviche were spread across the bar beautifully, with the edges lined with Cholula bottles. I picked one up, only to realize that there were different flavors of Cholula, a concept I hadn’t even thought of before this moment! I took this as my opportunity to get the perfect first taste, when I bumped into a vivacious woman with a raspy voice. Araceli, who I later found out is the Director of Public Relations for Jose Cuervo as well as our generous hostess for the evening, exuded her genuine love for Cholula, her work, and her heritage as a whole.

“If you ever want to be the life of the party, always carry a bottle of Cholula with you in your bag. Take it out during a meal and you will for sure be the center of attention – I carry mini bottles in all of my purses!”

After I expressed that I had yet to actually try Cholula, she warmly encouraged me to taste it, handing over a bottle of the original flavor. I decided to drizzle it lightly onto a plain tortilla chip, and with my first bite, I was in Cholulove. There was a certain kick to the sauce that I had yet to experience with any other hot sauces, and the flavor didn’t overpower; it added dimension. It was spicy and complementary, and I knew this would be the first of many bottles I’d consume over the weekend.

Bright and early the next morning, we made our way down to Chapala to visit the Cholula factory, where we were given a quick history lesson, as well as a tour. We put on our gloves, hairnets, and facemasks, and were warned that the first room is extremely hot and that the spices might be a bit much for our senses. As we walked into the room with the highest quality arbol and piquin peppers, I choked back tears and held my breath (because I ain’t no baby). The peppers had already been sun-dried under constant supervision for about three days, and I watched as two workers drained a huge vat of the sun-dried and soaked peppers, conveying them over to another worker who had a hose in one hand and a brush in the other. He carefully washed and separated each pile of peppers in a way that retained quality and flavor, and then sent them off to the facility’s mill where they’d be meticulously ground into a paste.

Moving downstairs, we saw huge metal chambers where the peppers were being mixed for consistency, and blended to achieve that signature flavor. Once the blending is complete, the sauce undergoes a rigorous quality control process. Once its fully met the brand’s highest standards, the Cholula is sent to the bottling area.

If you could imagine Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory but with Cholula, that was basically what I walked into. I was absolutely mesmerized by the huge contraptions lining up bottles, evenly distributing sauce, slapping on labels to perfection, and capping each bottle with Cholula’s distinctive wooden cap. Each bottle was separated by hand on the conveyor belt before moving on to final packaging, and it was hypnotizing to see it go from the peppers straight to our tables for a fresh tasting.

Using jicama, popcorn, chips, and cucumbers as neutral tasting foods, we tried each of the six hot sauce flavors on the patio of the factory: Original, Green Pepper, Chipotle, Chili Lime, Chili Garlic, and Sweet Habanero. The crowd favorite was Green Pepper, which I understood in a larger scope of things, as it tasted like salsa verde with a little kick, but my favorite had to be the Chili Lime. With a perfect blend of heat and tang, the Chili Lime took the win, and the Chili Garlic came in close second. After tasting five out of the six, we had the Sweet Habanero left, and I was not ready for it, as I took a hefty dip into it with my jicama. My taste buds felt betrayed, as the sweet chili flavor hit my lips innocently, only to have the habanero heat come at me without any warning; it basically took over my lips, mouth, tongue, and throat, and it was a wild ride that I did not sign up for.

Nevertheless though, it was pretty lit (get it).

From our evening cocktails to our American-style brunch at the Cholula La Fonda restaurant in Tequila, Cholula was a part of any and every dish you could possibly imagine. The flavour was never overbearing, but rather complementary (even in the cucumber-habanero sorbet we had at the Cholula restaurant – yes, you read that right). Having never tasted Cholula before, I was absolutely spoiled with my flavorful adventures in Mexico, but I am confident in being a self-proclaimed Cholula connoisseur for life!

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This Train Is A One-Way Ticket Deep Into The World Of Tequila


Knowing the ins and outs of a food makes you appreciate it even more. If you’re a huge tequila aficionado and want to have that level of knowledge, you need to check out Jalisco.

This western Mexican state is where most of the tequila you sip on comes from, and the agave farmers here take pride in turning their sweet plants into the popular spirit. If you find yourself in Guadalajara, Jalisco’s capital, you have a unique opportunity to dive deep into the world of tequila by visiting these farms and distilleries in person.

What you want to look for is the ‘Jose Cuervo Express,’ a tequila train that runs between Guadalajara and Tequila, the birthplace of the agave-based liquor. No matter what package you purchase prior to boarding, there’s a variety of tasting opportunities on the two-hour ride.

Hosts guide you on how to identify the different notes of tequila in a special tasting. Guests sample different tequilas based on their point in the aging process, from light tequila to the “rested” reposado and the vintage anejo.

If you want to get more creative with your drinks, head to the open bar. They use tequila to create a variety of beverages, from classic drinks like margaritas to customized drinks per your request.

To go with your spirits is a round platter of traditional Mexican antojitos, or appetizers. Beans, guacamole, carnitas, and cheese are just some of the items available.

Once you arrive in Tequila, you can visit the vast Jose Cuervo agave fields to see the plants in person. You can also see a live demonstration of how the agave is cut to properly make tequila.

The train schedule allows for time to visit the city of Tequila itself, as well as the Jose Cuervo distillery. A tour takes you through the step-by-step process of making the spirit, and you can sample more of it as well as the oven-cooked agave to differentiate between the two.

The experience is the ultimate day trip for tequila lovers, as it’s a full immersion into the process of the beverage from start to finish.


Created in partnership with Visit Guadalajara 

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This Guadalajara Pizza Spot Makes EPIC Mexican-Inspired Pizzas

When traveling to a cultural and food haven like Guadalajara, Mexico, you can expect to find plenty of delicious, authentic regional fare. You may just not expect to find it in the form of a pizza.

Enter Pizzas del Perro Negro, where they have a variety of pies inspired by traditional Mexican favorites.

There’s the Torta Ahogada Pizza, which takes the spicy pork, beans, and three different ahogada salsas from Guadalajara’s signature sandwich and piles it on top of a pie with marinated onions and lime.

Pizzas del Perro Negro’s Chile Relleno Pizza comes crowned with a whole cheese-stuffed, fried chile on every slice. There’s also sour cream and a fiery red tomatillo sauce available to help capture how the chiles are typically served.

You can also get a Chilaquiles Pizza, laden with beans and a whole layer of chilaquiles made with salsa verde, chicken, onions, and cheese, topped with a healthy drizzle of sour cream.

Pizzas del Perro Negro’s Mexican pies blend together cuisines, but do so with a stroke of authenticity and technique. Their pizza base is quintessential to how contemporary pizzas should be, especially nailing that chewy, airy crust. However, the flavors are still inherently Mexican and retain that essence without sacrificing identity.

You really are getting the best of both worlds with these Mexican-inspired pizzas.

If you find yourself in other parts of Mexico, Pizzas del Perro Negro also has locations in Mexico City, Sonora, and Merida, in case you find yourself craving a slice of these mouth-watering Mexican ‘zas.

Photos by Reach Guinto


Created in partnership with Go To Guadalajara