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Espolón Tequila Cocktails and Taco Trucks for Cinco de Mayo

Following its 2009 purchase by Gruppo Campari, cult favorite Espolón Tequila was reintroduced to the United States last year with new packaging and a lower price point. Now managed in the U.S. by Skyy Spirits, Espolón recently sent its Blanco and Reposado releases for review, along with recipes from three top mixologists to liven up this week’s Cinco de Mayo festivities (see below).

On the nose, the Espolón Tequila Blanco is delicate and sweet, with floral notes, and hints of tropical fruit and citrus. The palate is soft and light- to medium-bodied, with subtle agave, and some pepper and vanilla. The finish is clean with a bit of spice. The Espolón Blanco was recently awarded Best Silver Tequila (Double Gold Medal) at the 2011 San Francisco Spirits Competition, and scored 93 points at the 2011 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.

The gold-colored Espolón Tequila Reposado (which is aged six months in American oak barrels) begins with a spicy nose of caramel and a hint of chocolate. The rounded mouthfeel has a medium- to full-bodied palate, with notes of roasted agave, banana, vanilla and brown spices. The finish is not particularly long but has a sweet and spicy fade.

The Espolón distillery in San Nicolas (NOM 1440), remains the same under the guidance of Master Distiller Cirilo Oropeza, though Espolón’s fabled heat has reportedly been tempered. Both expressions are certainly approachable and mixable, and with the Espolón Blanco and Reposado retail priced at just $24.99, and stores like BevMo discounting them to $19.99, Espolón is ideal for those seeking a “bang for your buck” tequila for mixing.

For an in-depth tasting of the new Espolón Tequila releases, check out the Tequila Whisperer’s review. A particularly interesting segment in the video clip comes around the 29:30 mark, when Lippy opens a bottle of the old (pre-Skyy Spirits) Espolón Reposado for a taste comparison.

Espolón Tequila Blanco

  • 80 Proof (40% ABV)
  • 750ml bottle
  • Retail price: $24.99

Espolón Tequila Reposado

  • 80 Proof (40% ABV)
  • 750ml bottle
  • Retail price: $24.99

For more information, visit www.tequilaespolon.com.


Carnitas and Eric Alperin's Bebida de Puebla: a match made in taco truck heaven. | Photo: Young Yun

Espolón Tequila Cocktails
To liven up this year’s Cinco de Mayo festivities, Espolón Tequila asked mixologists from Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York to create cocktails to pair with taco truck offerings in their respective cities: Eric Alperin, H. Joseph Ehrmann and Adam Schuman.

Bebida de Puebla

Bebida de Puebla
Eric Alperin (The Varnish) created his subtly smoky Bebida de Puebla to pair with hearty pulled pork, and the cocktail’s coffee liqueur is matched by the mildly sweet seasoning of the meat. Though it’s inspired by the famed Kogi BBQ Spicy Pork Tacos, Alperin’s cocktail could just as easily go with other L.A. favorites like the carnitas at Highland Park’s La Estrella taco truck, or the Yucatan Pork Tacos from the Border Grill Truck.

BEBIDA DE PUEBLA
Created by Eric Alperin
Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Espolón Tequila Reposado
  • .25 oz. Benedictine Liqueur
  • .25 oz. Coffee Liqueur
  • .5 oz. Lustau “Los Arcos” Dry Amontillado Sherry
  • Lemon Peel

Directions:

  • Stir all ingredients with ice in a chilled mixing glass.
  • Strain into a chilled coupe.
  • Spray and garnish with a lemon peel.

Sidra de la Mula

Sidra de la Mula
H. Joseph Ehrmann (Elixir) set out to create a simple, refreshing cocktail to pair with San Francisco’s El Tonayense Taco truck. For this variation of the Gin-Gin Mule, Ehrmann swaps out the ginger beer with Sidral Mundet, the popular apple-flavored Mexican soft drink. The light and drinkable Sidra de la Mula (“Apple Cider Mule”) pairs with the citrus notes of the Pollo Asado Taco.

SIDRA DE LA MULA
Created by H. Joseph Ehrmann
Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz. Espolón Tequila Blanco
  • 12 oz. Bottle of Sidral Mundet
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 squeeze of a Lemon Slice

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a 16 oz. glass of ice and stir.

Bucking Borracho

Bucking Borracho
Adam Schuman, the Beverage Director for New York’s Fatty Crew (Fatty ‘Cue, Fatty Crab), is familiar with pairing cocktails with unusual spices and ingredients. Schuman’s slightly sweet, slightly sour Bucking Borracho is ideally suited to the rich and complex flavors of the Braised Tacos de Lengua from Brooklyn’s El Diablo Taco Truck.

BUCKING BORRACHO
Created by Adam Schuman
Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Espolón Tequila Reposado
  • .25 oz. Ginger Syrup
  • .5 oz. Lemon Juice
  • .5 oz. Lime Juice
  • 2 dashes Blended Chocolate Bitters (equal parts Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate and Bitter Truth Xocolatl Bitters)
  • 1.5 oz. Ginger Beer
  • Lemon Slice
  • Mint Sprig

Directions:

  • In a shaker mix tequila, ginger syrup, lemon juice, lime juice and chocolate bitters with ice.
  • Shake and strain into an iced highball, leaving enough room to top with chilled ginger beer.
  • Garnish with lemon and mint.

Cocktail recipes and photos courtesy Espolón Tequila. Carnitas photo by Pabo76, used with permission through CC BY-NC 2.0.

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