I’ve been lucky enough to get samples of a few different tequilas recently and I decided it was time to do something about it.
No, not drink them! Wait…yes, drink them, taste them, mix with them, see what happens with them.
One thing is not like the other…
…yes, one of these is a mini. Partida only sent a mini of their tequila, while the other three (inocente, Jose Cuervo Silver, and Tequila Ocho) sent fifths. Unfortunately, that meant I couldn’t experiment as much as I’d like with Partida, but you take what you can. (And keep that in mind – if you want cocktail bloggers to actually make COCKTAILS with your liquor, you need to provide enough for us to work with, and odds are, you won’t send enough in minis.)
I went with my usual way of experimenting with new liquors – smell, straight without ice, straight with ice, and in a mixed drink. Obviously, given Tiare’s post, the liquor, and the fact that tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, I had to go with the margarita as my drink!
Ahhh, my UVA glasses…wahoowah.
I’d tried the Tequila Ocho once or twice in the past, and Gina down at PS7 had hooked me up with tastes of the inocente. The Cuervo had yet to be cracked, though I like their Tradicional (but note this was the only one that wasn’t advertised as 100% blue agave), and I couldn’t recall having tried the Partida before. So it was time to sniff.
First off, look at the colors, if you can see them there. The Partida is by far the most yellow, the color of straw, and the inocent had a slight hint of yellow as well. The others were blanco – white.
Sniffing them, the Partida seemed very smooth. The Ocho I wanted to say was more floral, definitely more complex, but a bit more of an alcohol smell on it. The Jose Cuervo Silver – uh, do not smell this one at length. The inocente is complex, not as floral as the Ocho but a bit more earthy maybe.
Then to taste. I used to always shoot tequila but I had a girlfriend for a while that was from Texas and she managed to switch me to enjoying it on its own. I looked forward to this part most of all.
Partida is smooth, very smooth, just a slight burn on it. I’d have no problem recommending it.
The Ocho had no real burn at all, slightly floral taste. It was also quite good and I’d recommend trying it this way.
The Cuervo – no. In fact, to quote my notes: “no no no no no no”.
The inocente was more complex than even the Ocho, with a hint of floral and an earthy taste. To be honest, for me, leaving out the Cuervo, it was a toss-up between which is the best. Like most straight liquors, it depends on what you like.
Next I added a single ice cube to each of them. I let it sit for a minute – often times the water/ice combination changes the flavor of the liquor.
The Partida, in fact, seemed to me to show even more complexity with a bit of water in it. I also noticed a bit more burn on the first taste of it, but not on the second, so that might’ve been just a bit of a fluke. It’s a throw up which I’d prefer.
The Ocho was lighter than it had been before but still good – you could taste the floral in it but it wasn’t overwhelming. I’d prefer it without the ice, myself.
Then we were onto the Cuervo again.
[21:10] SeanMike: oh dear god now it’s time for the jose cuervo again
[21:10] my friend: hahaha
Yes, I was a bit biased going into it but let me quote my notes again:
* Jose Cuervo Silver – no – gasoline – yuck
It was advertised a shooting tequila and – yeah. Don’t linger on this one.
The inocente, with the ice, seemed to retain its complexity with the ice and did have a bit more burn. Like the Ocho, I’d go without the ice, myself.
Finally, it was time for margaritas. Unfortunately for the Partida, which I’d be interersted to see how it tastes, I was out of it – so it was just the other three. I used the recipe from Gary Regan’s The Joy of Mixology.
1 1/2 ounces white tequila
1 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce lime juice
I used Cointreau for the triple sec and squeezed fresh limes.
Made with the Ocho, it made for a good, if not anything inspiring. It was good, but nothing I’d jump up and down about it. I dunno. Maybe I was spoiled by the mezcal margaritas from Marshall‘s recipe on Friday night…
The Cuervo – I initially wanted not to like it. But the more I tried it, the more I’d say “it’s not bad” – it had more personality, perhaps, than the Ocho, but it also had more of a “off” taste to me in addition. So – yeah – 50-50 – more taste, but also more bad taste to it. Not bad, but not great. I’m betting if you added something more to it – maybe some orange bitters, for instance – it wouldn’t be half-bad. (And if you’re one of those heathens using the HFCS-infused neon-green mixtures, well, it won’t matter so much.)
The inocente won out overall. It has a bit of complexity that sticks out through the lime juice and Cointreau, while not overwhelmed by the problems of the Cuervo.
Overall results: The Cuervo was advertised a shooter tequila and was the only one not made from 100% blue agave (according to the bottles). It, perhaps predictably, also fared the worst in taste, and really didn’t have much to recommend it. If I can find something to make with it, I’ll suggest it, but it might be something more complex than a margarita.
The Partida wasn’t bad, especially over ice. For a sipping tequila, I’d recommend it if you wanted it over ice, but I’m still interested how it’d do in a margarita.
Between the Ocho and the inocente, it depends on what you prefer, personally, but I think overall I have to go with the inocente if you wanted to also make margaritas with it.