Finally, a Tequila Bad Boy With a Good Heart

Midnight Margarita by Jens Kerger
Midnight Margarita by Jens Kerger

Tequila has a bad boy reputation in the US. Though it is one that is not technically deserved, given that most tequila available in the states is only 80 proof. Tapatio 110 Blanco (a.k.a. “B110”) is one of the first overproof tequilas on the US market, but that’s not all is it has going for it.

Tapatio 110 is a collaboration between Marko Karakasevic of Charbay Distillery and Winery in the Napa Valley, California and Carlos Camarena, the 4th generation Master Distiller of Tapatio Tequila in Arandas, Mexico. Higher proof, when well-executed, also means fuller flavor. Karakasevic, who also produces a line of excellent cask strength whiskeys in California, had long been acquainted with the distillery, a local favorite. He wanted to create a spirit with more intensity, and more cocktail possibilities that would stand up to bolder ingredients. The proof certainly contributes to B110’s audacity, but it’s also about the flavor.

Tapatio 110 is currently only available from select retailers in blanco form, but rumor has it reposado and añejo are in the works using ex-Charbay whiskey barrels for aging!


How it tastes

Amanda’s notes:

nose - clove, allspice, pepper with a hint of bittersweet chocolate, pear and earth

palate - sweet pear, apricot, mushroom, olive, pie spice, high-percentage, high octane dark chocolate

Jens’ notes:

nose - slight olive, spicy hot

palate - olives, slightly nutty, cachaca- sweet, apricot

Violent Red by Jens Kerger
Violent Red by Jens Kerger

The cocktails by Jens Kerger

Violent Red

- 40ml (2 oz) Tapatio 110

- 150g (5.3oz) or ~10-12 pitted cherries

~ 6-7 leaves of arugula

- 1.5 T roasted pine nuts

- 1 tsp balsamico tradizionale

Method: In a blender, pulse cherries with Tapatio, arugula and balsamico tradizionale. Add pine nuts and a handful of cracked ice (not too much) and blend again, serve in double rocks glass

Garnish: caramelized fig*1 and a cherry (Amanda’s note: Jens is fancy, but the garnish is worth it. But just using the cherry is fine too.)

It's quite different, but suits the deep flavor profile of the Tapatio well. The cherries underline the fruity tones, while the balsamico (do use quality and if you cannot get balsamico tradizionale, use balsamico creme, as the sweetness is closer to the flavor profile of original balsamico) acts as a binding agent between the cherries and the arugula.

Food pairing: We recommend fried bacon wrapped goat cheese on the side.

Midnight Margarita

- 50ml (2 oz) Tapatio 110

- 30ml (1/2 oz) lemon juice

- 20ml (2/3 oz) honey sugar syrup*2

- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

- kiwi wheel

- pepper mix*3

Bacon Wrapped Goat Cheese
Bacon Wrapped Goat Cheese

Method: Place all liquids and the thyme in a Boston Shaker, add ice and shake well, double strain into double rocks glass with pepper mix rim and filled with cracked ice.

Decoration: pepper mix*3 rim and a kiwi wheel

The honey sugar syrup together with the pepper takes the Margarita twist to a whole new level. Deep, complex flavors, just let it all sit on ice for round about 10 minutes, so the dilution is at the right level.

*1 caramelized fig: half a fig in a pre-heated pan, caramelized with butter, palm sugar and a touch of cinnamon

*2 honey sugar syrup: 1 part fir honey, 1 part palm sugar and 2 parts water, let it simmer in a sauce pan below boiling, cool down

*3 pepper mix: 2 parts long pepper and 1 part cubeb, ground in a mortar (Amanda's note: Tajin Mexican seasoning would work in a pinch.)