Unless you’re very lucky, your first experience of tequila probably went something like this: a shot was poured from a bottle wearing a red-plastic sombrero. Lemon and salt were likely involved. You licked the salt, tossed back the shot, sucked the lemon, then giddily repeated a few more times, resulting in a headache the following day so strong that you swore off tequila for good (that oath probably wouldn’t stick).
But more recently, Ausse drinkers have become better acquainted with this agave-based spirit. And Tiva wants to help that journey along, with a 30-strong collection of tequilas that could very well turn you into a devoted tequila-swiller.
Jonothan Carr, Etymon’s director of bars, says tequila is a celebration drink – so you were on the right track if you were throwing back those shots at a party. But it’s the highest-quality stuff that’s traditionally on the pour if celebrating is the end game. That good gear is made from the agave plant, which can take more than eight years to grow.
“There is something special about tequila and that translates to how it affects you. If it’s consumed respectfully, it’s delicious and uplifting,” says Carr. The quality tequila is 100% blue agave – whereas up to 49% of that hangover-inducing stuff might not even be tequila!
Tiva’s bar is well-stocked with tequila – the good stuff – and it’s served both straight-up and in cocktails. Carrs wants to make top-notch tequila – including the Clase Azul Reposado, a lovingly made tequila in an eye-catching hand-painted blue-and-white decanter – accessible, and build cocktails that bring out the best in the spirit.
Have we convinced you to give tequila another shot yet? Order a reposado tequila – tequila that’s aged for between two and 12 months in an oak barrel – neat or on the rocks. At Tiva reposado options include the aforementioned Clase Azul, as well as bottles from Don Julio and Fortaleza.
“If you like the reposado it would be worth trying an anejo tequila [aged from one to three years in an oak barrel] to sip on, as they are well-aged and have characteristics similar to fine whiskies and cognac, with their own underlying style,” says Carr.
A cocktail fan? Reboot your tequila journey via a cocktail made with blanco tequila – Tiva’s take on the Margarita, say. And though you might have chased tequila with lemon back in the day, let Carr suggest some more … enjoyable foods to accompany your drinks.
“Sip on a reposado and enjoy the sebago crisps with whipped bottarga, or get a Tommy’s Margarita and our delicious Burger Royale,” he says. Bonus: Tommy’s are $12 and Burger Royales $10 during Tiva’s Twilight Hours.
So how does tequila maestro Carr enjoy the spirit?
“For me, sipping on a Fortaleza Anejo and listening to live jazz on a Wednesday night at Tiva is something quite special.”