The luck of the Irish is with us for the thirteenth issue! May the beer flow green and your shamrock not wilt under the pressure of superstitions. Be wary of the fairies and leprechauns that try and trick you into finding the pot of gold. Hint: it’s not on the roof.
About: Bartender’s Cabinet is dedicated to educating bartenders and enthusiasts about great spirits and quality ingredients. We also focus on having a good time through interacting with those who share an enthusiasm for tasty beverages that come from fine spirits and fresh ingredients.
Logistical Information: Bartender’s Cabinet meets monthly at 320 Main in Seal Beach. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org regarding membership.
Previous Meeting: The name, Tequila Ocho, is a reference to the Spanish word for the number eight, a number that carries great significance for many reasons. Eight specific reasons.
1) The recipe for Ocho was the 8th presented by the Camarenas to Tomas Estes.
2) It takes at least 8 years for agave to fully ripen.
3) The Camarena’s are in their 8th decade of tequila production.
4) The Camarena family includes 8 brothers and sisters.
5) Tequila Ocho is made by Felipe Camarena, a third generation Tequilero,
6) The family partnered with Tomas Estes–the “Ambassador of Tequila to the European Union.”
7) Felipe and Tomas produce tequila that is made the old-fashioned way.
8) The quality spirit reveals the flavor of the agave.
Tequila Ocho is the first tequila to designate both the production year and the precise field from which the agave is sourced, thus demonstrating a tractable ‘terroir’ for tequila; by bottling individual estate agave distillates and showing them along side of each other, the nature and divergent complexity is clearly demonstrated.
Here is the 8 Step Process of producing Tequila Ocho.
1) Agave for Tequila Ocho is grown on unique single estates at varying altitudes under the supervision of the Camerena family. Each field is cared for using a 100% natural process. We use no chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
2) The harvested extra ripe agave (aged 8-10 years) is hand harvest and selected by the Camarenas from the single estate that will represent that vintage. This agave must be perfectly mature, remarkable in color (represented by deep streaks of dark burgundy visible in the piñas) and loaded with adequate sugars.
3) Piñas are delivered from the field to the distillery and prepared to be cooked. They are cut in half and the ‘Cogollo’ (bitter sprout that blossoms to demonstrate the agave’s full maturity) is removed and they are cleaned to minimize bitterness.
4) The piñas are then slow cooked at low heat in old stone ovens for 72 hours which ensures the agave sugars are not burned. Juice from the first 12 hours (called bitter honey) is removed, which further eliminate negative flavors.
5) The cooked piñas are passed through a mill that presses the agave fiber to extracts its juices and natural spring water is added to wash of agave honey.
6) Fermentation takes place in small, open air, wooden vats for 4 to 5 days. Open air fermentation is the old, traditional way ensuring a full, deeper flavor that is uniquely influenced by the natural micro flora around the distillery. This is an all-natural process that utilizes no accelerators, chemicals or artificial yeast. Tequila Ocho’s fermentation is wild, using only airborne yeasts from the surrounding area.
7) Distillation – The first distillation takes place in a 3,500 liter stainless steel still for 2 hours. The heads and tails are cut from this distillate the same as a fine cognac, to ensure only the highest quality spirit goes into the second distillation. The ‘spirit’ from this distillation is called ‘ordinario.’ ‘Ordinario’ cannot be called “tequila” until it is distilled a second time and this second distillation takes place in a small copper still (600 liters) and lasts for about 4 hours.
8) Bottling and Aging; Tequila Ocho offers two aged expressions to the market– Reposado and Añejo. Both are aged at the minimum allowed by law in order to retain as much of the agave flavor as possible. The Reposado is aged 8 weeks and 8 days while the Añejo is laid down for exactly 1 year. Both expressions are aged in 3rd fill, used American whiskey barrels made from American white oak. Then each expression, with its vintage designation and respective point of origin are bottled and hand numbered.
Tequila Ocho is excellent and every vintage tastes a little different.
The Tasty Beverages:
2 oz. Ocho Plata
¼ oz. Crème de Cassis
¼ oz. Jalapeno Bitters
¾ oz. Lime
Fill with Ginger Beer
In a Collins Glass
2 oz. Ocho Reposado
1/2 oz. Benedictine
1/2 oz. Dolin Sweet Vermouth
1 tsp Regan’s Orange Bitters