The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2012

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Page 128 of 132

but not overbearing, allowing the pepper's flavor to be softened by the delicacy of the smooth, finely distilled blanco. Clean, clear and with a pale hint of green, it delivers a snappy, peppery taste (but not five alarm!) with a touch of sweetness, finding the natural connection between tequila and jalapeños and leaving the desire for more of these well-balanced pepper and agave flavors. Tanteo Tropical is a 100% agave blanco tequila infused by hand, like all the Tanteo expressions, with a natural blend of mango, pineapple and guanabana (soursop). For Rojewski, this blend of fruits was evocative of "Mexican fruit carts with the a little salt and a little jalapeño added to the tropical flavors." Complementing the whole spirit, this infusion has been constructed on the sweet and spicy background of Tanteo Jalapeño, mod- erating the pepper with the fruit. It is complicated with a sophisticated finish, probably the work of the guanabana, with its highly aromatic vanilla notes. Who can think of the flavors of Mexico without mole? Completing this trinity, the third infusion, Cocoa, is raw cocoa-meets-tequila with an unexpected but remarkably welcome jalapeño back. It is unique and delicious. This entrepreneur-surfer caught the right wave. Years of honing his palate by exploring foods and flavors (espe- cially the spicy notes); the new food movement exalting "authentic" foods and flavors; the public's love of tequila and our new golden age of mixology— all have come together for Jonathan Rojewski and his Tanteo Tequilas. Just as Tanteo Tequilas were market- ready, mixology had become the haute couture of the beverage business. Also providing a giant push for the brand is the seemingly unending growth in the popularity of spicy cocktails. According to Rojewski, "The trick has been to bring a product to market that is truly differentiated in a well-known category that expands usage among consum- ers. It's good to be different, and even better to be first!" Tanteo Spices Up Cocktails at NYC's The Wayland Manhattan's Alphabet City may be on the upswing with its trendy bars and eateries, but it's still like a down-home village within the city. Opened just five months ago, nabe newcomer The Wayland keeps it real—from the honest cocktail menu to the 19th-century reclaimed wood interior. It's the perfectly unpreten- tious place for Tanteo Tequila, says mixologist Jason Mendenhall, who owns the bar with Chef Robert Ceraso. "We're sort of quirky and like using flavor combinations you wouldn't think go together, but that make sense when you have them together. " And Tanteo's trio of infused tequilas—Jalapeño, Cocoa and Tropical—are excellent base spirits for bringing those fusions together, he adds. Mendenhall previously worked with the tequila developing the cocktail program in a Mexican restaurant, where he was challenged to make Tanteo stand up against the food, but not so much that it overwhelmed in the glass. "Tequila can be a hard spirit HEAT IN JALISCO ◗ 2 oz. Tanteo Jalapeño ◗ 1 oz. fresh lime juice ◗ ¼ oz. agave nectar ◗ Fresh mango purée to mix ◗ ¼ oz. roasted cardamom syrup Jason Mendenhall, co-owner and mixologist at The Wayland, with his "Heat in Jalisco" cocktail. to work with. It's a strong flavor and doesn't really play well with others, but the fresh ingredi- ent movement at the bar has helped. There's a lot of science to how they do the infusions with layers and reblending, and they bring it to a place where it makes sense," he said. Mendenhall uses all three infusions, first intrigued by Tanteo Cocoa (he recommends serving over hand-hewn ice) before getting hooked on Tanteo Jalapeño. "The Jalapeño gives you all the things you want: white pepper, fresh broken pepper under your nose and spice in the mid- to back-palate. You get all the flavors in the mouth and a good long finish." The peppery infusion is the base of his new summer cocktail, "Heat in Jalisco." —Lana Bortolot ◗ Mix all together and shake vigorously; pour over ice. Garnish with fresh mint and skewered slice of jalapeño. 128 / the tasting panel / july 2012 PHOTO: DOUG YOUNG

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