The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2014

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Page 105 of 136

december 2014  /  the tasting panel  /  105 Bottled at 110 proof, rather than the traditional 80 proof, El Luchador Blanco packs a punch, but with surprising depth and complexity. Luscious, velvety agave flavors mingle with spicy black pepper notes. Lemon dances with sea foam over a layer of coconut nougat. On the finish, spice returns with lemongrass and white pepper, with just a hint of dried mint lift at the end to prepare your palate for another sip. Ravandi brings more than twenty years of tequila-making experience to El Luchador. He felt it was important to offer a distiller's-proof tequila, not only for the flavor, but for its mixability. "The higher proof is appreciated by tequila con- noisseurs who drink it neat," Ravandi explains, "but it is also perfect for the elite mixologist who is looking for extra depth in their cocktails." As part of the Day of the Dead festivities at Oyamel, guests were treated to several El Luchador cocktails, named after El Santo, a famous luchador featured in several Mexican movies, which were played on screens throughout the restaurant. The first cocktail, Santo's Oyamel Margarita, combined El Luchador with a refreshing mix of triple sec and lime with a topping of "salt air," a sea foam topping that perfectly complemented the saline minerality that shines through El Luchador Blanco. The second cocktail, a twist on the Palmona called Santo en Atacan las Brujas, or Santo in "The Witches Attack," played well with El Luchador's fruit and floral char- acteristics, as it blended with a house-made grapefruit and lavender soda. In each of the cocktails, the true agave flavor of the tequila was the top-note, and the cocktails seemed to retain their flavors even as they were diluted a bit from the ice. Servers and bartenders, wearing custom handmade luchador masks, mingled with the crowd. Live rumba and salsa music punctuated the party, with several guests, cocktails in hand, showing off their best dance moves. As one would expect from José Andrés, the food was also amazing. Food stations were set up throughout the restaurant so that guests could enjoy signature ceviches, tacos and fresh-made guacamole, and even a whole-roasted pig. Spicy and peppery elements in the food were perfectly off-set by the cooling libations, bringing out El Luchador's mix of savory and sweet. The question remains whether El Luchador Blanco will be joined by Reposado and Añejo versions in the future. Ravandi simply flashed a devilish smile and said, "No details yet, but yes, they are in the works." Dating back to the time of the Aztecs, the Day of the Dead Mexican holiday celebrates and honors friends and family members who have departed with offerings of food, drinks and gifts. This year, Oyamel will honor Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta, widely known as El Santo, Mexico's legendary luchador wrestler, folk icon and actor. He is credited with popularizing professional wrestling and is commonly portrayed as a symbol of justice in his many films and comic books. He died in 1984, at the age of 66, a week after removing his famous silver mask on live television. His funeral remains among the most significant and ceremonious services in Mexican History. Santo en Atacan las brujas (Santo in "The Witches Attack) El Luchador Organic Tequila with a grapefruit-lavender soda Pescado Veracruz Wild fish in a Veracruz style sauce of tomato confit, caramelized pearl onions, garlic, capers and olives Huatape de Hongos Locally foraged mushrooms sautéed and served over an herbaceous masa sauce of epazote, sorrel and jalapeño Ancas de Rana en Mole Verde Cured frog legs fried in a crispy batter over a green mole of tomatillos, sesame seeds and serrano chiles with a salad of frisee Puerco en Chile Morita Local baby pig roasted in a salsa of chile morita Mole de Olla con Rebo de Res Local ox tail braised in a vegetable stew with local vegetables Bistec con Pasilla Local hanger steak over a sauté of cactus paddle, sweet potato, pasilla negra salsa and cured egg emulsion Arroz con Leche Rice pudding with orange, vanilla and canela, served with a rice cream espuma Oyamel is excited to debut El Luchador Organic Tequila, a spirit created by David Ravandi, founder of 123 Organic Tequila, and inspired by the famed, masked luchadores of Mexico. Like the unique traditions of the luchador, this unique distill-proof Organic Blanco tequila was created with the tequila connoisseur in mind. Santo contra los zombies (Santo vs. the Zombies) El Luchador Organic Tequila, 123 Organic Tequila Blanco, 123 Organic Tequila Añejo, D'Aristi, Combier L'Original, orange, lemon and pomegranate From the Bar Specials One of the most popular signature El Luchador Organic Tequila cocktails was the Santo contra los Zombies, which was featured on this printed menu and also used David Ravandi's other brand, 123 Organic Blanco and Añejo Tequilas. Santo's Oyamel Margarita combined El Luchador with a refreshing mix of triple sec and lime with a topping of "salt air," a sea foam topping that perfectly complemented the saline minerality that shines through El Luchador Blanco. Made by Jasmine Chai ◗ 1 oz. El Luchador ◗ ½ oz. 123 Organic Tequila Blanco ◗ ½ oz. 123 Organic Tequila Anejo ◗ ½ oz. Combier L'Original ◗ ½ oz. Velvet Falernum ◗ ¼ oz. D'Aristi ◗ 2 oz. orange juice ◗ 1 oz. lemon juice ◗ ½ oz. pomegranate Glass: Hurricane Glass Garnish: Orange Moon & Pineapple Leaf Ice: Crushed PHOTO: DAN SWARTZ SANTO VS. THE ZOMBIES

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