The Tasting Panel magazine

Nov 09

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Page 12 of 92

I t's easier to drink tequila than to make it, but longtime Texas friends Ron Park and Ben Gonzales had to fi nd out for themselves. The two amigos had spent years enjoying tequila fl ights at local Corpus Christi and Victoria, Texas, hangouts, until one day they thought they could do it better. The friends took various pilgrimages to Jalisco, Mexico, to learn the 400-year-old-art of tequila-making. After three distillers, they now feel they've got it right. Along with partners Ashly Kubicek and Page Brockman, Park and Gonzales have teamed up with "master tequilier" Ana María Romero and distiller Cesar Gonzáles in Los Altos to create El Grado, a premium te- quila made from 100% highland agaves. A blanco, reposado, and añejo are currently available, with a super-añejo and a pink-hued sherry barrel–aged El Grado Rosa on the horizon. But it was the handsomely-bottled El Grado Añejo that got our attention. Aged for 15 months in Jack Daniel's whiskey barrels, this light gold 80 proof spirit is both fl oral and peppery, with a rough-hewn fresh agave taste in the fi nish. Priced at approxi- mately $45, it is distributed in Texas, Arizona and California by Republic National Distributing Company. —Richard Carleton Hacker Industry Spotlight El Grado Añejo Makes the Grade 12 / the tasting panel / november  2009 PHOTO: RICHARD CARLETON HACKER Patrón Moments Patrón sponsored the San Diego Film Festival last month. Here are a couple of celebrity shots. James Van Der Beek won the Best Actor award for his role in Formosa Betrayed, the true-to-life story of FBI agent Jake Kelly's investi- gation of the brutal murder of a Taiwanese-American professor on U.S. soil. Richard Dreyfuss contemplates which Patrón cocktail to order at the after-party. Replace Your Nutrients, After Party-ing A fterparty is the ultimate new party drink . . . or should we say, for after partying? It's not an energy drink. The Cranberry Citrus fl avor and light carbonation is soothing and not overly sweet. It is formulated to replace each vitamin, mineral and electrolyte that the consumption and sub- sequent processing of alcohol depletes from the body. It also contains a unique herbal extract blend that includes the anti-in- fl ammatory prickly pear cactus, liver-boosting milk thistle, antioxidant green tea and the natural pain-reliever white wil- low bark. The result is a well- rounded, solid defense against hangovers.

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