Santa Fe’s Margarita Trail

Santa Fe can rightly claim the title of margarita capital of the country. Tequila made its debut in the United States in Santa Fe as an import carried along a 1,200-mile stretch from Mexico City.
Today, visitors to Santa Fe can enjoy participating in the Margarita Trail, stopping off at different locations around Santa Fe to sample different takes on the margarita.

Tourism Santa Fe launched the Margarita Trail as part of the Cinco de Mayo celebrations in 2016. The trail featured 31 local restaurants and bars offering various margarita versions. Since then, 16 more establishments have joined the Margarita Trail. Participants receive a stamp from each establishment that they stop at to sample a margarita. You can pick up your Margarita Trail Passports from the Santa Fe Visitor Centers. Old Passports can be exchanged for the current Passport at no charge, and stamps transfer to the new version. The passport allows users to collect stamps, earn prizes, and get a $1 discount on each signature margarita. Smartphone users can also download an interactive Margarita Trail app to help them explore the trail.

The Margarita Trail features a rewards program as an incentive for collecting stamps. Collecting five stamps earns a Margarita Trail T-Shirt. Participants who collect ten stamps earn provisional membership in the Margarita Society. 15 stamps give a participant full membership. Margarita Society members attend invitation-only social gatherings and lectures and receive the quarterly newsletter, Margarita Insider. Individuals who earn 20 stamps receive an autographed copy of The Great Margarita Book by former Maria’s owner Al Lucero. Individuals collecting 30 stamps received a branded bartender’s kit. Everyone who completes the Margarita Trail receives a VIP Margarita Package.

Joe’s Tequila Bar at the Inn on the Alameda is one of the can’t-miss stops along the Margarita Trail. As one of the Margarita Trail’s original establishments, Joe’s Tequila Bar offers a wide variety of tequilas designed to satisfy tequila purists and adventurous connoisseurs. Joe’s Tequila Bar serves more than tequila. We also offer wine, beer, and other spirits. Our menu includes delicious Southwestern-inspired appetizers and entrees, including vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, on the menu. Come and enjoy a drink and a bite today!

A GUIDE TO TEQUILA AŃEJO

Thanks to the margarita, tequila is one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in the country. But what many people don’t know is that there are three major types of tequila: Tequila Blanco, Tequila Reposado, and Tequila Ańejo, each with its own unique characteristics.

Each of the three types of tequila is distilled from the juice of the Blue Weber Agave plant. The distinction lies in how each is handled after the distillation process is completed. Tequila Blanco is not aged before being bottled, while Tequila Reposado and Tequila Ańejo are aged in oak barrels. Some producers opt to age Tequila Reposado and Tequila Ańejo in barrels that have previously stored other spirits such as bourbon, cognac, or wine, which adds distinctive elements to the agave notes.

Tequila Ańejo is aged for at least a full year which lends distinctive flavors and creates a distinct dark amber color to the tequila. Barrels previously used to store bourbon add rich, smoky vanilla notes to the spirit while storing tequila in French oak barrels produces a sweeter, fruity tequila with prominent vanilla and caramel notes. Coffee and honey notes are also frequently present with Tequila Ańejo.

Tequila Extra Ańejo was designated as a separate category by Mexico’s Consejo Regulador del Tequila in 2006. Tequila Extra Ańejo has been aged for at least three years, a process that lends a darker amber color to the tequila and also creates taste notes of peat. Tequila Extra Ańejo needs to be cut with water, which lends an even smoother flavor in addition to tempering the proof. Cognac lovers will likely enjoy drinking Tequila Extra Ańejo with its rich, full flavor.

Both Tequila Ańejo and Tequila Extra Ańejo are sipping spirits. They can be paired with food but are better suited to being enjoyed on their own. We often have guests come in and say they haven’t found a tequila they enjoy but really want to try. We always ask, “Are you a bourbon or whiskey drinker?” If the answer is “yes”, Añejo tequila, especially an Extra Añejo, is going to pull you right into the tequila world.

After being aged in used oak barrels the tequila starts to reflect characteristics and flavors of whatever was aged in the barrel before. One of the fun facts is that tequila can be aged in any used oak barrel. So, you can find some very different and unique Añjeo tequilas, most from whiskey and bourbon. But some producers are starting to age their tequila in sherry, cognac, and even wine barrels. Like we said before Añejo is a sipping tequila, but if you want to try it in a cocktail, try it in a Manhattan or an Old Fashion.

Joe’s Tequila Bar at the Inn on the Alameda offers a wide variety of tequilas aimed to satisfy the most discriminating drinkers and accommodate both traditional and more adventurous palates. Tequila isn’t the only drink on the menu. Beer, wine, and other spirits are also on offer. Joe’s Tequila Bar also featured tasty Southwestern-influenced appetizers and entrees. Come, relax, and enjoy a drink or a meal!

A Guide to Tequila Reposado and An Exclusive Drink Recipe from Joe’s Tequila Bar

Tequila is the product of distilling the Blue Agave plant – a succulent that grows throughout Mexico. To be legally sold as tequila, spirits must be derived from the Blue Weber Agave and contain no less than 51% agave juice. Tequila containing up to 49% sugars from other spirits is called Mixto. Tequila is only legally produced and distilled in five Mexican states (Jalisco, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas).

There are three major types of tequila: Tequila Blanco, Tequila Reposado, and Tequila Ańejo. Each of these three types of tequila has its own unique characteristics that determine the best ways to enjoy the drink.

Tequila Reposado is the result of storing freshly distilled tequila in French or American oak barrels for periods ranging from two months to one year. During this time, the tequila obtains a golden cast. Tequila Reposado retains some of its original agave flavors and the same citrus notes associated with Tequila Blanco. However, Tequila Reposado also has caramel, honey, chiles, dry chocolate, spices, vanilla, and cinnamon notes. Some producers age Tequila Reposado and Tequila Ańejo in barrels that previously held bourbon, cognac, or wine, which add their own flavor elements to each batch.

More robust variations of Tequila Reposado can be mixed in cocktails. However, Tequila Reposado versions with subtle agave notes are better drunk neat or over ice. The smoother composition of Tequila Reposado compared with Tequila Blanco also makes it more palatable to some drinkers. It also generally pairs well with food.

When it comes to Reposado tequilas, our bar staff can introduce you to some amazing tequilas. From vanilla and caramel sweet notes to smoky, chile, pepper, and spice notes. Come in and let us design a flight for you.

We serve all our tequilas with salt and lime. But when trying Reposados, cinnamon and orange find a way of opening your palate to discover notes in the tequila that you didn’t even know were there. You might even find a new way of drinking tequila.

For one of our newest cocktails is a Berry Margarita, we use a reposado that falls right in line with the vanilla and caramel notes: Asombroso Tequila (our head bar tender’s favorite) shaken with Chambord (black raspberry brandy), a splash of lime, and agave syrup.

Berry Margarita
2 oz Reposado Tequila
1 oz Chambord
1 oz lime juice (here at Joe’s we only use freshly squeezed lime juice NO MIXES)
1 tsp of Agave syrup

Add ice and ingredients to a shaker. Shake it all up and pour into a sugar rim glass. Enjoy!

Joe’s Tequila Bar at the Inn on the Alameda offers a wide variety of tequilas aimed to satisfy the most discriminating drinkers – possessing both traditional preferences and more adventurous palates. There is more than Tequila on the menu. Beer, wine, and other spirits are also available for drinking alone – or paired with one of our delicious Southwestern-influenced appetizers and entrees. If you’re exploring the Margarita Trail, come and enjoy a drink– and add a stamp from Joe’s Tequila Bar to your collection!

A Guide to Tequila Blanco and An Exclusive Drink Recipe from Joe’s Tequila Bar

It’s well known that tequila is distilled from the juice of the Blue Weber Agave plant. What is less well known is that there are actually three major types of tequila: Tequila Blanco, Tequila Reposado, and Tequila Ańejo. Each type has unique characteristics that determine when and how it’s best enjoyed.

Tequila Blanco is also known as white tequila. It’s a young spirit customarily bottled immediately after the distillation process and is crystal clear. Some producers elect to “rest” Tequila Blanco in steel tanks for a month to allow the flavors to settle somewhat before the spirit is bottled – which gives it a smoother taste without diluting the tequila with other elements. Some purists insist that Tequila Blanco is the only “true” tequila.

Because of how it is produced, Tequila Blanco reveals more of the flavor of the agave plant, providing a closer drinking experience to that of the Spaniards who first distilled agave juice centuries earlier. Other tasting notes commonly associated with Tequila Blanco include grassy herbals, black pepper, and citrus.

The taste of Tequila Blanco can be too harsh for some drinkers – especially when it is consumed straight in shots. However, Tequila Blanco is ideal for cocktails because it stands up well to other spirits and liqueurs. It also pairs well with fish, shrimp, and different types of seafood for meals and small bites.

Whether you have it neat, on the rocks, or a mixed drink, we believe that Blanco tequilas make the best margaritas because they have little to no rest time in a barrel. The agave taste can really present itself through the lime. So, it is not hard to see why our first drink recipe is going to be a “Silver Coin Margarita.”

Many people hear the words “Silver Coin” and assume it’s a top-shelf drink, but once you learn that the name “Silver Coin” refers to the ingredients in this timeless cocktail, “Silver” tequila (Blanco) and “Cointreau”. While you can make this with any kind of silver tequila, our bartender will let you know that the Avion makes it better. On our menu, you will find that some of our local amigos make this cocktail their signature drink by using Casamigos Tequila.

Silver Coin Margarita
2 oz Silver or Blanco Tequila
1 oz Cointreau
¾ oz lime juice (here at Joe’s we only use freshly squeezed lime juice NO MIXES)
1 tsp of Agave syrup, if you like it on the sweeter side

Add ice and ingredients to a shaker. Shake it all up and pour into a salted rim glass. Enjoy!

Joe’s Tequila Bar at the Inn on the Alameda offers a wide variety of tequilas aimed to satisfy the most discriminating tequila drinkers – both conservative and adventurous. Tequila isn’t the only item on the menu. Beer, wine, and other spirits are also available, along with delicious Southwestern-influenced appetizers and entrees. If you’re exploring the Margarita Trail – come and enjoy a drink from us – and add a stamp from Joe’s Tequila Bar to your collection!

The Three Basic Types of Tequila

The history of tequila dates back to the Aztec people, who created a precursor to the drink called Pulque from the Agave plant. When the Spaniards arrived, they distilled Pulque to create a drink they found more palatable.

From those simple origins, the production of tequila has grown. Tequila must adhere to three strict rules to legally be called tequila. First, tequila is only distilled In five Mexican states (Jalisco, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Nayarit, or Tamaulipas). Second, tequila must be made with Blue Weber Agave, also known as Agave Tequilana, and contain no less than 51% agave (spirits with up to 49 percent distillation from other sugars are called Mixto). Finally, to be certified, tequila must be approved by the Tequila Regulatory Council in Mexico. Tequila that has earned certification will have a small rectangle with the letters “CRT” on the label.

There are actually not one but three major types of tequila: Tequila Blanco, Tequila Reposado, and Tequila Ańejo, and each has its own unique characteristics. Tequila Blanco is bottled immediately after distillation. Tequila Reposado is aged in oak barrels for 2 to 12 months, while Tequila Añejo is aged for 1 to 3 years in oak barrels.

The first step in producing tequila is harvesting the agave plants, which reach maturity after six to eight years. The plants are cut by hand by farmers who slice the waxy leaves away from the core, which is called a piña. The piñas are cooked to break down the starches into sugars. There are four primary methods of cooking piñas:

  • Underground: The oldest cooking method involves using an underground oven, usually a pit dug in the ground. The process involves placing the piñas inside, covering them, and setting a fire on top, which produces a smoky flavor that some connoisseurs appreciate.
  • Brick Ovens: Another traditional method involves slow cooking the piñas in a brick oven for about 36 hours. This method produces richly flavored, well-rounded tequilas.
  • Autoclaves: A modern cooking method involves placing the piñas in a stainless-steel autoclave. This oven baking method uses pressure cooking and only requires nine to 11 hours while still producing high-quality tequila.
  • Diffusers: Diffusers shred the piñas before cooking and use high water pressure to convert starches to sugars, releasing the juices in as little as three hours. Diffusers also eliminate the need to crush the piñas after the cooking process. However, many purists claim diffusers produce inferior tequilas.

The first three cooking methods also require crushing the piñas to release juices after the cooking process. The piñas are typically crushed using a tahona – a large wheel made of volcanic rock that spins in a rock pit – or a roller mill that uses sharp wheels and water to tear the fibers away from the piñas to release their juices. After the piñas are crushed and their juices extracted, the resulting liquid is fermented and distilled.

Whatever your preferences for tequila, Joe’s Tequila Bar at the Inn on the Alameda features a wide variety of spirits distilled from the Agave plant, aimed to satisfy both conservative and adventurous tastes – ask about our flights. Come and enjoy a drink with us!

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