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!
Margaritas have always been an essential part of Santa Fe’s gastronomical scene. Tequila made its way to the United States as an import from Mexico. It debuted in Santa Fe via the Camino Real, the colonial-era stretch of 1,200 miles between Santa Fe and Mexico City.
According to legend, tequila has its origins in the tale of the Aztec God, Quetzalcoatl. Quetzalcoatl was so overcome with grief over the death of Mayahuel (the Aztec goddess of fertility) that he drank pulque, fermented agave juice, from the plant that grew from her grave to drown his sorrows. Pulque was a popular pre-colonial drink. When the Spaniards arrived, they brought the process of distillation with them. They distilled pulque to create tequila.
The margarita has its own colorful origin stories. Fast forward 400 years, when a Mexican restaurant owner supposedly created the margarita in the 1940s for a showgirl named Marjorie King, who was allergic to every form of alcohol except tequila – but hated the taste.
A different Tijuana bartender is said to have invented the drink in the 1930s for Rita Hayworth, who entertained audiences as a teenager at the Agua Caliente Racetrack. Yet another version claims that Dallas socialite Margaret Sames invented the drink in 1948, with the recipe picked up by hotel baron Tommy Hilton and featured at his hotels.
An entirely different version claims that margarita evolved from “The Daisy” – a concoction of multiple types of alcohol, citrus juice, grenadine, and a splash of soda, all poured over shaved ice. Not coincidentally, margarita is Spanish for daisy.
What is not in dispute is that a traditional margarita follows a simple 3-2-1 formula: 3 parts tequila, 2 parts triple sec (orange liqueur), and 1 part fresh lime juice. Salted rims of the margarita glass are optional.
Tourism Santa Fe launched the Margarita Trail on Cinco de Mayo in 2016, in partnership with local restaurants and bars offering various versions of the margarita. TrailParticipants can enjoy a wide variety of margaritas and earn stamps for sampling margaritas at each stop.
The next time you enjoy a margarita, make a toast to New Mexico and Santa Fe. Better yet, put a stop at Joe’s Tequila Bar at the Inn on the Alameda on your agenda as part of any visit to the Land of Enchantment. Joe’s features an extensive selection of wine, beer, and spirits, including tequilas for both traditional and adventurous palates. Enjoy a drink with us.
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!
The City Different is the perfect place for romance, whether you’re exploring its historic architecture, dining at one of its fine restaurants, or exploring galleries. No matter what you are looking for, Santa Fe has no shortage of fun date night ideas.
Here are just a few ideas for your next Santa Fe date night:
Follow the Margarita Trail
This is a mainstay of any Santa Fe travel experience for tequila lovers. Both locals and visitors can sample drinks from 40 different establishments using the Margarita Trail Passport found at any Santa Fe Visitor Center downtown or downloaded on a smartphone. Use the passport to receive a $1 discount on each signature margarita and to help determine your next stop.
Start your journey at Joe’s Tequila Bar is a great place to start or finish up your tour. Stop in to enjoy our tart signature margarita. You can even take a break to enjoy dinner before heading into the Plaza to continue the quest.
Fall in Love with Fine Art on Canyon Road
With over 80 studios, galleries, and museums to explore, Canyon Road offers a day chock-full of culture. Bond over unusual designs at La Mesa of Santa Fe, or examine the curios at Intrigue Gallery—both make for interesting dinner conversation later in the night. Mixed media works, characteristic of modern Santa Fe art, are also on display. Ceramics and woodblocks at Hecho a Mano stun audiences, as do the sculptures and abstract works at Kay Contemporary Art.
Note that most galleries close up shop at 5:00 pm.
An exercise in mindfulness and quality time, bathing at Ojo Caliente’s spa, featuring water from local natural desert hot springs, is a stellar date night activity. The bathhouse has provided relaxation and healing through the sulfur-free, mineral-filled waters since 1868.
Try the Lithia Pool, and bathe in each other’s presence under the stars with this open-air bath. Or soak in any of the Upper and Lower Cliffside Pools after sunset for a romantic open-air experience. Stargaze in tandem or enjoy quiet, affectionate conversation along the resort’s edges.
Ojo Caliente is located about an hour north of Santa Fe’s downtown.
There’s nothing more classic than a dinner date with heavenly dishes on the menu. Lucky for couples, Santa Fe is home to a rich food scene. Classic eats like Southwestern-style steak and chile-topped enchiladas are fair game, though Santa Fe’s more contemporary fare is equally delicious.
Book a table at Geronimo, one of the best fine dining restaurants in America, located in a restored adobe home. Enjoy their Southwestern take on American-style farm-to-table cuisine.
Or book an evening at El Farol, one of New Mexico’s most famous restaurants. Enjoy their tapas-style menu, paella, cocktails, and some of the finest flamenco performances.
Turn date night into an overnight experience. Book a room at the Inn on the Alameda We offer deluxe rooms and suites perfect for evenings. Our king and queen-sized beds embody comfort, while the interior design and accents pay homage to the inn’s Southwestern heritage.
Santa Fe has always been known for creative innovation in art, craftsmanship, and design. Since its founding in 1609, art has always characterized this colorful city. The city’s art history is a diverse blend of styles from Pueblo ancestors in 1050 A.D. to its current inhabitants. There are many traditional art forms to experience here.
Replete with natural materials, such as wool and plant fibers like yucca, Santa Fe and its surrounding areas were conducive to woven works. Ancestors fashioned blankets, sandals, baskets, and other goods. Traditional pottery featured painted motifs and optical illusions that fascinate archaeologists today. Potters applied readily available plant or ground mineral pigments to clay, wielding frayed twigs or yucca brushes to create various effects. Pueblo dwellers used vessels for storing or serving food and water. These days, artisans take the pottery tradition to fine art heights with delicately painted motifs.
As more Spanish settlers made their way to Santa Fe in the 1600s, the more word spread about this mysterious, remote land. Spanish colonists brought Catholicism, and religious motifs became common themes for artwork. They introduced embroidery, furniture-making, wood carving, painted flourishes, tinwork, and jewelry making to the local art traditions.
Around the 1920s, Santa Fe’s bustling art scene and natural environs beckoned creatives from across the country. Among these aspiring newcomers was Georgia O’Keefe, whose life’s work is on display at the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe.
Current Ways to Experience Art in Santa Fe
Today, you can find artistic works in every corner of Santa Fe, but Canyon Road is a cultural mecca, boasting countless galleries, outdoor exhibits, museums, and restaurants along the mile-long meandering road.
Regular events such as the weekly Road Art Stroll help preserve Santa Fe’s prominent standing in the art world and bolster local artists. But it is also easy to spend time exploring on your own. Browse the collections, dine at a cafe or restaurant, and spend an afternoon at any of the 80 galleries found there.
Aside from conventional art forms like pottery and weaving, Canyon Road is home to contemporary art forms like glassworks, abstract paintings, and digital media. Boutiques deliver a range of jewelry, bespoke footwear, leather outerwear, and handmade wooden furniture. No matter what artistic styles you prefer or your budget, there is something on Canyon Road for everyone.
Find your inner artist
Are you more of a hands-on type of traveler? Unleash your creative side with the help of Lisa Flynn’s Inner Artist Workshop as she takes you on a tour of historic Santa Fe and helps you create watercolor postcards of what you find along the way. The customizable session accommodates both individuals and groups of all ages and levels. Just bring an open, curious mind—Lisa Flynn provides the art supplies needed for the class.
Are you looking for a place to stay during your artistic explorations of Santa Fe? The Inn on the Alameda is the perfect place for your Santa Fe getaway. To learn more about the Santa Fe area, or for help planning your trip to Inn on the Alameda, visit our website.
It was in the early 1980’s when I first attended the Santa Fe Opera, one of the most beautiful and most unique opera houses in the world. It is, perhaps, a side effect of coming of age during the 1960s that I can no longer remember exactly which opera I first saw, but the setting itself has always made an impression on me.
John Crosby, a musical genius from Manhattan (recently biographized by Santa Fe writer Craig Smith in A Vision of Voices: John Crosby and the Santa Fe Opera), had a dream of an outdoor summer opera company that would take advantage of the countless performers, musicians, conductors, and technicians who were annually idle when the Metropolitan Opera in New York City closed for the summer. He found the San Juan Ranch outside of Santa Fe and with his family was able to purchase what would become the location. He found the perfect acoustical setting and the rest is history.
The house is designed so the brilliantly dying light of the setting sun comes straight through the open but covered stage, a stunning backdrop for any opera.
Photo credit wikimedia commons
To the East, each evening, the image of the reddening Sangre de Cristo mountains attests to the appropriateness of their name. The otherworldly red of the foothills struck the Spanish settlers as evidence of the divine, the blood of Christ made manifest. It is these features that shelter the bowl of the opera house providing an appropriately awe-inspiring landscape upon which the fine arts of mankind can play themselves out. But I digress.
Since that first production, I try to see at least one opera per season, always the one recommended by Nancy Zeckendorf, my close friend and co-founding director of the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Nancy’s influence on me cannot be described. It was she who brought me onto the board of the opera in 1986, first to run the business fund drive, later as treasurer and chairman of the facilities committee.
Even still, I cannot remember my first opera’s name! It was a board-known fact that I never developed the deep understanding and knowledge of opera. Nevertheless, it was just as board-known that my enthusiasm and drive more than made up for my other shortcomings.
Besides, I was surrounded by people who knew everything about opera. My speech and drama background from college drove my interests more to the physical plant side of the performing arts, and therein lay the key to my interest in helping create Santa Fe’s finest and most versatile venue: the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Along with Bill and Nancy Zeckendorf, Patricia McFate, and Alexis Girard, the dream came true, a dream that is much more fitting to my strengths as a builder and developer (like Bill).
The Lensic offers such a variety of programming. To name a few: the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, the Lannan and Santa Fe Institute lecture series, the New Mexico Jazz Festival, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Met Live, and Performance Santa Fe. All valuable cultural institutions, all as worthwhile as the opera, and all of which I’ve attended.
As for opera, I have seen dozens since that first one now forgotten, and I’ve always been impressed and had a wonderful evening. And what it’s taught me is how communal and convivial an outing it is—before, during, and after. Operagoers—regulars and first-timers—typically turn a night at the opera into a nightlong experience, with drinks or dinner beforehand (the opening night tailgate at the Santa Fe Opera is legendary), food and libations at intermission (though moderately), or dinner and/or drinks afterward.
Which is why I heartily recommend our own Agoyo Lounge as the perfect complement—to the opera or any of the many other cultural events going on throughout Santa Fe. Come in for an early dinner (starting at 5:30–please call for reservations) or an aperitif beforehand, or if it’s a shorter performance, come by for a late dinner or digestif.
Whatever your taste in the arts, the tastes at the Agoyo are unsurpassed and you will always be pleased, just as I have at the many operas I have attended. I just wish I could remember that first one. No matter. What I do remember vividly is the first time I watched lightning and giant black rainstorms rolling into town past the SFO stage, which now, like the entire audience, is fortunately covered from the elements.