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 History of Tequila in Santa Fe

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 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!

Date Night in Santa Fe

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.

Relax at Ojo Caliente

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.

Indulge in New Mexico’s Cuisine

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.

A Tale of Two Spanish Cities at Spring

I know both Santa Fe and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico very well. Right now spring is arriving in these mountain valley towns. Here, the beauty is so remarkable that, if you were an artist, you would be helplessly drawn to these magnetic norths of human creativity. But today I want to focus on the incredibly beautiful palate of blooming trees and flowers particular to each town. It is amazing how many species were brought to the New World from all parts of the globe, an area where trade was so driven by the markets in Europe that from there, Spain initially was the country that first brought fruits, nuts, and vegetables from most of the world. In fact, trade of any sort with any of the Americas was nonexistent until the 18th century.

At this moment the view from my terrace of San Miguel is covered in the purple-blue flowers of the jacaranda tree. This tree can grow to 50 feet and fills out as majestically as any oak I have ever seen. Each year at this time, they burst into an almost indescribably unique purple-blue flower. Not periwinkle blue, not navy, not sky blue. Jacaranda—indescribable. The Spanish brought so many things to the New World: horses, grains (like wheat, oats, and rice), and citrus (from Australia, Southeast Asia, and India). It’s hard to imagine Florida, Southern California, south Texas, and Mexico without lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits. All of this and so much more came here through the ports of Spain, in the days when New Spain held control of access to all of Latin America. But of all the treasures that came to San Miguel, the jacaranda in April is the most amazing.

In Santa Fe, European hybrid grapes for wines and brandy were brought by the monks and settlers, bulb plants of all kinds, lilacs from the Balkans, apricots from Armenia. While no single plant in Santa Fe so completely dominates the skyline (as the jacarandas do for over a month here in San Miguel), spring up north brings a veritable explosion of blossoms of every hue and every variety: lilacs, roses, wisteria, and the same for fruit trees—apricots, apples, pears, plums, and cherries.

 

How has Santa Fe come to possess such a wide variety of so many plants!?

It was due to an educated and brilliant French bishop named Jean-Baptiste Lamy. This Roman Catholic prelate is credited with giving Santa Fe its unique spring and summer beauty. It is an interesting story, the arrival of Bishop Lamy. After reports reached Europe that self-flagellating extremists from the Catholic Church were moving to the mountain villages of Northern New Mexico, far away from the missions, and practicing an embarrassing, pagan, ritualistic form of Catholicism, the Pope dispatched Lamy and a legion of nuns to re-Catholicize, reform, and educate the people of the Northern Provence capital of New Spain: Santa Fe. With him came huge quantities of dry-rooted plants, bushes, vines, and trees. He knew that beauty and a real feeling for the earth might serve as a small enticement for bringing the scattered flock home to existing towns such as Santa Fe.

So when you arrive at the Inn on the Alameda and have settled in, you will immediately be struck by our landscaping and its wonderful impact on the setting and property.

Joe’s Blog: Love…Santa Fe Style!

Milagro HeartIn spring, a young man’s fancy turns to love. Saint Valentine himself was a martyr in ancient Rome, but it is unclear how his name became associated with “Valentine’s Day.” In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius established the Feast of Saint Valentine on February 14th as a day of remembrance of the Saint. Some of the earliest specific references to this day occur in the 14th century when Geoffrey Chaucer writes in the Parlement of Foules: “For this was on Valentine’s Day, where every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”

Shakespeare referenced Valentine’s Day in Hamlet in the early 17th century. Still, it was not until the 18th and 19th centuries in England and America that the tradition emerged of sending beautifully decorated handmade love notes to the object of one’s affection. Soon, candy, chocolate, and gifts became part of the celebration, and that was when what we now know as Valentine’s Day flourished and indeed became a “national holiday.” Unfortunately, Valentine’s Day card’s commercialization has taken the individuality and creativity out of these cards. But people young and old still love receiving a Valentine. At least I still do.

In an attempt to honor the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we have picked six unique couples from Santa Fe whose love for one another has not gone unnoticed in our beautiful and romantic city of the Holy Faith.

 

Jesus Rios and Teresa Gabaldon

Valentines Day Couples of Santa FeThis couple met in Santa Fe in 1934. Jesus had come up from San Jose de la Boca, Durango, Mexico when he was nine years old, and Teresa was born here on East DeVargas Street. Their love-at-first-sight romance turned into a life-long marriage of 65 years. During these happy years, they started a family of eight children, and a thriving, successful business, the Rios wood yard on Camino del Monte Sol.

There are few aspects of Santa Fe that were not touched by the Rios family who contributed significantly to the betterment of their community and the well-being of their family. Their relationship was a loving, reliable and unshakeable partnership to the end of their lives together. El Museo Cultural proudly displays a memorial to the Rios family.

 

Sam and Ethel Ballen

Sam and EthelSam and Ethel Ballen bought the La Fonda Hotel in 1968 and saved it from possible demolition for a parking lot. Their contributions to our City Different included vital support of SWAIA, The College of Santa Fe, The Lensic Performing Arts Center, The United Way, Santa Fe Community Foundation, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Temple Beth Shalom, The Food Depot, among many others. Their leadership in so many significant civic and charitable efforts have helped make Santa Fe what it is today.

From daughter Lenore: “Mom and Dad met in their college days. My mother, who died on 2/5/06, went to Hunter College. Dad, who died on 2/6/07, went to City College. These schools were part of the City Colleges system in New York. They got married on 7/29/45 while Dad was on leave from the service in what was a quickly planned wedding. Their marriage lasted 61 years. On one of our family trips to Alaska, in honor of Mom and Dad’s 80th birthdays, one of the people on our eco-cruise asked Dad, “ How do you stay married to someone for so long?” Dad’s reply was, “to have a short memory and a big sense of humor.” I remember Mom saying, “you have to forgive and forget.” After talking to Penina, one of my sisters, we recall our parents doing a lot of fun and adventurous activities together. They also had a huge social life. We believe that combining the principles of “forgive, forget, and humor,” with the three elements of “fun, adventure, and a great support system” help create a successful long marriage. That’s their secret.

 

Bill and Nancy Zeckendorf

No couple has had a larger or more significant impact on the performing arts in Santa Fe than Bill and Nancy Zeckendorf, both through their leadership, commitment, and love for the Santa Fe Opera, and their vision and creation of The Lensic Performing Arts Center. Bill’s experience and business acumen also assured the survival of both the College of Santa Fe (now known as Santa Fe University of Art & Design) and St. Vincent’s Hospital. Along with their support of countless other civic and philanthropic activities, these activities make them two of Santa Fe’s most valuable citizens.

Says Nancy: The secret of a long-married life was given to me by one of my teachers at Julliard who happened to be the mentor of Martha Graham. “It’s all good until there are two tubes of toothpaste on the sink.”

Taking that to heart, I never intruded on my husband’s space. Luckily, we were blessed with two bathrooms and lots of closets. It worked. The other important thing is to stop expecting that, “he should have done this, she should have done that.” You grow up when you stop expecting things from other people. That might also serve for sons and daughters who carry grudges too long. So Bill and I have just celebrated 50 years!”

 

Alex Hanna and Yon Hudson

Alex and YonIn mid-April of 2000, Alex Hanna & Yon Hudson met at A Bar (soon to become Bar B), where Yon was DJ-ing at the 40th birthday party of a mutual friend. After a brief courtship (Yon is a romantic), they began dating. Following a year that brought many significant life events (death, injury, etc.), they decided to move in together.

After eight years and many trips abroad together, Alex & Yon purchased their 1st home. In 2013, they (along with their legal team of Egolf, Ferlic & Day) became successfully involved with changing New Mexico state law, which now provides same-sex couples the right to marry.

Alex & Yon do not take this right for granted. The opportunity for ALL people to openly share their love and commitment with family & friends was a dream that seemed insurmountable only a few years ago. To be a part of such an enormous social achievement is humbling.

 

Lew and Susan Wallace

WallacesLew Wallace is, perhaps, best known today as the author of Ben Hur. His most relevant role for us, however, was in his position as Governor of the New Mexico Territory. A former civil war general, renowned author, world traveler, and governor of the NM territory during the Lincoln County War, Wallace himself wrote towards the end of his life of the most vivid and important memories of his life.

A full fifty years prior: “I can blow the time aside lightly as smoke from a cigar and have the return of that evening with Miss Elston, and her blue eyes, wavy hair, fair face, girlish manner, delicate person, and witty flashes to vivify it.” The great love and passion of Lew Wallace’s life was his wife.

Susan Arnold Elston was a remarkable woman. Born to a wealthy and influential East Coast family, Susan was of a literary temperament and published many popular poems. Her family disapproved of the young military suitor who was smitten by the witty and beautiful Susan. Despite this, Susan and Lew married for love.

Following Lew’s service in the Civil War, he was appointed governor of the New Mexico territory in 1878. Hired by the Eastern newspapers to send back brief sketches of life in the territory, but too busy with the administration of the territory and writing of Ben Hur, Lew delegated the job to Susan. Her articles became very popular. They were collected and illustrated by Lew and published as The Land of the Pueblos. This book remains a valuable and fascinating record of Puebloan life in the 19th century and can be read online here.

Lew was given an ambassadorship to the Ottoman Empire, and he and Susan traveled together then throughout the Middle East. She wrote several more books and was influential in exploring the ‘women’s issues’ of the period. She collaborated with Lew extensively throughout their lives, assisting him with writing and dictation. Throughout his long life, he remained in love and wrote, “What of success has come to me, all that I am, in fact, is owing to her.”

 

Phil and Emilie Schepps

Phil and Emilie ScheppsThese two spent many, many wonderful times in Santa Fe, visiting both their son, me, and their grandchildren Mike and Julie, as well as the countless friends of ours who they made their own. My Dad recalls visiting Bishop’s Lodge in the 1920s with his parents and 2 sisters and hiding from them when it was time to leave, as he loved it here so much. Between service in Europe and an order to report for Pacific duty in 1945, he drove through Santa Fe en route to the West Coast, stopping at Camel Rock for a striking photo when you could still stand at the very base.

Phil and Emilie met in high school in Dallas in the 1930s and fell in love immediately. But family influences drove them to marry others. Fortunately for me and my son Mike, after the 2nd World War ended, they divorced and married each other. Over the course of their more than 65-year marriage, their affection never waned. Our family business was representing some of the finest wineries and distilleries of the world, so their love of travel was a wonderful excuse to regularly visit friends and business associates in Europe and the United States. The two beautiful homes they built together in Dallas were always filled with memories, friends, and family, and these homes still stand today as exceptional examples of both 1950s and 1970s classic architectural styles. Their friendships in Dallas and around the world included people from all walks of life One important ingredient to their long and happy relationship is they also gave each other their own space. For instance, my Dad never entered a bar he didn’t like, while Mother never entered a museum she didn’t love.

Their fine taste and love of life together led them to live in St. Vincent de Cosse, France in the Dordogne Valley where they remodeled an 18th-century French farmhouse and spent 11 years enjoying the best of Southern France while entertaining countless friends and relatives from home. However, they remained Dallasites for their entire lives and even though Dad passed away in 2004, my Mother, at 99 years of age, still loves and thinks of him daily as she did when she was a high school teenager in love.

From the entire staff at Inn on the Alameda, Mike, and myself, we hope you will be our Valentine!

-Joe

Joe Schepps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources: Spragg, Joann Montgomery County Historical Society Report on Susan Arnold Elston Wallace

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