& # 39; Mezcal whisperer & # 39; Jay Schroeder, who leads a new six-day tequila tour for holidaymakers
As the saying goes in Mexico: "Because everything is bad, mezcal, and that is also good."
And long before it became the number one mezcal drink, Tequila was a place.
The city in the western state of Jalisco made so delicious mezcal in the 16th century that the word spread far and wide.
It wasn't long before the spirit that was produced there became known simply as tequila and unlike any other mezcal – which can be made from a wide range of agave cactus – tequila can only be made from blue agave.
For years, tequila has built a reputation as a foul taste with salt and lemon just to get drunk – a reputation that exists today in many parts of the world.
But a new tour for holidaymakers will blow that outdated image from the bottom of the saying.
The Te Amo Tequila Tour is designed to cater to the novice mezcal drinker and to preserve the most dedicated content from tequila enthusiasts. It will learn about the miracles of the mind.
Designed and led by "mezcal whisperer" and the famous mixologist Jay Schroeder, the highlight of the six-day tour will be a visit to the legendary birthplace of tequila.
Once in the city of Tequila, travelers stay in the eclectic Matices Hotel de Barricas and sleep in gigantic tequila barrels. And guests are taken on the La Cata Tequila tasting & pairing tour, a horseback ride and a tour of the Orendain distillery.
Travelers will also visit Puerto Vallarta – another hotspot in the country of Tequila – and stay at the five-star resort Secrets Vallarta Bay.
While there, Schroeder takes guests on a Mexology tour, a Noble Corazon Tequila tasting and a tour through Oscar’s Distillery.
Jay & # 39; s itinerary includes a stay at the five-star Vallrets Bay resort (photo)
Vallarta is also right on the beach and hidden between two tropical mountain ranges and offers a vibrant culture – where a sip of tequila along with charros and mariachi music will be the order of the day.
For Schroeder, the tour is the culmination of a deep-rooted passion for mescal.
And in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, he explains how tequila has reinvented itself in recent decades and is already undergoing a taste revolution.
According to Schroeder, over the past 30 years 100 percent agave tequila has grown and matured into a spirit that can be tasted for its taste and taste – a spirit that is enjoyed for the nuances between one tequila and the other instead of the powerful spirit we have all beaten at the bar.
And thanks to celebrities like George Clooney – who led the revolution – tequila has enjoyed popularity all over the world.
The Hollywood star started Casamigos on a whim four years ago with Cindy Crawford & # 39; s entrepreneur husband Rande Gerber and real estate developer Mike Meldman.
Casamigos, loosely translated from Spanish as & # 39; friends house & # 39 ;, won countless awards for superior taste and smoothness of texture, and sales climbed quickly.
In 2017, Clooney and his partners sold the premium tequila brand for no less than $ 1 billion to the British beverage company Diageo PLC.
Once in the city of Tequila, tourists stay in the eclectic Matices Hotel de Barricas and sleep in huge tequila barrels
The barrels of Matices Hotel de Barricas are in an agave field. It is certainly a unique place to stay
Clooney & # 39; s dive into the world of spirits led other stars to launch tequila brands.
These include Hollywood actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Backstreet boys, Adam Levine and AC / DC rockers, country star Toby Keith and pop icon Justin Timberlake, as well as a series of top rappers.
Schroeder, known as the "agave whisperer" for his encyclopedic knowledge of the mescale drink, which he stored in a groundbreaking book called "Understanding Mezcal," said celebrities have helped bring tequila to the forefront.
He said: "The involvement of celebrities has been good, bad and ugly, but it has certainly changed the public perception of tequila for good and bad.
& # 39; And it goes without saying that the transition from tequila is seen as a kind of very proletariat to develop the reputation that it is something that can be of substantial quality. & # 39;
A mixologist in Vallarta shows off his skills. On Vallarta, Schroeder takes guests on a Mexology tour, a Noble Corazon Tequila tasting and a tour of Oscar’s Distillery
Schroder points to the emergence of tequila powerhouse Patrón as an example of a significant change in brand perception.
Patrón moved from the bad reputation that tequila had as a bad taste to make you drunk and became an "ultra-premium" spirit that signaled "taste and sophistication" through individually numbered glass bottles.
With a carefully choreographed advertising campaign and regular mentions by hip-hop and country singers, Patrón soon became a household name in popular culture and in January 2018 the company was sold to Bacardi for a whopping $ 5.1 billion.
Schroeder, 36, originally from Indiana, studied at the feet of famous chef Rick Bayless – known for his passion for Mexican cuisine and mezcal – and quickly became chief mixologist in the restaurants Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and Xoco of Bayless.
Bitten by the mezcal bug, he continued his passion by regularly traveling to different regions of Mexico, such as Michoacan, Chihuahua and Durango, to follow educational courses and learn from producers who have been making mezcal for generations.
Today, Schroeder is a partner / beverage manager at the Quiote restaurant in Chicago and the adjacent Mezcaleria Todoa Santos.
He wrote a definitive book about mezcal after realizing that there was very little to include all the fragments of a very & # 39; complex & # 39; connect the world of agave spirits.
And he hopes that the tequila tour will help people make contact with mescal as he thinks his book did.
He said: "There is more to trying to get your head around with regard to agave spirits than there is combined with every other spirit category on Earth.
The tasting room La Cata Tequila in Tequila. This is one of the stops on the Schroeder tour
Schroeder said: & # 39; Tequila is a place where not many people go – it is surrounded by land in the center of Jalisco. But it's a really cool city, with a great history & # 39;
- Just as Champagne comes from Champagne, most real tequila comes from the area around the city of Tequila – the same region as the very first tequila distillery.
- The knife that the jimador uses to strip the plants is called a coa.
- All tequila is mezcal, but not all mezcal is tequila.
- The agave plant usually needs between 6-10 years to mature.
- The agave is harvested by hand, often using the tools that have been used for centuries.
- A good, aged tequila is nicely enjoyed – and sips slowly – not beaten back with salt and lemon.
"It is a very large, very complex world. Mexico is a very large country, it is very diverse. There are many cultural influences that ensure that things become as they are.
"And that is why there is an incredible amount of diversity from all of these spirits."
From the tour, he said: "I worked with the people from Cheap Caribbean to put together the itinerary, to really maximize the things that Jalisco has to offer in general.
"Tequila is a place not many people go to – it is surrounded by land in the center of Jalisco.
"But it's a really cool city with a great history and a lot of really delicious things are being made.
& # 39; So when people start paying more attention to what they drink and tequila in general is gaining in popularity, it's really cool for consumers to get a window on how it's actually made, what's the good, the bad and the ugly distinguishes an idea from where it comes from and the traditions that have evolved in it, and then we can hang out for a day at the beach, which I will tell you very pleasantly. & # 39;
It was long believed that the Spaniards brought distillation to Mexico, but recent archaeological discoveries suggest that primitive distillers were present long before the conquerors invaded.
Today, more than 200 distilleries make 900 tequila brands in Mexico.
Schroeder says that the visit to the distillery in Tequila itself gives people a "real sense" of how the spirit is made and comes into the "heart and traditions of making tequila."
He explained: & # 39; The hotel where we stay is on site and it is surrounded by blue agave, so you see the plant where it comes from, you see the place where it grows and you get to see the process that bringing together everything that is unique to tequila, it is very different from almost any other spirit. & # 39;
For the non-tequila drinkers who shudder at the thought of sipping the powerful spirit, Schroeder & # 39; s a strong proponent of giving tequila a chance.
He explained: & # 39; It's worth giving tequila, as a category, a chance to warm your palate, to breathe a little while you do it, to try that shock of the fact that it is almost alcoholic and see if you can get into it.
"The flavors are just so good, it's so sweet and soft and roasted, it's as charming as a ghost in itself."
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