A Tequila Story
Hi Guys! It’s been a while since my last post, but i’m back and I have to tell you all about the most wonderful experience I had this year – and it’s about my trip to Mexico, a lovely project with Tequila Olmeca.
I don’t even know what I should start with because everything is still so vivid and running through my mind like it was yesterday 🙂
Our trip started with arriving to Amsterdam, the first checkpoint of our journey, where we stayed for a few hours between the flights. A good opportunity to get to know better some of the wonderful people from the “Los Tequileros” Team, with whom my husband Matei and I had left with this Pernod Ricard project.
Socializing was perfect for me since at first I was a little bit scared and anxious at the idea of flying such a long distance; Actually I did not even think i had the courage to do it, so at least on this front i am thankful for discovering that flying far is actually pleasant. Now I can’t wait for other future far-distance trips!
After a short brunch at Metropolitain – one of the most cool places in Amsterdam – we took the train back to Schiphol Airport to board our flight.
First Day in Mexico
Our first night was spent in Mexico City because unfortunately we lost our connecting flight to Guadalajara due to some issues at the customs, but the guys from the agency that took care of us during the trip, and our local guide Jesus Hernandez (the best guide ever!), were all so kind and managed to find us a super nice accommodation near the airport, sent a shuttle for us and booked another early flight for the morning so we didn’t miss any of the activities that were scheduled for the next day.
In the morning we boarded the plane to Guadalajara and let me tell you I was not at all feeling tired by the difference in time zones. That lasted until we got back home – but that’s another story 🙂
The first accommodation – Love it Signature Hotel – was sooo nice and our room on the 8th floor was simply stunning, with such a cool view over the city. After the check in we had some margaritas in the lobby so we could skip the usual coffee 🙂 and after that we prepared ourselves for the super fun day ahead. First we went for a short trip to Chapala Lake – Mexico’s largest freshwater lake, where we had our first truly Mexican experience.
The whole restaurant near the lake was reserved for us, a DJ was playing some good music, there were tequila drinks everywhere and a delicious mix and match of authentic Mexican dishes – everything you can imagine! The most courageous of us went flyboarding (we had our own instructor) and the others went for a boat ride on the lake – everything accompanied with lots of tequila. It was such a fun day and we even got to enjoy a wonderful sunset on the lake.
Later on in the evening we went out to a such cool dinner place called I Latina – a place so awesome and colorful, decorated with so many patterns and starring amazing dishes. I actually had one of the best risotto and a dessert with dulce de leche (that not even now i am sure what it was, but it was to die for!). Every dish was accompanied by another kind of tequila recipe mix, all of them with Olmeca of course :). I still can’t decide which one was my favorite 🙂 Interesting fact – the rim of the glass was sprinkled with pink Sal de Gusano (worm salt, an essential ingredient in the Oaxaca gastronomy).
Los Tequileros – Day Two
The next day we changed the location and we moved to another hotel in the city of Arandas, Jalisco, called Hacienda Vieja, wich was like an old traditional dwelling house (Hacienda means `estate`), with a beautiful inner courtyard and a stone fountain. I can’t even describe my feelings when we entered this amazing oasis of calmness and serenity.
But let me tell you everything that happened before we arrived at this wonderful hotel.
We got to visit the Olmeca distillery and meet the Grand Master distiller himself – Jesus Hernandez (who’s signature can be seen on the labels of the tequila bottles). In a beautiful scenery full of agave azul (blue agave), we started our riding adventure with the ATVs. In Mexico there are only several places where the blue agave grow, in the Los Altos region (called `The Highlands`), high on the mountain plateaus.
The almost two-hour ride through the arid agave fields was simply astonishing and you got the feeling that you were on Mars 🙂 ; the sand was reddish and it made a cool contrast with the bluish-grey agave plants. It was a real eye candy! The ride was so fun, and we got to see all the stages of growth of the agaves, as they take seven years to mature and reach full size and ripeness. So imagine what a colossal amount of hard work and time are put into your every single bottle of tequila!
During our ATV ride we made a little stop to grab a snack in a typically old Mexican bar, and we have even witnessed a horse dancing show prepared for us by some mounted rancheros. And I am not kidding you guys – the horses were literally trained to dance and stomp their hooves and the rancheros (local farmers/cowboys) were so kind that they also let us ride and take photos on the horses.
After this short break we continued our ATV ride and we stopped in a field full of mature blue agaves, where we had a short demo on how to chop and harvest the plants – we even got to try it ourselves! And trust me it’s such a hard work under the scorching sun and high temperatures. Basically we were shown the first step of the process from harvest to bottle.
At the end of the ATV ride we had another surprise (I know – everywhere we went there was a surprise waiting to happen – these guys have really outdone themselves!). We had a brunch in the middle of the agave field, under an open tent, where I had my favorite tequila cocktail from the entire Mexican trip – and that’s not all – they even brought us a Mariachi band. The party had started! Amazing traditional dishes, nice people, great company! And so i managed to cross off my bucket list – mariachi, margaritas and Mexican tapas. At the end of the day the whole gang went out for yet another traditional Mexican dinner and drinks at a local bar (which unfortunately we have missed out since my husband wasn’t feeling so good, having caught a cold).
Third Day in Mexico
The next day we went to visit the Olmeca distillery and we had a personal tour with our guide Jesus Hernandez and this father – the master distiller (also named Jesus). I forgot to mention that our guide was his son and they work in the tequila industry for more than 25 years between them, both being completely passionate and in love with it, a detail that one can easily observe not only by the way they speak about tequila, but about their work in general.
At the distillery we got to see the entire process from the point where they bring the chopped agave bulbs (which look like a giant pineapple – called piña) until they become the real tequila drink that we all know. They first cook the agave hearts with hot steam, after that the crush the moist pulp with a giant rotating stone, the next step is to let it ferment in giant tanks, followed by the distillation process and the aging in oak barrels (for the reposado or añejo versions).
At the end of the plant tour we had the pleasure to make a private tasting, in blind, comparing the Olmeca Tequila with other tequilas from the market, trying to discover all the differences in texture, smell and taste.
As usual, the day ended with a traditional Mexican dinner. So delicious! OMG how I miss their food now!
After that we went back to Guadalajara where we moved to the most beautiful boutique hotel – Casa Fayette – with white marble floors and golden art nouveau design & decor elements – such a clean and minimalist look! I am so glad that we had the opportunity to experience such different styles of accommodation and Mexican lifestyles.
For the night we went to LouLou which was such a cool and hipster restaurant & bar, with so many different patterns and design elements and with such great food! Every dish came paired with a different kind of Olmeca tequila drink. After dinner we went to a warm-up club, where we again had some bottles of tequila :)) Yess … i know we drank so much tequila during this trip and had a lot of fun while doing it! And after that the whole gang moved to a more exclusive clubbing venue – La Santa – where we didn’t stay for too long as we were already so tired.
The Artisan Town
In the final day of our trip we went to visit Tlaquepaque – a colorful town that got its reputation as an important pottery place which makes and sells beautiful, hand-painted, distinctive artesanías. It’s exactly the style of town one might be looking for in Mexico, with small narrow streets, colorful houses, hanging papel picado (decorative craft made out of paper cut into beautiful and elaborate designs) and lots of artisan & craftsmen shops. There you could really feel the genuine Mexico vibes. We got some souvenirs and drank from coconuts, ate some traditional treats and took photos.
In the end what can i say – It was one of the most amazing travel experiences i had ever lived, and many thanks go out to Olmeca team and Pernod Ricard for making this happen! A truly once-in-a
You should also check Los Tequileros for more videos of this amazing press trip.
“When Life Gives you Lemons…
Grab Tequila & Salt!”