Tequila is not just liquor. It is pure. It is an experience. It is also 100% agave – which almost makes it sound like a health food. On hot summer nights, tequila drinkers are allowed to cut a small slice of lime and place it very gently into the glass. But one does not disturb tequila unnecessarily.
After a long and productive day, there’s no call for complicated fruity drinks or overly decorated cocktails. Just saddle up to any bar and order up a Silver Patron. Neat. Then sip it slowly. Very slowly. This is not a throw-it-down-your-throat-and-make-me-forget kind of shot. This is an I’ve-got-this-and-I-am-in-control type of indulgence.
When I was younger, I didn’t like the taste of the brown liquors at all; whiskey, rye, scotch, bourbon. But I was comfortable with vodka, because you could disguise it with Collins mix, tonic water or grapefruit juice. And I didn’t mind gin – although my friends did. Apparently, something about the way my body metabolizes the stuff made me a very hostile gin drinker.
So, over time, tequila became my drink of choice; not only because it’s pure and smooth, but because it’s always crystal clear how much I’ve consumed when drinking it straight (without the disguise of margarita mix, rim salt or paper parasols). Sipping allows me to really enjoy the evening and wake up without the usual afterglow (“afterglow” being a more high-brow description of the dreaded hangover).
My favorite place for tequila sipping in San Francisco has to be the bar at the Big Four Restaurant in the Scarlet Huntington at 1075 California Street. Look for me there the next time the sun is setting and it’s still at least 80 degrees.
PS: To be a true tequila aficionado you must also know your brands. One of the best places to learn about this elixir of the universe is at www.tequila.net.