Welcome…Madam Ambassador Jenn!

What: Tequila Ambassador Jennifer Gage
When: Always on the Clock!
Where: Az Food & Wine, Tequila Ambassador Section

By: Tequila Ambassador Jenn


Bored with wine and bloated from beer, I set out on a quest to find the perfect cocktail.  We all have that story about our college experience with Jose Cuervo – you know the one where your significant other or Best friend had to “hold your hair.”  Tequila was nowhere on my radar and I’m not a fan of the Margarita.  One day while strolling the isles of Costco, sometime around my Cinco de Mayo Birthday (yes, you read the right!  Our Tequila Ambassadors birthday is Cinco De Mayo!), I spotted a beautifully painted ceramic bottle of Dos Artes Extra-Añejo.  It was pretty expensive, but I loved the bottle so much I bought it.  Later that week I poured a glass.  I was hooked.

Tequila 101

Just like wine or craft beer, Tequila can take on complex flavors as they age and depending on where the agave is grown i.e. high land or low land.

There are several types of Tequila: Silver or Blanco is clear in color. It is rarely aged more than a couple of weeks and is the purest form of Tequila.  My favorite go to cocktail is a Silver on the Rocks with muddled orange.   Reposado is aged anywhere from 2 months to a year and takes on the golden hue of the oak or white oak barrels they are aged in.  Añejos and Super Añejos are slightly darker then Reposados  and aged from 1-5 years.  Añejos are typically the smoothest Tequilas and should be sipped and not used as a mixer. Some Extra Anejo’s can cost up to a couple hundred dollars a pour.  True story, I accidentally ordered a $120 Tequila pour at a restaurant in Newport that doesn’t put the price of Tequila on the menu. So be sure to ask if you don’t see a pricelist.

DWB (Drinks with Benefits)

So, not only do I love the many different tasting notes of Tequila and way it makes me feel, I found it had some other benefits.  Who doesn’t want a skinny cocktail?  At 69 calories per ounce, it’s a safe choice for those watching their waistlines. Tequila is made from the Blue Agave plant. Agave has a very low glycemic index, so it doesn’t spike your blood sugar.  Note* only drink 100% Agave Tequila.  Some brands add sugar to speed up the fermentation process which can result in bad hangovers!  I can honestly say, I rarely if ever suffer hangover from Tequila, and while beer and wine make me sleepy, Tequila has the completely opposite effect.

There is also a coolness about a girl ordering a fine Tequila.  Try it!  I often get the approving nod from the bartender followed by “nice…”  This makes me feel like somehow I found my way into the cool kid’s club.

Dream Job

Jokingly, I told my bestie my dream job was to become a Tequila Ambassador;  spreading my love of Tequila far and wide.  I’m no expert mind you, just an enthusiast!  I have spent the last two years trying to find the best places that serve a wide range of Tequila. Because Tequila bottles are a work of art in themselves, I will often try a new tequila based on the bottle!  Ready to give Tequila a try?  Go see the Tequila Goddess –  Katie Schnurr at La Hacienda at the Fairmont Princess Scottsdale, puts together some great flights that give you a well rounded introduction to Tequila that won’t break your bank.   Katie is a fantastic resource for tequila and paired with Richard Sandoval’s amazing menu you are sure to have an incredible introduction to Tequila!


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Erik Merkow
Founder and CEO at Az Food & Wine
Erik: a father, writer, son, photographer, corporate guy, friend, brother, and foodie wine guy

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