Tequila... Just Add Salt & Lime!

We’ve all been there, a nightclub, in the early hours and someone suggests a tequila shot. Out comes the lime and salt for the lethal old lick, sip, suck. Something we’ll regret the morning after.

But our love affair with tequila has extended well beyond the burn of a late-night shot.

Tequila could soon overtake vodka as America’s favourite liquor and demand is growing in Australia too as more premium products hit our shelves.

A few weeks back we chatted with premium spirit specialist Scott Christie, who has seen drinking habits change here in the past two years.

Scott says ‘’premiumisation’’ has started at home, more people are collecting spirits, with higher-end and limited release tequilas becoming very popular.

“Tequila is one of those products that’s been hard to supply around the world the last few years. But it’s growing more and more, to the point we’re not just seeing people buying blanco or white tequilas and shotting them, but buying $300, $400, even $500 sipping tequilas,’’ Scott said.

“Some really great bottles come over from Mexico, hand painted, with great family stories behind them. It’s great to see more and more products like that being embraced.’’

Sense of Taste has managed to acquire all the rare Tequila ArteNOM stock in Queensland.

The NOM 1579 ($121) comes from the remote Mexican mountain town of Jesus Maria.

After select harvesting, the blue agave plants are slowly roasted in brick ovens and macerated intact with their fibres for a richer, full flavour. Following fermentation with rainwater, the spirit is slowly distilled in small copper pot stills and aerated before bottling.

The result is a pure and clear liquid with rich agave viscosity. On the palate, expect a velvety, wine-like texture with fresh chile tingle, white pepper and spearmint candies.

The NOM 1146 ($150) is distilled at Tequilena, in the eponymous town of Tequila, Jalisco, home to a range of celebrated tequilas.

Master distiller Enrique Fonseca ages select tequilas initially in used Cabernet Franc wine barrels from the Loire Valley for a minimum of 14 months. The tequila is then extracted from the French oak and laid into toasted American white oak, previously used to age either Canadian whisky or Tennessee rye whisky, for a minimum of 14 additional months.

The tasting notes are mouth-watering. Think toffee, walnut candy, custard, orange zest and dark chocolate.

Our guys Pete and Tim at Portside admit they’re not big spirit

drinkers, but describe the ArteNOM range as ‘’phenomenal’’.

Tequila is only able to be produced in Mexico, under stringent regulations, and is therefore a protected designation of origin (PDO) beverage like cognac or champagne.

But there are now agave farms in north Queensland with the view of making our own agave spirit in Australia. Who knows what the future may hold here.

Patron Tequila, including the now discontinued XO Café, is in plentiful supply on the Sense of Taste shelves.

When Bacardi-owned Patron announced the XO Café liqueur was no longer a priority for the brand, there was outrage and panic buying.

Patron Silver, which is hand-crafted in small batches and presented in hand-numbered glass bottles, Reposado, with its light floral and vanilla finishes, and Anejo, oak aged for over 12 months, are also in good supply.

* Our new catalogue is out NOW! In it is your chance to win one of 10 double passes to the Madam Sass Marquee at Oaks Day, at Eagle Farm, on June 4. Buy any bottle of Madam Sass to enter (members only).

 * Mark May 10 in your diaries for the Two Hands Shiraz Masterclass at our Portside store.

Sample seven different Two Hands Shiraz, including the ‘’Holy Grail’’ Shiraz.

Individual cheese platters will be made to match. Tickets are $50.