As Cinco de Mayo draws to a close I feel I would be remiss in not making at least some note of it… especially considering I currently find myself in Southern California, where the Mexican holiday has no small amount of traction.
Contrary to popular belief, and as I am sure my readers have heard many times today, Cinco de Mayo is not, in fact, the Mexican independence day. Rather is commemorates the Battle of Puebla, and the Mexican victory over the forces of Emperor Maximillian I of France. I know, I know, it was the French… big deal right? Actually, yes, it was. Keep in mind that during this period of history the French army was not that far removed from the age of Napoleon. They had one of the finest and most modern armies in the world, and they were still more than a decade away from being crushed by Germany (the first time) in the Franco-Prussian War. Mexico held their own with a military that was still recovering from a significant thrashing (The Mexican War) that was far more recent than Waterloo. It is also worth noting that Mexico’s defeat of France was a good thing for the United States as well, since it ensured European powers would no longer dominate colonial holdings in the Western Hemisphere. The US likely would have become involved on the side of Benito Juarez against Maximillian’s troops, had we not already had a full dance card fighting in the Civil War.
So, by all means, raise a glass to Mexico and their victory in the Battle of Puebla. The last thing we want is French influence right there on our door step. (oh… ummm… Sorry Canada. Well, this is awkward)
Anyway, in recognition of General Juarez’ victory, tonight I will be sipping some Comisario Anejo Tequila. Note that I said sipping, not taking shots. Anejo tequila gets its dark caramel color from barrel ageing, much the same as a fine scotch or bourbon does, which imparts all the smooth, subtle flavors that we have come to associate with that long, respected, and labor intensive process.
The Comisario Anejo has a solid, complex nose, with notes of caramel and toasted sugar to go right along with the peppery aroma that tequila is so known for.
The flavor is spicy with sweet undertones, and a more subtle agave bite than other, less refined tequilas. It resonates heat the same as a good bourbon, but without the chewy mouthfeel, The richness is there, but thinned out by the agave’s spice.
It finishes with a peppery, sweet palate that is subtle, complex, and thoroughly enjoyable. Do yourself a favor the next time you’re in the market for a tequila and indulge in an anejo. Ditch the shot glass and sip it from a whisky tumbler. You won’t be disappointed, and you’ll never think of Cancun the same way again.