|Cactus Cooler on the left, Desert Apple on the right|
So, following some ponderment, I mentioned it to hubby.
There then ensued a bit of a brain storm. Now we often find that moments of enforced idleness (such as when waiting to collect son & heir - a case in point) can be filled with running ideas up flagpoles, taking concepts on board and generally doing some blue sky thinking. Or "getting very hungry whilst talking food", as it's known in our house. The only difference was, on this day we were talking about cocktails - and Tequila cocktails, as it turned out.
Now I am such an innocent were alcohol is concerned. I'm definitely not a Lambrusco girl - I do draw the line at that - but I like what I like and that's pretty much that. Having said that, however, my tastes have changed in latter years and I can now cope with a greater number of different types of alcohol than ever before. (Which is amazing, considering I went through my twenties drinking orange juice and lemonade, while everyone around me got sloshed).
I could vaguely remember trying a Tequila way, way before they were fashionable - and liking it. Of course, I don't remember which Tequila drink (it would have to have been involving a mixer of some sort - I just don't do neat alcohol), but it was a start.
So having settled upon Tequila, the first thing that struck me as a perfect accompaniment, was the Tymbark Cactus Juice that is my current fruit juice passion. Available from some branches of Asda and your local Polish Grocery store, it is alarmingly green, made from Prickly Pear, Lime and Apple juice, is completely gorgeous and really refreshing. Tequila being cactus based, (the Blue Agave, apparently), it just made sense.
Next up, was an idea for an apple juice/Tequila mix. However, not just any apple juice, it had to be a cloudy, fairly tart, apple juice - and one which would stand up well against the Tequila.
Well, these two ideas were taking shape. Next thing on the list was to find some Tequila!
It seems that there are two readily available types of Tequila, the Silver or twice distilled younger variety and the Gold, aged variety. Of course, there are many more - but these two appear to be available just about everywhere. We settled on some "Sierra" Tequila, which I have no idea whether it's a good, bad or indifferent one - but it's the one we used.
It seemed to hubby and I that, if you're considering making a cocktail, then you don't really want to go with the aged variety for fear of knocking out some of the more complex flavours. So that is why we settled on the Silver.
Having got the Tequila, we were curious to find out whether we a) liked the stuff and b) liked the stuff enough to want to create cocktails with it. Not being ones to wait when you can be getting on with something, I found myself sampling a teensy tiny Tequila & Cactus Juice, at 11 am. Now I can quite categorically say that you can keep your neat Tequila - bleah! - but with Cactus Juice? Oooh, now you're talking!
So, last night, we had a concerted effort at blending and developing the "Cactus Cooler" and the "Desert Apple".
My favourite, not surprisingly, is the "Cactus Cooler". With its ice, cactus juice, lime, and mint, it has an interesting effect! The initial flavour is the sweetness and greenness of the cactus juice, swiftly followed by the sharp hit of lime and the coolness of the mint leaves - each flavour being quite distinct. Then, comes the spreading warmth of the Tequila as it registers a slight sourness which transforms into a comforting glow - all ready for the next cooling sip. Goodness me, but I could drink really quite a lot of this.
Hubby preferred the "Desert Apple". A mixture of Silver Tequila and Copella Apple Juice with Elderflower, it is elegant in its simplicity. The Copella Apple & Elderflower Juice is particular to this cocktail as Copella has the dry element of a fresh crisp apple and is not cloyingly sweet like many apple juices. The "Desert Apple" delivers an instant sharp zing of Tequila on the front of your tongue before the apple juice floods your mouth with a dry sweetness. Next comes the high floral note of the elderflower. The whole thing is ice cold and dangerously swiggable - and you get to eat the lime washed apple slice at the end.
I'm quite coming around to this developing cocktails idea. We should do more of it!
By the way, if you're curious about how we achieved the exotic background - look here.
In a tall glass, combine the Tequila and cactus juice, in the ratio of 1 to 5 (the 1 being the tequila!) until the glass is three quarters full.
Layer a mint leaf and then an ice cube, repeating until the glass is almost full.
Twizzle the cocktail to mix and garnish with a slice of fresh lime.
In a tall glass, combine the Tequila and the apple juice in the ratio of 1 to 5 (see above!) until the glass is three quarters full.
Add ice to top the glass off and give the whole thing a twizzle.
Take a good sized slice of apple and rub a cut lime over the flesh to prevent it from browning. Use this to garnish the glass.
Try not to drink it too quickly!
Note : the 1 to 5 ratio of Tequila to fruit juice was our preference but of course you may prefer more or less tequila flavour. We recommend that you experiment at length to discover your perfect mix!