Don’t underestimate the power of good tequila to make it feel like summer. Even when the sky’s doing its best to convince you it’s November. Even when bags of charcoal are still sitting sadly, forlorn and barbeque-longing in the corner of your terrace more than six weeks after you bought them.
Cazcabel breezes into our damp summer Sunday – not sort-of damp, but darkened by sudden pounding rain, brightened by fitful lightning – and warms it up into something more Southern hemisphere, watch the storm from your verandah.
Cazcabel have a family of four tequilas, and this might be the summeriest of them – though we have our eye on the honey tequila and its promise of Southern-style, soulfood-matching cocktails. But the Reposado lends itself to something just as smooth, aged for nine to eleven months, the tasting notes telling us to expect heavier agave undercurrents and a lower note of pepper, caramel and toasted oak.
We give this a go neat, and it’s not bad – but this isn’t seriously high-end stuff. It’ll do credit to your cocktails, without making you feel ashamed you’ve tainted it with mixers. And it comes with advice on cocktails, fruity but grown-up things like blackberries, grapefruit and sage – the Blackberry Smash – or pomegranate, orange and cinnamon – the Pom Punch. For reasons less sophisticated and more ‘but what do we have in the flat?’, we try out the Mexican Negroni.
Here’s the advice, in all its burnt-golden swagger:
35ml Cazcabel Reposado
20ml sweet vermouth
Stirred in a tumbler, with two cubes of ice, for a minute. Stir with the cinnamon stick, garnish with the orange.
Reader, we didn’t do the cinnamon stick thing. And I can’t confirm if the MexGroni was better for it or worse, but I can tell you it was a hell of a lot simpler and nobody had to brave the rain to go to the shops. I’d also advocate ditching the Aperol and switching in the same amount of Campari, possibly a chilli garnish… but that’s down to the conscience of the individual MexGroni drinker.
Casting a smooth golden glow, with a hint of sharpness from the orange, and some bitterness from the Campari. It’s not 100% a substitute for an honest-to-God stretch of barbeque weather… but it’ll warm away this midsummer sense of winter.