One of the best tequila selections in the country!
We have one of the best tequila selections in the country here at Southside. Yes, one of the best tequila selections in the country... in Withington! The tequilas we have in stock change on a weekly basis cos you lot keep drinking them but some of the brands you can expect to find include:
OCHO | 1800 | 30-30 | Aqua Riva | Arette | Avion | Calle 23 | Casa Nobel | Casamigos | Clase Azul | Curado | Don Fulano | Don Julio | El Jimador | Espolon | Fortaleza | G4 | Gran Centenario | Herradura | Jose Cuervo | Kah | Lunazul | Maestro Dobel | Olmeca | Olmeca Altos | Patron | Tapatio
We aim to keep the 3/4 main expressions of each brand in stock at all times with a number of special bottles thrown in for good measure. You can't go wrong with our house tequilas from our good friends at OCHO but we encourage you to explore our selection and find your own personal favourites.
WHAT IS TEQUILA?
The Spirit of Mexico
Tequila is a Mexican spirit that comes from the Agave, the Blue Weber Agave to be specific. It can only be produced in 5 areas of Mexico: the state of Jalisco as well as municipalities in Guanajuanto, Michoacan, Tamaulipas and Nayarit. So, in that way it's very much the Champagne of Mexico.
It's produced by harvesting the agave once it's ripe, about 7/8 years, and then cooking, milling (sometimes still with the help of a mule), fermenting, distilling and then finally, for certain types, ageing it in barrels.
The main types of tequila are:
Blanco aka silver, plata, white
Blanco tequilas are generally unaged but can be aged for up to 59 days. As a result, they are agave-forward in flavour with notes of citrus and pepper. Often described as vivid, young and fiery.
Reposado aka rested, aged
Reposado tequilas are aged for a minimum of 2 months, most commonly in ex bourbon barrels. Complex flavours from the barrels are added to the sweetness of the agave, with notes of vanilla. As it ages, reposado tequila mellows and takes on an amber hue. Reposados are the most popular type of tequila in Mexico.
Añejo aka aged, vintage
Añejo tequilas are aged for a minimum of 1 year in barrels no larger than 600 litres. This additional ageing and restricted barrel size allows the tequila to take on even more of the character from the oak barrels. It also means the tequila develops a darker colour and adds to the richness of the taste. Notes of caramel and toffee start to come through. If you're a whiskey drinker have a sip on some of these.
Extra Añejo aka extra aged
Extra Añejo tequilas are aged for a minimum of 3 years in barrels no larger than 600 litres. These are by far the rarest and most expensive tequilas. All the same flavours come through but with an added creaminess. Extra Añejo Tequilas are often compared to well-aged scotches or fine French brandies.
Cristalino aka claro
Cristalino is a newer type of tequila. It is basically Añejo tequila that has been filtered using activated charcoal in order to remove the colouring it has picked up from the aging process. The result is a tequila with the complexity and character of an Añejo but with the crisp and bright notes of a Blanco. It is the fastest growing type of tequila in Mexico.
Mixto tequila quite literally means 'mixed tequila'. This is where prior to fermentation other corn or cane sugars are added. In order to be classed as tequila at least 51% of the sugars still need to come from the agave. Mixto was created with the intention of being used in mixed drinks and whilst tequila purists will tell you to stick to 100% agave, which is generally true, there are some exceptions... El Tequileno being one. It's a real OG. Try it in a Batanga and you'll be tasting it as the creator, Don Javier, intended.
Joven aka gold, oro
This refers to mixto tequila that tries to emulate reposados and añejos with the use of additives. If you're in a bar that serves it, best jump in an Uber to Southside and drink the proper stuff.
Our house tequila is OCHO. OCHO is the result of a partnership between Tomas Estes and the Camarena family.
Tomas is credited with doing as much as anyone for the promotion of tequila and agave spirits around the world, a fact that was officially recognised when he was named as Europe’s Tequila Ambassador. His book, The Tequila Ambassador, remains the seminal book on Tequila and, if you are lucky enough to find one, fetches over £200 online!
The Camarena family have been making tequila since 1937 and are now in the third generation, with the fourth already working in the business and looking set to carry on the tradition. They are behind some of the best, and most revered, tequilas including El Tesoro, Tapatio, G4 and Villa Lobos.
OCHO is made by Master Distiller Carlos Camarena at the La Alteña distillery in Jalisco with agaves sourced from the Camarena’s family fields. It is produced by slow and artisanal means that remain true to the agave flavour. When ageing OCHO they use ‘exhausted’ barrels and age the tequilas at the lower end of the legal classifications in order to limit the influence of the wood and again ensure the tequila remains agave led. OCHO are also the driving force behind applying the concept of terroir to tequila. Indeed, OCHO was the first tequila to designate both the year and the exact field, or ‘rancho’, from which the agaves were sourced on the bottles.
OCHO means “eight” in English and the number has a lot of significance to the founders. OCHO is made from the eighth sample created by the Camarenas for Tomas Estes. It takes an average of eight years for the agaves to ripen before being harvested. It takes about eight kilograms of agave to make one litre of OCHO tequila – very high versus industry average. It takes eight days from when the agaves reach the patio at the distillery until it becomes blanco (unaged) tequila. Carlos Camarena has eight brothers and sisters. The Camarenas are in their eighth decade of producing tequila. OCHO Reposado is aged for 8 weeks and 8 days.
Tequila is a simply awesome base spirit for cocktails. These are some of our favourite classic tequila cocktails:
Can you say tequila without thinking of a margarita?
Blanco | Triple Sec | Lime | Salt Rim
Created by Julio Bermejo at Tommy's Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco. Swaps the triple sec for agave syrup to stay truer to the agave. Can't be beaten.
Reposado | Agave Syrup | Lime
One of those cocktails no one knows the real story of. What we do know though, is that it's delicious. All the usual suspects with grapefruit soda.
Blanco | Lime | Grapefruit Soda | Salt Rim
Don't let the coke put you off, this is a super refreshing drink and a true tequila classic. Created by the legend that was Don Javier (seen here with co-owner Lyndon)
Blanco | Lime | Coca-Cola | Salt
Ginger beer in anything is great, right?
Reposado | Creme de Cassis | Lime | Ginger Beer
TEQUILA VS MEZCAL
Mezcal is the name given for a distilled spirit made from the Agave plant. So, technically Tequila is a Mezcal, but not all Mezcals are Tequila. Mezcal can be produced in nine Mexican States and can be made from more varieties of the Agave plant, of which there are hundreds. Arguably the biggest difference between Tequila and Mezcal, however, is in its preparation. For Mezcal, the agave piñas are traditionally baked in earthen pits which imparts a noticeable smoky flavour, similar to the scotch whiskeys from Islay.
Other types of agave spirits, all of which are technically Mezcals but each with their own attributes and production methods, include Pulque, Sotol, Raicilla, and Baconara.
Interested but don't fancy a shot? Why not ask for a Mezcal Margarita. You won't be disappointed.