Before Christmas, I suggested supplemening your Basement Bar’s glassware collection through liquor gift packs that include a glass or glasses. This year, one of the nicer looking sets was a large, painted, Old Fashioned glass with a bottle of Agavero (El Original Licor de Tequila). I would have been tempted to buy it, had I not just received a sample of Agavero to test drive. The drive ended up involving a cross-section of my family, making it a bit of an adventure.
First off, a few words about Agavero, and what it is, are in order. Agavero is a traditional Mexican tequila-based liqueur. It starts with a blend of Anjeo and Reposado tequilas, to which the featured,
active ingredient is added: Damiana flower. The resulting liqueur is sweet and very smooth.
The traditional use for Agavero is as a replacement for the triple sec in a Margarita.
The traditional reason for this substitution is more entertaining. Damiana has quite the reputation as an aphrodisiac, being especially effective for women. Stock up, guys!
Now, the efficacy of Damiana has not been scientifically determined. This is the case with many aphrodisiacs, and I just for the life of me cannot figure out why. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars studying the mating habits of lightning bugs. Why don’t we spend our money on rigorous tests to see which of the various human aphrodisiacs out there actually work? Finding test subjects cannot be the problem! Someone write Barack Obama about this. It ought to be part of the… Stimulus Package.
Regardless of any potential side benefits, my own interest in Agavero is strictly centered on its mixological uses.
Meaning your wife doesn’t drink Tequila.
Exactly. She has a rule.
I have a buddy with that same rule.
Yeah, but he woke up naked in a jail in Oregon, missing three days. Maggi has no such excuse.
Fortunately, my brother-in-law Bill does drink tequila, um, on occasion. Since we were visiting
the old country for the holidays this year, off the bottle went to Georgia. We sat down with the Agavero, his liquor cabinet, and my new traveling kit on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve to mix drinks.
Um, be careful when informing your brother-in-law that the liquor you have asked him to drink with you is renowned primarily for its aphrodisiac qualities. Be especially careful when you tell him you plan to write about the experience on the Internet. He may look at you like this:
(No one was harmed in the writing of this post.)
Bill and I sat down with my sister, their daughter who went to college with my wife, and said wife. The women all decided that being left out was not acceptable so they joined us, regardless of prior stated tequila drinking policies.
Women always do that. Guys are just too fascinating to them to resist.
Either that, or they knew that you were going to be drinking and cutting up limes. Someone has to be around to dial 911.
The first question was what, precisely, should we do with the stuff in this lovely bottle? Agavero’s website has a number of recipes to offer, which seemed a likely place to start.
We started with the
Machismo, which is nothing more than a shot of Agavero. To my surprise, this was very good all by itself. The liqueur is fairly sweet, and there is a faint but pleasant floral background. I have never had Damiana before, so I can only assume that this was what we tasted. You can certainly tell it is a tequila-based drink, but even neat, and at room-temperature, Agavero is already smoother than an average Margarita. That characteristic
muskiness of tequila is present, but without the in-your-face edge that even the best of the pure stuff provides.
Agavero suggests that you chase the shot with a wedge of lime and sugar, not salt. I do not. The sugar is a sweet step too far. Stick with a plain lime wedge, or lick some of the traditional salt. Even a light sprinkling of granulated sugar overloads the sweet of the liqueur and washes out virtually all the other flavors that give the liqueur its character.
If you are trying to get a woman to try Tequila shots, a Machismo would be an excellent way to start her out.
Of course, given the reputed nature of the Agavero, if you are trying to get her to try any number of things, this would be an excellent way to start her out….
We next tried the
Mexican Cosmopolitan, but met with less success. Their recipe is 2 parts Vodka, 1 part Agavero, with splashes of cranberry and lime juices. We only had cranberry juice cocktail, but otherwise followed the recipe. The problem again was sweetness. The added sugar in the cranberry juice cocktail wipes out any interest the Agavero might add to the drink, and you are left with what tastes like a run-of-the-mill Cosmo from your neighborhood bar. When I got home and once again had access to the full, vast research capabilities of the Pegu Lounge, I tinkered.
- 2.5 oz. Sobieski vodka
- 1 oz. Agavero
- 1 oz. pure cranberry juice
- 0.5 oz. fresh lime juice
Shake with ice and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with two slices of lemon peel.
I can fully recommend this cocktail. It is light and accessible, like a regular Cosmo, but possesses a richer feel in the mouth and some interesting character lurking in the depths. If your intended lady won’t go for the Agavero shots, this may be your way to get her to try it.
These first two drinks illustrate what I’ll call the First Law of Mixing with Agavero: Easy on the sugar! Even if you want a dessert drink, don’t sweeten Agavero any further.
By this time, I began to notice that a lot of their recipes were essentially based on replacing Cointreau with Agavero. Those of you who read me regularly know where this immediately led me: I had to make an Agavero Pegu. I mixed up one, subbing Agavero for Cointreau one to one, and handed it to Bill. If I may here extend a word of advice, do not replicate this experiment at home, or anywhere else. Bill didn’t like it. I didn’t like it. The women didn’t like it. Second Law of Mixing with Agavero: No gin. And other liquors besides vodka are likely out too. The tequila in Agavero may be subtle, but it will fight with others just the same. If you wouldn’t mix it with tequila, don’t mix it with Agavero. I’m not proud of this experiment, but it had to be done. You know, for
science and stuff like that.
The last drink we tried was a
Mexican Coffee. You make this, you guessed it, with Agavero in place of irish whiskey. I didn’t personally try any of this one, because I really do not drink coffee. But the women reported that the Agavero was practically absent from the taste. Agavero is a nice liqueur, but it is expensive, so they pronounced this preparation to be a waste. This irritated them, since they had gotten all cocktailian and made up fresh, unsweetened whipped cream for the experiment. We’ve since tried this one again as well, with fresher coffee, but it still seems to be one to avoid.
So what did we learn? Agavero is nice stuff. It is good enough to, and in fact may be at its best if you, drink it neat. It is a nice way to dip your toe into the waters of Tequila, if you’ve not tried them before. If you do drink tequila, the Agavero makes for an interesting exploration. My guess is that Agavero, like every other spirit on Earth, is not for everyone, especially those whose tastes run to the tart. But it is definitely worth a try, especially if you’re interested in what Damiana can do for you, or someone you love….