A glass or bottle of tequila is generally associated with noisy drinking bouts, crazy parties gone out of control or simply a wild night out. We all have our stories when it comes to a bottle of Tequila. Despite the not so appealing reputation, Tequila is a rich drink, with a far deeper history than what we see on the surface. I, on particular, on a recent visit to Ole Sereni’s official launch of their Mexican food and Tequila festival, was particularly impressed. The set up was ‘all Mexican’ oriented and the service was welcoming; we were there to appreciate the diversity of another culture.
One of the hosts who were to take us through the tequila tasting process (he said his name too quick I didn’t get it, very Mexican indeed) was quite passionate about the drink. The tasting area, secluded at a cosy corner on the poolside area of Ole Sereni Hotel blended perfectly with the wild and untamed environment that is the portion of the Nairobi National Park. Tequila is made from the extracted juices of the Agave Tequilana Weber blue variety- the heart and life of the drink. It belongs to the amarilidaceas family, with long, fibrous, green-blue coloured leaves and whose main and useful part is the pineapple or heart.
We learnt a couple of fundamentals on how to identify high quality tequila. First, quality tequila is measured by its colour, smell and taste. Usually it will be aged from as early as 0-15days all the way to 4 years. Lightly coloured tequilas are usually be the youngest while the caramel coloured ones are a bit aged. Second, it is always better to authenticate the quality of a tequila bottle by the stamps ‘CTR’ and ‘NOM’ both units of verification in Mexico that guarantee the authenticity of the tequila that you acquire. The Appellation of Origin of Tequila is formed by 181 municipalities from 5 different Mexican States; only in these municipalities the raw material for Tequila, Agave tequilana Weber blue variety may be harvested and used for the production of Tequila. No other alcoholic drink produced in Mexico or abroad can be named ‘’Tequila’’.
Well away from all the technicalities, the tasting went well, albeit a burning of the gut as my system adjusted to the fiery liquid. This was however counteracted by a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt provided by the host. We tasted a couple of the tequila brands and my only wish was that soon these brands will be made available in our local bars and restaurants for all to try- they were that good.
The Mexican ambassador in attendance, Luis Campuzano made a few speeches and introduced the two visiting chefs, Daphne and Victor, from Mexico who will be wowing guests with their authentic Mexican cuisines up till 30th of Nov this month. Robin Okutoyi on behalf of the British airways commercial manager, was optimistic that the festival will strengthen cultural exchange and market Kenya as a preferred destination.
To book online please log onto www.eatout.co.ke/OleSereni