City A.M.’s resident cocktail expert
Tequila has a bad reputation. The mere sniff of the spirit invokes Proustian recollections of nights out that went very bad. Many a youth has been misspent licking salt off the back of a hand, downing a shot of questionable tequila and sucking on a wedge of lime. It's a right of passage. Plenty of people long in the tooth, and who really should know better, continue to think this is the best way of appreciating one of Mexico's finest exports.
From innocent enough beginnings – it is produced by fermenting and distilling the sap from the heart of the Agave tequilana plant – it has become the drink of choice for those looking for the quickest of fixes. To paraphrase the indisputably awful song by Terrorvision: Tequila, it makes you happy (until it doesn't).
Agne Krasauskaite, who is head barman at Home House, doesn't shy away from acknowledging that tequila can lift your spirits but she is passionate that it should be appreciated for so much more than inebriation. Krasauskaite, and plenty other top mixologists across the globe, are working hard to reform the tainted reputation of this noble spirit. They want you to save your lime for your gin and tonics, and your salt for killing slugs.
Although the Margarita is the signature tequila cocktail, it fails to escape its shameful association with both salt (on the rim of the glass) and lime (juice) - which, along with Cointreau and tequila, forms the basis of the drink.
The Margarita is an acquired taste, but is by no means a bad cocktail. However, decent tequila does not need masking, which is why Krasauskaite came up with the Green Jacket: "I wanted to show that tequila can be easily mixed with other ingredients, not just with lime juice.” For her, "this drink is a wonderful marriage between my two favourite spirits, they so beautifully compliment one another." Krasauskaite will be putting her new cocktail on Home House's next cocktail list.
■ 50ml Tequila Blanco
■ 20ml green Chartreuse
■ 5-10ml elderflower cordial
● Mix all three ingredients in a mixing glass with ice (or shake quickly).
● Serve in a cold cocktail glass.
● Garnish with a lime twist (don’t forget to cut out the pith of the lime otherwise it will be bitter).
You and tequila may have got off to a bad start: your relationship likely turned abusive in the early hours of a Sunday morning, dancing to Terrorvision in one of London's many shoddy nightclubs. But all is not lost..
I write as a reformed tequila abuser. More recently than I care to remember, a Mexican friend put me on the path to righteousness. Her best advice was to stay clear of the popular Jose Cuervo tequilas, and instead, seek out lesser-known gems such as Herradura, Don Julio and Patron. The salt and lime was promptly banished and instead, we sipped neat shots at a suitably slow pace from brandy glasses.
It will still make you happy, but you won't wake up in the morning feeling like a slug.