Let Me Upgrade You
I understand that the guys on “Entourage” drink it and that Rick Ross quaffs it while he slings crack and Natalie Portman was seen in Tao with bottles of it in both hands and it's what Jesus drank during the last supper, but trust me when I say, PatrA3n Tequila sucks. Any tequila lover worth his salt will not order it.
OK, exhale, calm down. I know I might as well have just burned an American flag on JFK's grave while singing “Amazing Grace,” but it's true. Marketing has made PatrA3n one of fastest-growing spirits ever, much like the Grey Gooses, Cirocs and sweet tea vodkas of the world. But marketing doesn't give a brand a better taste profile.
As a man who loves tequila like oxygen, I have two recommendations that when ordered will instantly have you held in high regard by the bartender and will put you on a drinking path to greatness.
Don Julio Blanco: A mid- to higher-tiered entry in the silver tequila category, which means aged less than two months. It's a perfectly suitable and much more palatable alternative to PatrA3n. Here's how I explain it when trying to convert a customer: Do you want to drink a shot of watered-down tequila with no taste and get drunk? Or do you want a tequila with body and layers, one you can sip and pick up real hints of agave — and of course still get drunk? Also, if you must, Don Julio Blanco is fantastic in mixed tequila drinks such as margaritas, palomas and even a Bloody Maria. The price is the same as PatrA3n Silver, but at least you won't look like an uneducated sheep that follows P-Diddy's every drinking whim.
Cazadores AAñejo: There aren't many people in Richmond who are making the jump to sipping aAñejo tequilas out of a snifter. For those who are, this is my choice. I prefer the Cazadores because it's a bit more explosive than most and has a healthy finish of pepper and smoke. There's a line between heat and burn in a tequila, and this one walks that line with precision.
Ordering PatrA3n isn't impressing people anymore, and it never impressed your taste buds, regardless of what your brain was telling you. Time to step up your tequila game.
McDonnell's Hangover: As pointed out by the T-D's Jeff Schapiro this past week, and becoming more obvious with every day of the state's deafening silence on the issue, it appears that Gov. Bob McDonnell's master plan to privatize the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has been taken off of the table.
With little support from either side of the aisle, and with a transition plan that was flawed from the outset, this should come as no surprise. It also helped that while McDonnell was crunching the numbers for the proposed privatization, the Virginia Department of Transportation “happened upon” almost a billion dollars that it had been saving for a rainy day. In its defense, I sometimes will shove a couple million dollars under my mattress when I'm drunk and then forget about it.
The privatization plan eventually would have benefited the small businesses (restaurants) and the consumer by making our liquor cheaper, but ultimately bureaucracy, bungling and poor planning doomed the venture.
Oh well, a government monopoly on liquor is a really good thing that should never change. I also believe that we should convert Virginia's language system to Newspeak and punish anyone who participates in a thoughtcrime.
Richmond bartender Jack Lauterback consumes and slings drinks at a number of local establishments. He also writes a surly blog at http://jackgoesforth.blogspot.com. Find him on Twitter @jackgoesforth. Have a question or comment for the bartender? E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.