A MEETING WITH CARLOS CAMARENA OF EL TESORO TEQUILA
Los Angeles (Spiritsman)5/7/17/–El Tesoro tequila has a good name in the industry, and after you meet with Master Distiller Carlos Camarena you begin to realize why. He is a third generation distiller and at a private dinner in Los Angeles recently he explained why El Tesoro does things a little different from many of their competitors. The label is not flashy, the brand generally does not go in for flashy advertising with pretty young things getting high, but the quality sure is there.
The La Altena distillery was created in 1937 by Don Felipe Camarena, the grandfather of Carlos, so clearly the tradition continues. Based in the highlands of Jalisco, the soil at La Altena where the agave’s are grown for up to eight years in the mineral rich ground which gives it a hint of spiciness that you can taste in the finished product.
The distillation process does date back all the way to 1937 with copper stills being used at low heat which helps to remove the impurities and improve the flavor. When it comes to the agave, the waxy stem is removed by the very hard working jimadores to also improve the flavor. The pulp and juice are slowly crushed by two tons of volcanic rock, known as the tahona stone in a very labor intensive process. The agave plants are still cooked in the old fashioned hornos, and the spirit is double distilled to 80 proof which means that the tequila does not have to be watered down.
For those of you who are planning a tequila dinner party for friends here are a few suggestions for food pairing. For the first course, try creating Heirloom yellow corn quesadilla with smoked crema, lime pickled carrots and Valentina hot sauce. This goes well with El Tesoro Blanco, and after that you should go for Short Rib “birria” Tacos with charred pina salsa.
For a third course with the Reposado go for Black bean and braised chicken sopes and for the dessert course go with a Vanilla panna cotta with strawberry and El Tesoro syrup. For the El Tesoro syrup you need the following:
1 part El Tesoro
1 part Cochi Americano
1 splash agave nectar
12 fresh diced strawberries
Combine and crush all the ingredients in the molcajete, and finally double strain the liquid through a strainer and a cheesecloth.