Citrus and smoke

The Alchemist tasting panel discusses their favourite tequila and mezcal

Blue Weber agave plants grow in Jalisco, Mexico. Also known as agave azul, the plant takes up to a decade to reach maturity, and contributes citrus and pepper notes to the tequila.Getty Images photo

For years, we’ve been reading that tequila is about to become the “it” spirit. This year, it seems, it’s finally happened. Mind you, some of us have been enjoying this Mexican agave-based spirit, along with its smoky cousin mezcal, all along. Agave spirits have increasingly become luxury products savoured by connoisseurs, which may surprise those who’ve only had a disastrous brush with cheap mixto and are still feeling the hangover. A good tequila is made from 100 per cent farmed blue agave, while mezcal can be made from any number of wild agaves. Mezcal is also typically enjoyed unaged, while tequila can be unaged (also known as plata or silver), “rested” in oak for up to a year (reposado) or aged (añejo or extra añejo). Agave spirits are complex, fascinating and delicious, so we asked our tasting panel to share their favourite and what cocktail they’d make with it. This issue, our team comprises bartenders Sabrine Dhaliwal, Adam Domet, Robyn Gray, Jay Jones, Trevor Kallies, Jeff Savage and Kaitlyn Stewart. ¡Salud!

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Margarita

Margarita. Getty Images photo

The classic, ideal for sipping all summer long, is Trevor Kallies’ suggested cocktail.

• 1.5 oz Altos Silver Tequila

• 0.5 oz Curacao, Triple Sec or Cointreau

• 1 oz fresh lime juice

• 1 tsp simple syrup (1:1)

• Garnish: salted rim

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Division Bell

Division Bell. Getty Images photo

Robyn Gray recommends this contemporary classic with a subtle smoky note.

• 1 oz Los Siete Misterios Mezcal Doba-Yej

• 1 oz Aperol

• 1 oz maraschino liqueur

• 1 oz lemon juice

• Garnish: grapefruit zest

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Paloma

Paloma. Getty images photo

Sabrine Dhaliwal offers her take on the easy-drinking Mexican classic.

• 2 oz Volcan de mi Tierra Blanco

• 1.5 oz grapefruit juice

• 0.75 oz lime juice

• 0.75 oz agave nectar

• Soda water

• Garnish: salted rim, grapefruit half-moon.

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Fever-Tree serves up a citrusy summer

Sparkling Pink Grapefruit adds fizz and flavour to all our favourite highballs

Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Grapefruit. Supplied photo

Canadians who’ve been searching for that perfect grapefruit soda for their Palomas and punches need look no further. Just in time for all our summer sips, Fever-Tree, the world’s leading maker of premium mixers, has launched Sparkling Pink Grapefruit.

Fever-Tree’s first mixer created specifically for North American consumers, Sparkling Pink Grapefruit, is made with hand-picked Florida grapefruits. It has no artificial colours, flavours, ingredients or sweeteners and is only 30 calories per 200 mL bottle.

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Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Spritz

Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Spritz. Jeff Malo photo

Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Grapefruit perfectly complements spirits and captures the essence of easy-to-make spritzes.

¼ vodka (we suggest Grey Goose)

¾ Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Grapefruit

Garnish: grapefruit wedge and rosemary sprig (optional)

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Fever-Tree Paloma

Fever-Tree Paloma. Supplied photo

Mexico’s favourite cocktail, the refreshing Paloma, is also the easiest to make.

• ¼ tequila (we suggest a 100% agave, like Patrón)

• ¾ Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Grapefruit

• Garnish: grapefruit wedge

• Optional: salt rim

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Tropical tripping

Ottawa TIki Tours photo

Parliament Hill is all well and good, but this summer, there’s an even better reason to visit Ottawa. (Assuming, of course, that we’re able to travel.)

Floating tropical party bars.

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La Joya

La Joya. Matthew Benevoli photo

Matthew Benevoli’s La Joya uses his homemade ginger bug.

• 1.25 oz blanco tequila

• 0.5 oz elderflower liqueur

• 0.75 oz ginger bug

• 1 oz orange juice (preferably fresh-pressed)

• 0.25 oz lemon juice

• Garnish: lemon twist, orange slice or vibrant flower

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