I can hardly swallow. It feels as if I have crushed glass in my throat. The glands in my neck are swollen and protruding. My ears hurt. My body aches. I’m exhausted. Time for some tequila. Definitely not a shot of Jose Quervo with salt and a lemon wedge though. And forget the Gypsy Kings. My current condition can only be remedied by the restorative properties of a Tequila Toddy. Sipped quietly in bed. One part tequila (Don Julio Reposado in this case), the juice of half a lime, agave syrup and hot water, all stirred into a mug.
Making this proves tricky in my state of exhaustion and mild delirium. It takes all my strength to squeeze the lime into the mug and I forget to catch the falling pips. Chewing or choking on a lime pip is not recommended for sufferers of tonsillitis so I try to fish them out. I choose a steak knife for this task – clearly the best tool for scooping up slippery pips. I locate one and manage to maneuver it half way up the side of the mug. I have a bit of a wobble and the pip slides back down. The second attempt results in a similar outcome. And the third. And the fourth. By the ninth attempt I’m tilting the mug at such an angle that I pour a good portion of my toddy onto the floor. About half an hour later I slide the last last pip out of the mug. Feeling significantly weaker than before I started, I worm my way into bed with the elixir and two nurofen. I am asleep before I even finish the fruits of my toil and labour.
I wake up early feeling bright. My throat hardly hurts and I no longer feel like one huge bruise. Then I get a phone call and discover I sound like Rod Stewart. However I do feel much better and it seems my Mexican medicine worked, so I can deal with sounding like an ageing rockstar for a day. My phone goes again. Someone has tweeted at me. Excellia Tequila has tweeted at me.. I remember entering a competition two days ago to win the whole range of their tequilas…… I read the tweet: ” Congrats Hannah, you win 2 big and 3 little bottles of Excellia – the whole range! Mailing address please.” I do a little jig in my bed. Excellia is the Rolls Royce of tequila; aged in Grand Cru Sauternes and Cognac barrels, it’s one of the finest highland tequilas. This is not something you shoot in a bar where the girls whip bottles of tequila from their bandolier belts. This is sophisticated sipping tequila. I think some kind of Mexican themed knees-up is in order. Tonight. Margaritas, nachos, tacos, quesadillas and mariachi music. Today is National Corn Chip Day anyway. I couldn’t think of a better excuse.
I could quite happily eat my way around the world. Here is the list of things I want to fill my face with before I kick the bucket. This list will increase as fast as my appetite does.
Whats on your list and have you eating anything on mine? Suggestions are welcome!
1) Eat a margherita at Da Michele Pizzeria in Napoli – http://www.damichele.net/
2) Drink tequila and eat fish tacos at SFT Tequila Bar in Mexico – http://www.sfttequilabar.com
3) Have dinner at Noma restaurant in Copenhagen – http://www.noma.dk/
Eat a pastrami sandwich at Katzs Deli in NY – http://katzsdelicatessen.com/
Eat pistachio gelato at Gelateria di Piazza in San Gimignano – http://www.gelateriadipiazza.com/
6) Try sauna Makkara (sauna sausage) in a Finnish sauna – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_sauna
7) Eat crayfish on the beach at Die Strandloper in Cape Town – http://www.strandloper.com
8 ) Eat dulce de leche ice cream at Il Bombon in Buenos Aires – http://www.heladeriabombon.com/
9) Eat the best pasteis de natas at Pasteis de Belem in Lisbon – http://www.pasteisdebelem.pt/
Have breakfast at Les Deux Magots in Paris – http://www.lesdeuxmagots.fr/
11) Drink a bellini at Harry’s Bar in Venice – http://www.harrysbarvenezia.com/
Eat fresh coconut on a tropical beach – (no link for this – all you need is a beach and a coconut)
13) Eat sushi at Daiwa Sushi Bar in Tokyo – http://www.tsukijigourmet.or.jp/17_daiwa/
14) Drink a mojito at Bodeguita del medio in Havana – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodeguita_del_medio
15) Eat a hotdog at Flukys in Chicago – http://www.flukys.com/
Tequila suffers from a terrible reputation because of one or two really nasty ones that the majority put up with, when there are some real gems if you only looked a bit harder. And oh, how I love tequila and for so many different reasons. I love how it makes me feel and I love the way it tastes and I love that the best one are made with absolute passion and commitment. I love the purity of it’s fiery liquid honey drops. It is the most magical, mysterious and passionate of all the spirits. But sadly most of us only drink the worst of this noble drink when already on the verge of collapse from too many warm beers at the pub and desperately trying to escape their miserable existence.
Bars could be judged the tequila they stock. It takes an educated bar manager to stock good tequila and his bar will probably attract a very niche group of people. And no, not just Mexicans and mariachi singers either. An establishment with any kind of merit will focus on the quality of the drinks and not on hot bar staff and expensive decor.
It is deeply upsetting when an establishment proclaiming to be an exclusive private members club, and I being in the mood to get elegantly wasted am then presented with a depressingly dismal choice of tequilas. This is the predicament I found myself in recently. The night had started off well with some excellent tapas and a glass of dry fino sherry at Dehesa in Soho. Then, as it was still early and would be very uncool to be the first people in the club, we wandered over to The Diner where we could focus on becoming slightly less sober. I was pleasantly suprised to see Arette and Centenario behind the bar.
Strangely, the selection of tequila also appears to be reflected conversely in the bar staff. I’ve noticed that the better the selection of tequila, the more unattractive the bar staff.
Behind the bar at the private members club was like a scene from Celebrity Love Island. A row of generic pretty boys with lots of hair products keeping their tresses glued in place, more interested in chatting up drunk girls and plying them with even more expensive and badly made cocktails. The tequila on offer here was so offensive that I decided to have one of the badly made cocktails instead. I had a choice between Jose Quervo or Patron which, incidentally, is made by a hairdresser so is appropriate perhaps.
The wannabe footballers and WAGs here could not care less about the shocking selection of tequila or probably believed that Patron is the best tequila in the world. There are the people that keep the Quervo family in business. They are chavs incognito. Out of their natural habitat ie. council estate and foraging for cheap shots and fresh meat.
‘That guy at the end of the bar makes Mezcal’ whispered the barman, gesturing towards a small man with a long straggly pony tail and wonderfully weathered face. I later discovered that he has even more incredibly lined and leathery hands which suggest years of toil.