The Secret Ingredient: Agave
Showcasing the unsung heroes and hidden ingredients of your favourite libations
‘It’s a perennial succulent,’ say the experts. ‘It’s hipster honey,’ say the cynics. ‘It’s a giant Mexican pineapple,’ say the people who really, really like pineapples.
To some extent, they’ll all right.
The Blue Weber Agave, or agave tequilana, is indeed a succulent (think cactus or aloe vera) cultivated primarily in the Western Mexican state of Jalisco. Its core, or piña (Spanish for pineapple)
is steamed to extract what’s known as aguamiel. This can then be filtered down to agave nectar or else fermented to make tequila (or mezcal, if you prefer your shots with an artisanal edge and a tonne more smoke).
Sweeter than honey, thicker than maple syrup, and less processed than corn syrup, agave nectar quickly became the golden boy amongst bartenders and wholefood enthusiast alike. It boasts a sweetness and consistency that plays a real symphony in a cocktail. Granted, a new war on fructose has knocked the natural sweetener off its health food pedestal, but that doesn’t change the fact that it makes a banging Tommy’s Margarita. Just don’t
eat spoonfuls of the stuff and you’ll be fine. WH
Brendan Soprano, head bartender at Liverpool’s primary tequileria, El Bandito, gives his two cents on the perfect Tommy’s Margarita:
50ml Ocho blanco tequila
25ml Fresh lime juice
10ml Agave nectar
1 Dash of orange or grapefruit bitters (optional)
Shake and strain over ice. No garnish. No fuss.
Just sip and enjoy.
Words by Will Halbert
Image Credit by Unsplash