Soar with the spirit bird of Partida Tequila

by Pamela Irving

If 'Drink less and Enjoy more' is your mantra for 2010, then break with tradition and welcome the new year with an exquisite Partida margarita. The perfect margarita should be translucent, never mushy, permitting the flavour of the tequila to shine through yet be in balance with the other simple ingredients of fresh lime, pure water and ice, and organic agave nectar. It should never be salty because salt, despite common misconception, is not an ingredient in the perfect margarita. The Partida margarita is simple-simply delicious, easy to make, low calorie, no frills and no salt. The essential ingredient for the perfect margarita is of course the perfect tequila. Tequila is the national spirit of Mexico, a traditional, agricultural spirit with a proud history. Unfortunately, tequila has been negatively stereotyped as the 'bad boy' spirit of slammers and extreme drinking.

Ultra premium distillers like Partida Tequila focus on the importance of educating consumers about premium product. 'Gringo' Gary Shansby-marketing brujo, founder and chairman of Partida Tequila is dispelling negativity through quality product development and a quality team.

The results: Paul Pacult gave five stars to each of the Partida tequila line- a first ever for Pacult-who says that Partida Tequilas are simply the best money can buy. Shansby spent years in product development before perfecting the recipe for each Partida marque-the unaged Blanco, the Reposado, aged 6 months, the Anejo, aged 18 months, and the recent release-Extra Anejo Elegante, aged a full 36 months.

Contrary to popular belief, handcrafted, premium quality products like Partida Tequila do not necessarily have a small distribution. Partida is distributed by Southern Wine & Spirits and Republic National Distributing Company, two of the biggest distributors in the US. Partida is marketed internationally in Australia, Mexico and the United Kingdom, and in the US- Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Washington, DC and Washington. Partida will continue to expand aggressively and strategically in the United States. Unfortunately, for those of us north of the border, there are no plans for expansion in Canada. We will just have to visit our friends south of the border more often!

The Partida Tequila - what makes it premium?

The multi-award winning Partida Tequila is an estate grown premium tequila with an authentic, rustic flavour that resonates on the tongue with the taste of the earth, climate, region and practices its prime ingredient-the agave plant-is grown under. Partida Tequila agave is grown exclusively on the Partida estate, which is the key to quality control. Partida is a cut above other premium tequilas primarily due to the perfect aging of the agave from which it is distilled, the distillation process, and the attention to detail in the aging.

Don Enrique Partida, estate manager and owner, was born and raised in the village of Amatitan, under the shadow of an inactive volcano in Mexico, the birthplace of tequila. Amid a sea of blue agave, he learned to perfect agave production and harvest. If the agave is harvested too early, it lacks sugar levels that some producers make up by adding caramel or other sweeteners. Partida Tequila is truly all-natural and made with no less than 100% blue agave. In order to obtain 100% agave status, the spirit legally has to be made with at least a 99% level of agave. Partida Tequila is 'all natural' because the Partida estate has always been farmed without pesticides, stemming back over 100 years; and no additives are used during the production of the tequila.

The heart of the agave plant is 'la pina,' the fruit protected by layers of dusky blue spikes. The larger 'la pina' grows, the more its sugars mature. The Partidas allow their plants to mature up to ten years before harvesting, while some premium brands allow half that time. The pinas are then slow cooked in steel ovens for 20 hours to soften fibers and create fermentable sugars. Shortcuts like steam blasting are never used at Partida. Partida Tequila is twice distilled, once to to purify the fermented liquid and again to bring it to perfection. Partido Blanco goes directly to hand-filled bottles, while Partida Reposado and Anejo Tequilas are aged in American oak barrels.

Jacques Bezuidenhout, roving brand ambassador for Partida believes that re-education is important for imbibers of the tequila spirit. "The response has been brilliant. Bartenders and bar owners see that education works in their establishments. We have taken the stance with Partida that we would teach about the Tequila category and with that would come a stronger appreciation for the Tequila category and Partida. The same works with cocktail education." explains Jacques.

Jacques raises the bar on margaritas for our readers:

  1. Ingredients-Always use fresh ingredients. Do not take short cuts with pre-mixed ingredients. Fresh lime and organic agave nectar combined with Partida Reposado makes the world's best margarita.

    The colour and flavour of the Partida agave nectar comes from the agave juice after it is cooked. Other brands that are lighter in colour filter out the colour and with that some flavour. Partida's smooth agave nectar is certified organic and low glycemic.

  2. Balance-Always find the balance between sweet and sour. The Partida agave nectar balances the fresh lime tartness.

  3. Equipment-Invest in quality bar equipment. The essentials for a margarita: A good shaker, bar spoon, lime and lemon press, good ice trays and smaller glassware. Oversized glassware takes longer to drink, causing the drink to warm up. A margarita is best cold.

Jacques' Partida favourites: 'I love my Partida Reposado neat and backed up with an ice cold Negra Modelo. I love to mix with all of the Partidas as they all give different flavour directions and are very mixable in different styles of cocktails.'

Gary Shansby Partida favourites: Gary loves all marques of Partida Tequila. Depending on the occasion, he likes each marque for different reasons. For a margarita, he enjoys the crispness of the Blanco. If he is relaxing at home, he may sip on the Anejo. And for pre-dinner entertaining, he might make a cocktail with the Reposado or sip it neat. And of course for those special occasions-like New Year's Eve- there is always the Elegante! When he drinks it neat, he likes it in a champagne flute or brandy snifter and in a cocktail he uses the glass appropriate to the recipe.

On New Year's Eve, under the luminescence of the full moon shimmering off the fields of white, I will chill my Anejo Partida in the virgin snow of our organic farm. After chilling, I will release the spirit of Partida- the Spirit Bird of legend who brought the gift of the blue agave's abilities to reduce pain to the ancients. I will pour the Anejo into a champagne flute, and allow the balm of the tequila to wash away any pains of the past year, leaving only joy, and refreshing my spirit and my palate for the next.

Every bottle of Partida Tequila bears the symbol of the spirit bird. Release it and wear it as an amulet and you too will always fly with the Partida spirit bird.

Felicidades y Buenos Nuevos Anos from Pamela Irving - Raising the bar -Drink less and enjoy more' with high quality spirits in 2010!

Partida Margarita with 100% Agave Nectar
  • 1 1/2 oz. Partida Blanco Tequila
  • 1 oz. Fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 3/4 oz. Partida Agave Nectar
  • 3/4 oz. Water

Shake all ingredients with ice in a shaker. Strain over fresh ice into a Margarita glass or Old-Fashioned glass. Taste for Balance.

Note: This is the Margarita recipe made World famous by Julio Bermejo at Tommy's Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco.