It’s hard to say no to a free bottle of tequila. It’s even harder to write a review of that free tequila where you explain how the only way they could have made a less palatable product is by mashing up three turnips and a carrot, filtering the juice through a nylon stocking they found on the side of the interstate, and leaving the swill in an unwashed goldfish tank for two weeks to ferment using leftover saran wrap from a package of ground beef as a valve, then distilling it in a column made from the catalytic converter of a 1984 Oldsmobile. Fortunately, this is not that review.
The free tequila in question is Rosangel, a hibiscus-infused version of Gran Centenario Reposado tequila. It’s bottled in clear glass, which lets the pink hue of the hibiscus show. The glass is incredibly solid – great for clubbing an opponent in a bar fight or preparing root mush – but the cork adds a touch of class that’s usually only seen in a nice bourbon or scotch.
A few friends and I drank the majority of this bottle while watching the classic British gangster film The Long Good Friday. It’s well-suited to drink as a shot – the hibiscus flavor makes it much more interesting on its own – and survives the trip down your throat smoothly enough that a lime isn’t needed. As long as you’re secure enough in your masculinity to handle the pink color (or sufficiently heedless of your femininity to drink straight tequila), it’s also fine for sipping.
The makers describe it as having “a complex, perfumed nose with ripe fruit and floral notes, plus hints of vanilla.” Most prominent is the hibiscus. It’s much lighter and more floral than a typical gold tequila, but it’s also a bit more complex than a silver tequila. It’s definitely not meant for drinking straight from the bottle while being passed around a campfire.
My only real quibble is about the recipes that the makers provide. Brooklyn mixologist Julie Reiner developed several cocktail recipes specifically to include Rosangel, including the Ruby Fizz, the Jalisco, and the Pink Sangria. All of which sound delicious, but are virtually impossible to make. Have you ever heard of Punt y Mes, or Creme de Mure? Do you have any idea where you can buy Agave Nectar or Pomegranate Molasses? Do you really want to make a Margarita that requires eight different ingredients?
I developed my own simple cocktail recipe – the Lazy Maragarita. One ounce tequila, one ounce triple sec, the juice of one lime, and a handful of ice. If strawberries are still in season, cut one in half and toss it in. In the form of a chemical equation, it’s this:
Tq + Ti + LiJu + Sw + H(s) –> Lazy Margarita.
That receipe is actually a variation of the Fruit Sour, which I adapted for strawberry season by…adding a strawberry.
B + Ti + LeJu + Sw + H(s) –> Strawberry Fruit Sour
I’ve reserved the highest praise of Rosangel for the end, which is the hangover we all experienced the following morning. More specifically, the lack of any appreciable hangover. We all found that – despite high sugar consumption and lackluster attempts to rehydrate – we felt just fine the following morning.
Oh yeah – The Long Good Friday is a brilliantly entertaining movie, and features a young Pierce Brosnan kissing another guy in the shower. You should totally watch it while drinking pink tequila.