Agave, Two Ways

00:00 April 20, 2011
By: 2Fik
[Where Y'At Staff/Provided Photo]

The roommate who dangled a wine cooler in your gray, shattered face after an all-night bender had the right idea...the agave plant is like hitting the jackpot twice: the plant's juice, when filtered, yields agave syrup; juice that instead is fermented, distilled and barrel-rested eventually becomes tequila. (Mexican law calls for añejo tequila to be casked for at least a year).

Agave syrup, or nectar, is popular as a low-glycemic, lower-calorie sugar substitute. In cold drinks, agave nectar dissolves more thoroughly than sugar or honey, allowing for a more consistent, fuller-bodied cocktail.
I enjoyed the agave-spiked Michoud Berry at downtown's brilliant Victory Bar. In this punchy cocktail, the nectar amplifies the sweet fruit notes of blackberries and strawberries; it's all balanced by the St. Germain's discreet florals. The result is a cocktail that's pure tropical sunshine.

Bar owner and award-winning mixologist Daniel Victory turned to agave nectar because he wanted to create a cocktail that diabetic members of his family could enjoy.

Agave nectar's burly big brother, tequila, doesn't make any such health claims, though its higher-end versions are a far cry from the wormy lighter fluid you once tried at a frat party.

For a while, that was my impression of the spirit. Then a friend turned me on to El Jimador Añejo, saying that it's mellower and more of a sipping spirit than either of the harsher reposado or blanco varieties. (Classic distillery Casa Herradura produces its sister line of El Jimador tequilas in Mexico.)

My friend was right. The El Jimador Añejo is warm oak and sharp vanilla and traces of caramel, and the only tequila I've tried that I'm glad to have next to me, stretching the palate as I write.

Michoud Berry
Written by Kim Loanle, courtesy of the Victory Bar

  • 1.5 ounces Plymouth gin
  • .5 ounce St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
  • .5 ounce agave nectar
  • .5 ounce lemon juice
  • Fresh fruit muddle
  • Shake together, strain, top with club soda and whole or sliced berries.

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