Inspired by National Tequila Day (July 24), Jackalope Ranch has rolled out a special Tequila Fest menu that does more than line up shot glasses. With 41 distinctive tequilas on hand, the ranch is innovating and entertaining at the bar and in the dining room from July 20 to 24.
A “tequila ambassador” will be on property each evening, leading tastings, showcasing bold arrays of tequila flights, and educating about the varieties on site. It’s one thing to know you love a certain brand of tequila, yet quite another to understand why.
Also expect a brilliant food pairings and a special tequila-infused menu.
Consider the mouth-watering Rajas Queso Fundido appetizer ($12.99), an unforgettable melted cheese dish that arrives flambéed with Tequila Blanc
o and infused with rajas (peppers). You catch the aroma of the tequila right on top when it’s served with house-made tortilla chips. This dish stands out.
Among the entrées, the Blackened Barramundi fish ($25.99) comes doused in Tequila Blanco and with a tasty pineapple relish, vegetables, and rice. For Jackalope’s Flat-iron Steak ($28.99), the chef sautées mushrooms and tequila sauce with a handcrafted cactus relish, alongside creative accompaniments.
Dessert? Of course. Here, an outstanding oak-aged tequila poured over macerated berries served over vanilla ice cream ($14.99) will inspire a call for seconds.
Beyond the dinner table, you can explore three house selections in depth:
This white spirit powerhouse, bottled or stored immediately after distillation, is typically un-aged — or aged less than two months — in stainless steel or neutral oak barrels. More than a dozen offerings are featured under the Blanco/Plata umbrella. A few stand-outs:
- Cabo Wabo Blanco: You may dig Sammy Hagar for other reasons, most of them musical, however he’s the daddy of this tequila, even though he sold 80 percent of the brand to Skyy Spirits for $80 million a few years ago. Still, Cabo Wabo shines because it was one of the first 100 percent blue agave tequilas available in the United States. Take it straight or with a Sangrita. For cocktails, take your pick: Caborita, Sunset on the Pacific, Campari Margarita, El Bicentenario.
- Herradura Silver: You can’t go wrong with this one. Note the smoky herb flavors. There’s also a nice touch of citrus and a stellar, rich, long finish.
- Tres Generacions Plata: This triple-distilled beauty delivers a rare purity and smoothness. The flavor: intense. The finish: clean and crisp. Enjoy it neat, on the rocks, or in a cultured cocktail.
Reposado is the briniest of the tequilas but in a Tequila Universe, brine is a great thing. Blancos have a tendency to force your eyes to slam shut and may you feel as if you’ve been slapped in the face. However, there’s no need to run. This one is aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year, in oak barrels of any size. A few to consider:
- MiIagro Select: The nose of this golden-straw-colored, estate-grown, 100 percent blue agave tequila is clean, considered to be “agave-forward,” with notes of caramel and a slightly spicy finish.
- Clase Azul Reposado: Made from 100 percent organic Tequilana Weber Blue Agaves, it provides diverse aromas (cream soda, spice, caramel, earthy agave) and long sweet finish.
- Hornitos Repo: It’s named for the Spanish — clay ovens agave is traditionally used to roast agaves for distillatio. The light straw yellow appearance should not deceive you. The taste: cilantro, alkali tang, black pepper, and green peppers. The finish: slightly bitter. Consider it for Margaritas and Tequila Sunrises.
Aged a minimum of one year but less than three years in small oak barrels, this light amber powerhouse delivers the perfect balance of agave, wood, and hints of vanilla. It’s best experienced neat in a snifter or on the rocks. You won’t miss out, either way. A few to consider:
- 4 Copas Añejo: Often called “The King of Tequilas” because of its age and authenticity, it’s known to lure diehard scotch drinkers from their true love. Expect no added caramel or flavors and a strong agave finish.
- 1921 Añejo: Nourished in the red soils of the highlands region of Jalisco, Mexico, this variety’s “1921” marks the year the Mexican Revolution ended.
- Patron Añejo: Relish the fresh bouquet of grapefruit, orange, and spearmint. There’s a sweet finesse in its finish.