Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Trip on the Tequila Bus With Don Julio: Frozen Mexican Coffee

I freely admit that I have never been on a party bus until a couple of weeks ago. You know the kind of bus I'm talking about. The ones with blacked out windows, mirrors on the ceiling, the occasional stripper pole and subs that shake your house as they drive past. I've paid for a couple of them for my kids to get to and from prom and homecoming, but I've never ridden on one to an event that I was involved in.

So, last Tuesday I boarded one of these buses complete with a dozen or so of Denver's best bartenders and a strong contingent of Don Julio representatives. We were headed to parts unknown (to me) with promises of picking organic herbs, drinking some fine tequila and having a little lunch. Little did I know that I was going to be the oldest person and the only blogger on the bus, but you know I always figure that stepping out of my comfort zone can only be good for me.

After an hour of riding, and drinking a strong iced Mexican coffee while sitting next to some really fun people, we arrived at our destination. I still haven't figured out if it was the tequila at 10 am or if the others were really that funny, but who cares. It was a fun trip even if the blacked out bus windows did make me feel kind of like I was traveling in the trunk of a car.

By the time we arrived at Lone Hawk Farms outside of Boulder, the Airstream Speakeasy, a one of a kind mobile bar that is on tour promoting Don Julio this summer, was waiting for us. After a tour of the Airstream and the farm we were invited to pick herbs and ingredients and craft our own one of a kind cocktail. Since I was hanging out with a bunch of pros, I preferred to photograph the resulting cocktails which ranged from the sublime sugar snap pea and radish, which was surprisingly good, to the ridiculous tamale margarita, which I passed on tasting due to the presence of a large amount of tamale sediment in the bottom of the glass.

Sugar snap pea and radish cocktail

The famous tamale cocktail being crafted. In all fairness this was the result of a bet over lunch, and maybe just a little bit too much tequila.

After an hour or so we were invited to take a seat at the beautiful table that was set for us by Zolo Grill in Boulder. As if on cue, just as the beautiful roasted organic chicken, Israeli couscous and blue corn tamales were sat in front of us, the heavens opened up and gave everyone and everything a good dousing.

After a delicious, rain soaked lunch, some mixed more cocktails, and some of us (me) took photos for the next couple of hours before boarding the party bus and heading back to Denver. One quick shout out to our bus driver. I don't know if anyone realizes it or not, but these bus drivers are the unsung heroes of the party world. How they manage to deliver high schoolers and party goers safely to their destinations without pulling over and abandoning them along with their ear piercing music and goodness knows what else, is a mystery to me. No wonder she scraped the bus up against a tree while leaving the farm. Don't worry, it was just a scratch.

So that's kind of a quick rundown of our trip to Boulder.  Before I go, I'd like to leave you with some images of our day at Lone Hawk farm. Thanks to my hosts, Dominic, Sergio and Don Julio for inviting me to this wonderful, out of my comfort zone event and giving us enough tequila along the way to set the festive mood. For more information about Don Julio's superior tequila, the Airstream Speakeasy or Lone Hawk Farms in Boulder, please click on the links.

Frozen Mexican Coffee

Although we were served delicious iced black Mexican coffees (cold brewed coffee, coffee liqueur, and tequila) on our bus trip to Boulder, I wanted to give you the recipe for one of my favorite frozen drinks that I haven't made in years, probably since my bartending days 100 years ago. If you haven't had a Mexican coffee or frozen Mexican coffee before, you are in for a real treat.

1 great big scoop of coffee ice cream or vanilla ice cream and a splash of strong cold brew coffee (method follows)
1 ounce coffee liqueur
1 - 1/2 ounce reposado tequila
Agave nectar or simple syrup to taste (optional)
Whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon to garnish if desired

Place ice cream, coffee liqueur, tequila and agave nectar in a blender. Blend until ingredients are smooth. Pour into a stemmed glass. Serve as is or top with whipped cream and a pinch of cinnamon.

Cold Brew Coffee

Hot brewed coffee is higher in acids than its cold brewed sibling, leaving iced hot brewed coffee with a sharp, acidic flavor. I agree with the the cold brew proponents that say this method of brewing produces a smooth, almost chocolate flavor. It takes hardly no effort but it does require a little bit of time. I think the effort is totally worth it if you are a summertime iced coffee drinker like me.

1 cup of your favorite ground coffee
3 - 4 cups cool water
2 large glass jars (at least 1 quart) with at least 1 lid
2 cone type coffee filters and 1 rubber band for securing to the jar, or a fine mesh tea strainer for filtering

Pour coffee into one of the jars. Add cool water and gently stir a couple of times to incorporate; cover loosely with lid or set a coffee filter over the top to keep out any dust or debris. Set aside on the counter top for 12 - 24 hours (I've tried both and can't really tell the difference) to brew.

Place filter inside of the remaining jar, securing it around the rim with a rubber band. Pour coffee and grounds into the filter (or tea strainer) a little bit at a time allowing it to drain into the clean jar; repeat with all of the coffee. Discard grounds, cover and place into the refrigerator where it will keep nicely for a couple of weeks. When you are ready to serve, pour a splash of coffee over a glass of ice, adding additional water, cream and/or sugar to taste.

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