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SNOB! Tequila - The Anti-Venom

Tell me - dear reader - if you’ve been here before. You go to a friend's house with a truly nice bottle of Tequila. You know the difference between a Jose Mixto and Reserva de la Familia. You know a place that makes mostly crappy margarita mixtos can still make something very good. But you don’t bring Jose Reserva, you bring Gran Centenario or some other very good but not high priced Tequila.

You think you’re on the winning team here. They’re all having margaritas, and you think they do that because they like the taste of cheap Tequila and would enjoy being exposed to something better. But you find out you’re wrong. You’re a jerk for bringing something good. You’re a jerk for suggesting that there is such a thing as ‘good Tequila’. You’re harassed to no end. The first time this happens, you’re foolish enough to explain that if they only tried it they’d see the quality of the ‘good’ one versus the bad thing they’ve had.

After some debate some start to try it. One slams it and tells you it’s crap. Another pretends to taste it and makes a sickening grimace. Another tastes it and tells you that it tastes “exactly like” the cheap stuff he got wasted on as a kid.

What you eventually learn is that almost everybody is open to new stupid experiences as a kid and almost no one is open to new and enriching experiences as an adult. These same ridiculers will still drink the cheap stuff that messed them up as teenagers. In fact, they’re emptying bottles of Jose Cheapo into their margarita glasses as long as it’s obscured in lime punch. But they absolutely refuse to try something totally new and different without feigning a gag.

I cannot express to you the derision I’ve suffered in my casual championing of the losing cause of great Tequila. Yet, there are some of you that inflict this plague on yourselves on a daily basis. I salute you for this, but I need to explain to you the reason why some otherwise intelligent and adventurous individuals will never listen to the absolute undeniable truth you are trying to convey.

The past is written. They live in a world where they got so sick they almost died on the worst drink known to man, Tequila. They
were young and inexperienced. They drank way too much and they tasted it twice! Once straight and once as the most disgusting gut
margarita imaginable. Come to think of it, the regurgitation was probably the only real taste they got. That was an indelible experience for them. It’s part of them & it keeps them alive. If they have to rewrite the events of that night they lose a pivotal event in their life.

They need to be strong. They live in a world where they conquered the beast. They drank the most savage beverage known to man (a 38-40% ABV distillate) they died a thousand deaths in an evening and they were resurrected as strong wise prophets who can now spread the truth of the evils lurking in the heart of the agave (that was mostly Mexican rum blended with a little agave sugar).
Of course, it’s mostly this tale of survival and strength. They weren’t beaten by this evil spirit.

They’re jerks. Sure they’re your friends and you like them. They’re probably great people, just not when it comes to this topic. They need to have something to hold over you since you’re educated and informed. They have EXPERIENCE and that trumps fact ... ESPECIALLY when fact is accompanied by your experience.

What I’m saying here is that you’ll never win, not with everybody (sadly, barely anybody). You need to let it go, just let them live in ignorance and keep retelling that sad story. It’s part of who they are. There is always something ugly in everyone. Their fatal flaw is their alcoholic prejudice. Yours is that you keep trying to fix a flaw they don’t want to fix.

I must admit to making this mistake quite often. Now when I overestimate my associates and bring them something good or great or even sublime, I just back off. I never attempt to get anybody to try the good stuff anymore. Sure, I still get showered with insults. But then I get to enjoy hanging out with my friends drinking what I brought, while they suffer in ignorance at the communal dirty punch bowl.

Understanding the possibility of alienating some of you, I’m going to admit an absolute truth: Tequila is among the top 5 (and possibly ranks #1) of all the hard liquors. I know some who have given it a legitimate shot, but who still don't appreciate it. I respect that, because not everything is for everyone.

Just as we separate Single Malt Scotch and its mutant sibling Blended Scotch into two distinct camps (although Campbelltown Loch 25 year old is a fine blend), we also must separate 100% Weber Blue Agave Tequila from the Mixtos. People often make the stupid mistake of trying the cheap stuff before they ever try the good stuff. Then they meander around for years drinking sub-par. If you’re a beginning drinker, you don’t need to make a rookie mistake. Find a knowledgeable friend (or even a stranger) and ask them what’s the best. Start with what you’re sure is the best (at least the best known example of the style), then move on from there. With what you learn you’ll discern what makes up a quality Tequila or anything else for that matter. Then, you can explore the bargain basement from time to time and find real deals, not just cheap garbage, but enjoyable and inexpensive delights. Then some well-meaning (jerk) friend will tell you that you’re drinking garbage, but you’ll know the truth.

What I’m saying is that there is knowledge and opinion. There are a few things that I know are lower quality but I like them anyway. I have knowledge and opinion. You can too. If you hate Tequila, you can say, “I don’t like Tequila, but I know it’s a well-made and interesting beverage”. Isn’t that great?

Whatever your tastes may be, knowledge of this fine beverage is the anti-venom.

--Thomas Ale Johnson