spacer
spacer
WELCOME | ABOUT TEQUILA AGAVE | MEDIA & EVENTS | BUYING TEQUILA | CONTACT | OUR PARTNERS

Media & Events

spacer



Mexican Ambassador to the UK Eduardo Medina Mora and Cleo
Mexican Ambassador to the UK Eduardo
Medina Mora and Cleo
Thomasina Miers and Cleo Rocos
Thomasina Miers and Cleo Rocos
Tequila-Masters-Results
Tequila Masters Results.
Click on the image for PDF
Cleo and Graham Norton
Cleo Rocos and Graham Norton
Cleo at Lulu party at Harvey Nichols with Don Alvaro Skinny Margarita
Cleo at Lulu party at Harvey Nichols with
Don Alvaro Skinny Margarita
Tom Parker Bowles, Cleo Rocos Jules Gauldoni out in London
Tom Parker Bowles, Cleo Rocos Jules Gauldoni out in London
Cleo Rocos and Steven Gerrard enjoy a  Skinny Margarita
Cleo Rocos and Steven Gerrard enjoy a
Skinny Margarita
Cleo Rocos at the Brit awards
Cleo Rocos Brit Awards
Cleo
Jeff Beck and Cleo at his O2 party
Sir Ian Mckellen and Cleo Rocos at  Young Vic tequila bar
Sir Ian Mckellen and Cleo Rocos at
Young Vic tequila bar
Kate Silverton and James Max enjoy Tequila at BBB
The Tequila Society at Harvey Nichols
The Tequila Society at Harvey Nichols
The Tequila Society at Harvey Nichols
Cleo at Lulu party at Harvey Nichols with  Don Alvaro Skinny Margarita
Cleo at Lulu party at Harvey Nichols with
Don Alvaro Skinny Margarita

Henry Conway and Cleo Rocos at  Tequila Society party London Mahiki
Henry Conway and Cleo Rocos at
Tequila Society party London Mahiki
Cleo Rocos and Dame Judi Dench
Cleo Rocos and Dame Judi Dench
Kate Silverton and James Max enjoy Tequila at BBB
Kate Silverton and James Max enjoy
Tequila at BBB
David Gandy and Cleo Rocos at the Tequila Society lunch
David Gandy and Cleo Rocos at the Tequila
Society lunch
Kate Silverton and Nancy Lam enjoy The Tequila Society party at Harvey Nichols London
Kate Silverton and Nancy Lam
enjoy The Tequila Society party at
Harvey Nichols London

Taari Sian owner Nu Sound Radio and Erin O'Connor
Taari Sian owner Nu Sound Radio and
Erin O'Connor
Cleo Francisco Gonzalez President CNITand Sharon Marshall at BBB dinner
Cleo Francisco Gonzalez President CNIT
and Sharon Marshall at BBB dinner
Kate Silverton, Cleo Rocos and Erin O'Connor
Kate Silverton, Cleo Rocos and
Erin O'Connor
Cleo Rocos & Steven Gerrardspacer
Cleo Rocos and Football star Steven
Gerrard talk Tequila at opening of The
Warehouse in Southport
Tom Parker Bowles, Cleo Roccos and Matt ford
Tom Parker Bowles with Cleo Rocos and
Matt Fort share tequila cocktail recipes
Dave Berry from XFM and Cleo Rocos celebrate the launch of The Tequila Society at The Punch Bowl and  Kanaloa in London 10 Feb 2010
Dave Berry from XFM and Cleo Rocos celebrate the launch of The Tequila Society at The Punch Bowl and
Kanaloa in London 10 Feb 2010

Cleo spreading the word with Gordon Brown
Cleo spreading the word with Gordon Brown
and Sarah 04/02/10

Kate Moss and Cleo Rocos enjoy a tequila together
Kate Moss and Cleo Rocos enjoy a
tequila together.
Cleo Rocos and Alan Carr
Cleo Rocos and Alan Carr
Steve and Peter from Soho Wines with StuartFreeman,Papa Jules and Marion  Saurel discussing boutiquebrands and  Alma Mia Tequila 13/05/10
Steve and Peter from Soho Wines with
Stuart Freeman,Papa Jules and Marion
Saurel discussing boutiquebrands and
Alma Mia Tequila 13/05/10
Alma Mia Tequila available outside of Mexico for the first time. World premier in the UK 02/2010
Alma Mia Tequila available outside of
Mexico for the first time. World premier
in the UK 02/2010
Don Alvaro 100 percent Organic premium tequila
Don Alvaro 100 percent Organic premium tequila is available at Brompton Club, The Anthologist, The Parlour, The Refinery, Cafe Pacifico, Four Season Hotel


Alan Carr, Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby


Dita Von Teese


Emma Bunton, Holly Willoughby and Cleo Rocos


Cleo Rocos, Nicky Haslam and Derren Brown


Cleo Rocos, Holly Willoughby, Emma Bunton and friends


Cleo Rocos and Emma Bunton


AquaRiva and Tequila Society party at Pelham Hotel


Keith Lemon, Holly Willoughby, Emma Bunton and Cleo Rocos at Keith's Birthday Party
 

Independent & The Independent on Sunday
Tequila: Get into the party spirit

There's more to tequila than margaritas and slammers. Tim Wapshott hits the agave trail and learns to savour the real thing

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Cleo Rocos is on a mission. She'd like to teach the world the virtues of tequila. This year, she even set up The Tequila Society to educate and encourage more of us in the UK to get a taste for her favourite tipple. The comedian may seem an unlikely ambassador for tequila, but it is a quest she not only relishes but takes very seriously.

Last month she was officially named the UK's Tequila Queen by the Mexican tequila chamber, which owns and runs the country's long-established tequila industry. Every few months she is a well-received visitor in Guadalajara, the city at the heart of Mexico's tequila world.

"My love of tequila goes back 10 years, to when I had my first sip of El Tesoro," she told me as we set off for the dusty town of Arandas, an hour east of the city, where several of Mexico's finest tequilas are bottled. "I loved El Tesoro after my first taste, and then got a thirst to try more and more tequilas. My favourites are 100 per cent blue agave tequilas, made from the blue agave plant for which the Arandas region is famous."

Most of us have probably tried mescal, which technically cannot be called a tequila since it can be made from any agave plant and produced and bottled outside the country's designated tequila 'appellation' areas. Most mescal boasts a signature worm in the bottom of the bottle – plucked from the agave plants when they are being harvested. The inclusion of the sodden worm in the bottle is simply a marketing gimmick.

It was not merely the taste of blue agave tequila which seduced Rocos: "I found that I could drink it without putting on weight or feeling bloated. In fact, it's a digestive: I have always had a 'nervous' stomach, but I find tequila very easy on the stomach."

Come rain, shine or influenza, tequila remains one of Mexico's main earners and a staggering 74 per cent of the country's tequila production is traditionally bound for North America. The biggest consumers are California, its neighbouring states and – perhaps not too surprisingly – New Mexico. In Europe it is the Germans and us Brits who are the biggest consumers of Mexican agave tequila and, if Rocos gets her way, we could leave the Germans standing in our level of consumption.

El Tesoro is one of the oldest that can be officially dubbed a "100 per cent blue agave tequila". It has always been bottled in the town of Arandas, along with other well-established brands such as El Charro and Tezon. Down the road from the impressive Arandas Cathedral, the El Tesoro bottles roll out of the bottling plant just as they have done for more than a century.

Now they do so under the watchful eye of the the two sons of the founder, Don Felipe Camarena. Carlos and Felipe Camarena continue the family tradition and also produce the Tapatio and Tequila Ocho brands. The bottling plant is literally awash with the spirit: the empty bottles are rinsed out in tequila rather than water before being filled, to make sure no impurities get in.

Tequila is brought to the plant from the Camarenas' rural distillery, 20 minutes away by road. The fields around Arandas are lined with rows of blue-green agave plants and there are many things that will impact on the flavour of the tequila they finally produce. The ideal soil for the plants is red in colour, a sign that it is rich in iron oxide. Each plant takes eight years to mature fully, but then they must be quickly harvested otherwise they will start to rot.

Fully grown, a healthy blue agave plant is about 5ft tall and 4-5ft round. Its spiky leaves are hacked off to leave a large "nut" husk 1ft by 1.5ft long, which looks almost like a giant pineapple. The nuts are stacked in steaming huts where they are cooked for a day-and-a-half. It is the intense steam that turns the starch into sugar, or "honey".

The nuts are then taken out of the huts and placed on a small thrashing production line that squeezes out a sweet, brown nectar. This is stored in towering wooden barrels that quickly start to ferment. "Yeast is a vital part of the fermentation process of agave tequila, and most Mexican distilleries are obsessively protective of their special yeast formulas," says Rocos. "At the La Altena distillery they are more relaxed, perhaps because their yeast formula is practically impossible to replicate. Most of the Camarenas' fermentation barrels have been in use for more than a century, so that even after a thorough rinsing some of the living yeast remains in the wood – and this springs back to life whenever new agave juice is added."

"Some distilleries even play music in the fermentation process," adds Carlos. "As yeast is a living organism, it is thought that they enjoy the music. But this is not something we have tried at La Altena."

The fermentation process lasts four or five days and the resulting brown liquid is distilled to leave ethanol – that is, the alcohol that humans can drink safely. Then a second distillation process removes various impurities, and the resulting tequila is barrelled up for maturing.

"The source and quality of the wood for the barrels can dramatically affect the flavour," explains Cleo. They all tend to be made from oak, either American or French ... As a rule of thumb, when American oak is used it gives the tequila a vanilla flavour, but French oak delivers a darker chocolatey taste."

"We prefer to use the same methods that our father perfected," adds Carlos. "Automated plants could turn around the harvesting-to-barrelling process in just five days, but we don't like rushing things. After all, we waited eight years for the agave plants to mature so our thinking is, what's a few more days? Our process may take us about 10 days – but we believe the results are worth that extra wait!"

Apart from promoting The Tequila Society (www.thetequilasociety.co.uk), Rocos is also about to start importing a number of tequilas into the UK via her company Tequilas of Mexico. Her visits to Mexico nowadays involve endless meetings with small, family-owned tequila makers at all hours of the day.

It can come as something of a shock to join her for breakfast meetings in the cafe of Guadalajara's Fiesta Americana business hotel and be sampling shots of several aged tequilas alongside the coffee, eggs and bacon. It is not a combination that really works too well, but I was almost surprised that she didn't simply pour tequila on her cornflakes and have done.

It's not something that's likely to appear on British breakfast menus any time soon, but there are signs that a new interest in tequila is stirring here. Restaurants and bars such as Green and Red in Shoreditch, London, and the Mexican restaurant Wahaca and The Parlour, which have just opened in Canary Wharf, both say tequilas are finding favour among discerning young drinkers.

Mark Selby, owner of Wahaca, believes Britain should "sip, not slam" to get the best out of tequila. He is adamant that the key to Britain really relishing tequila is to disassociate it from its current party image. "There are those tequilas that are best as before-dinner drinks, those that are the perfect accompaniment to a meal, for example a Blanco is great with spicy food, and those that make an ideal after-dinner digestive," says Selby. "A true 100 per cent blue agave tequila is like nothing you've ever tasted before. There are flavours of caramel and dried fruits. It's novel and fascinating."

"Almost all of the 100 per cent blue agave tequilas are organic," Cleo explains. " I am now sourcing lesser-known, family-run brands to bring in to theUK." She claims: "I've never had a hangover from drinking too much tequila – so for me it is a very dignified spirit."

Indeed. Pass the coffee, Cleo love. I seem to have one hell of a hangover.

spacerHot shots: Top tequilas

El Tesoro
This legendary tequila is renowned for its quality and superior taste. Part of the Tapatio family of tequilas, it is smooth and a favourite with aficionados.
thewhiskyexchange.com

Aha Toro
No fewer than six varieties, one of the more interesting is the pink Diva Aha Toro which gets its colour by being aged for a while in Merlot wine barrels.
thewhiskyexchange.com

Ocho Añejo
A new arrival to theUK, this has a crisp and delicate taste. The exact field in which the agave plant was sourced to produce the tequila is detailed on every bottle.
thedrinkshop.com

Don Julio
Traditionally produced, the soft flavour of this tequila makes it ideal for tequila novices.
thedrinkshop.com

Siete Leguas
One of Mexico's oldest tequilas, this has a creamy texture with complex flavours.
thewhiskyexchange.com

Herradura
Produced by one of Mexico's legendary distillers, these tequilas have refined, soft flavours.
thedrinkshop.com

Don Alvaro
Its 'Enjeo' ('old one') version is produced and aged for 5 years in American Oak and is ideal for margaritas and cocktails or sipping. Value for the price.
gerrys.uk.com

 
 
 


Take a tequila tour in Mexico
By TIM WAPSHOTT - Friday, October 30, 2009 METRO

The swine flu pandemic decimated Mexico's tourist industry back in April. Overnight, visitors to the country dropped a staggering 80 per cent. But a group of determined visitors with a taste for adventure remained undaunted: the tequila tourists.

Drive east of the city for just over an hour and you reach the dusty, sun-bleached town of Arandas, where tequila and Catholicism go hand in hand. Arandas is home to the El Tesoro bottling factory, one of Mexico's oldest and finest tequila brands. The town sits on a hill and the huge Arandas Cathedral dominates the locals' thinking every bit as much as the landscape - until H1N1 broke out, that is. Then it closed its doors and held services on the pavement until the pandemic passed. Even now, six months on, waiters in some restaurants around central Mexico still wear surgical masks.

Just along the road from Arandas Cathedral, the El Tesoro bottles roll out under the watchful eye of master distiller Carlos Camarena, grandson of original founder Don Felipe. Tequila is brought in for bottling and the place is literally awash with the stuff - each bottle is even rinsed in tequila to ensure there are no impurities before being filled.

The bottling process is the end of the tequila production line that started just 20 minutes outside the town at the Camarenas' rural La Alteña distillery. The nut husk of the blue agave cactus-like plant (pictured below) is steamed for 36 hours, turning the starch into honey. Yeast is added (most Mexican tequila distilleries are extremely protective of their unique yeast formulas) and it is left to ferment for up to five days.

'We prefer to use the same methods my grandfather perfected,' says Carlos. 'Automated plants can turn around the harvest-to-barrel process in just five days but we don't like to rush things. We waited eight years for the agave plants to mature so what's a few more days? Our process takes about ten days - it's worth the wait.'

Cutting an unlikely dash in Guadalajara is former Kenny Everett sidekick Cleo Rocos ( pictured ), a big advocate of tequila. Last year she set up a tequila appreciation society (www.tequilasofmexico.co.uk) to educate our taste buds ahead of importing finer vintages to our shores in the future. She is now a regular visitor to the region.

'Tequila is about the only thing I drink these days,' she told me. 'I think in Britain it is underestimated but some vintages are quite exceptional. I'm not surprised tequila tourism is flourishing in Mexico - it is a Mecca for fans.'

At the side of the road on the way back to Guadalajara is Jaime's, a vast restaurant crammed with locals. Awash with different tequilas from the region, it serves house speciality carnitas, or shredded pork, along with delicious home-made tacos, quesadillas and tortillas. Back in Guadalajara, visitors should head to the newly-opened La Tequila. Its fresh and modern food starts at about £18 for three courses, although the local delicacy made with ant eggs is overrated. Ant eggs, it seems, are best left to the ants.

Tim stayed at Fiesta Americana in Guadalajara. Tel: 00 52 33 3818 1400. Rooms from about £90 a night. Visit www.visitmexico.com for further info.

The Camarena family welcomes visitors and can be e-mailed to arrange distillery tours on (bricksa@prodigy.net.mx). Alternatively, contact Tequila Tours (tequilatours.com) to visit other distilleries in the region. British Airways www.british airways.com flies from Gatwick to Mexico City from about £620 return. Mexicana www.mexicana.com flies between Mexico City and Guadalajara for about £140 return.

spacerThe El Tesoro bottling factory is home to one of Mexico’s oldest and finest tequila brands
The El Tesoro bottling factory is home to one of Mexico’s oldest and finest tequila brands

spacer3Former Kenny Everett sidekick Cleo Rocos is now a tequila evangelist Former Kenny Everett sidekick Cleo Rocos is now a tequila evangelist

 



Cleo Rocos is honoured with a recognition of 'Tequila Queen'
September 11, 2009 Guadalajara Mexico,
Cleo is honoured with a recognition of
'Tequila Queen'. Presenting the award are
past presidents of the National Tequila
Chamber (CNIT) and the current president
Juan Casados Arregoitia.
Cleo Rocos with the legendary Don Julio
Cleo Rocos with the legendary Don Julio
at The Day of the Tequilero, 50th Anniversary
in Mexico, Sept. 2009.
Leaders in the tequila industry celebrate 50 years of the Camara Nacional De La Industria Tequilera
Leaders in the tequila industry celebrate
50 years of the Camara Nacional De La Industria Tequilera the governing organization for the tequila industry.
Comunicacion Empresarial-Guadalajara
Comunicacion Empresarial-Guadalajara
News, Sept 2009
Comunicacion Empresarial Guadalajara
Comunicacion Empresarial-Guadalajara
News, Sept 2009
Tomas Estes, Miguel Cedeno Cruz, Cleo, Olivia Guevara (DJ for Radio Formula),
Tomas Estes, Miguel Cedeno Cruz,
Cleo, Olivia Guevara (DJ for Radio Formula), Stuart Freeman at the
Tequila Chambers in Guadalajara to discuss international distribution.
The Tequila Society hosted the first chocolate and tequila tasting for world famous Master Chocolatier Paul A Young
08 July 2009, Canary Wharf
The Tequila Society hosted the first chocolate
and tequila tasting for world famous Master Chocolatier Paul A Young, Tim Wapshott from
The Times, Promexico representatives, and
other chocolate aficionados. A total of 12
tequilas and over 20 chocolates were tasted
to select the very best combinations. A further
tasting will decide the final combinations which
will be revealed during Chocolate Week in
London this October.
Harpers Wine and Spirit Magazine
June 2009 Harpers Wine and Spirit Magazine interview with Cleo and The Tequila Society
24 June 2009, London
The launch of Ocho Anejo tequila was held at the La Perla Restaurant on the Charlotte St. popular with the stylish and cool celebrities in London's West End. It was received by an enthusiastic crowd of aficionados and industry leaders. In attendance were two Tequila Ambassadors, Tomas Estes Ambassador for Europe and Phil Bayly from Australia. Cleo Rocos was in attendance to meet the many supporters for The Tequila Society and to sample the fine delicate flavour of Ocho Anejo tequila, this is a classic.
Cleo Rocos and Phil Bayly Tequila Ambassador to Australia
Cleo Rocos and Phil Bayly Tequila Ambassador
to Australia
Debbie Moore owner of PINEAPPLE DANCE STUDIOS in London salutes the Margarita
Debbie Moore owner of PINEAPPLE DANCE STUDIOS in London salutes the Margarita
Refuel Bar-London
Refuel Bar-London