Once upon a time in Mexico
When it comes to tequila, there’s nothing as delicious as a tasty backstory, and that’s exactly what Longboard Bar & Grill owners Chris Haddad and Anthony Armstrong are serving here – straight up, chilled and in margaritas.
In January 2019, restaurant owner and avid traveller Chris Haddad made his first journey to the town of Tequila in the State of Jalisco, Mexico, the birthplace of tequila. Just as true champagne hails only from the Champagne region in France, true tequila only comes from the State of Jalisco.
“The town of Tequila itself is beautiful little city too, with cobble-stone streets, and only around 50,000 people, whose livelihoods are each attached to tequila in some way.”
“Driving from Guadalajara to Tequila, the whole area is world heritage listed, and when you see those blue agave fields, in the heat of the desert, the atmosphere has a blue look – it’s pretty special,” says Chris. (Blue agave is a perennial succulent from which tequila is made, and looks, bizarrely, like a giant greenish-blue pineapple.) “The town of Tequila itself is beautiful little city too, with cobble-stone streets, and only around 50,000 people, whose livelihoods are each attached to tequila in some way.”
While on a VIP tour of Casa Herradura, a brand of tequila that’s been around since 1870, Chris decided he would purchase a barrel of tequila specifically for his restaurant. “When I first came to Australia in 1999, there was an agave drought in Mexico, so you couldn’t get any tequila except that cheap stuff people drank as salt-lemon-shooter,” recalls Chris. In contrast, Herradura is a reputable brand, rich in history, with quality, robust tequila best enjoyed by slow sip.
“I sold the idea of buying a barrel of tequila to my business partner, Anthony Armstrong, quite easily, but I wanted him to know the passion and the experience I’d had at Casa Herradura so we returned to Mexico in August 2019.”
At the end of their tour, Chris and Anthony, tasted from three barrels of aged tequila. “We sipped tequilas from champagne-style glasses and after 90 minutes, we needed a blindfold test.” (Each barrel changes the flavour ever so slightly, so every barrel is unique.) “Our decision was unanimous. The barrel was sealed, and we returned to Australia, waiting for our barrel to go to bottle. After the USD to AUD conversion, it turned out to be a pretty penny!”
The empty barrel and 240+ bottles of Longboard’s Herradura Double Barrel Reposado arrived in Townsville in February. Each bottle is labelled: 100% blue agave tequila, aged 11 months and lightly charred in oak barrels and matured for an additional month in a virgin toasted oak barrel, specifically crafted for Longboard Bar & Grill.
The tequila has proven wildly popular with customers. “Our staff have shared our Herradura story at the bar, and customers want to taste the story. If we continue this way, we’ll be back in Mexico within six months!”
Longboard’s Herradura Double Barrel Reposado tequila is available now, served straight up, chilled, as a Rosemary Paloma or in margaritas. It is currently selling well and as soon as the borders reopen, we’ll be heading over for barrel number two.