Monday, November 13, 2017

We're Platinum, Baby!

Last night, Hubby and I completed the online check in for our December cruise. When we printed our boarding passes and stuff, there in big RED letters it said PRIORITY. And beside our names: Platinum.

Whoo hoo!!

That means we can avoid the long lines at embarkation and jump ahead of the crowd. That means we get free laundry during the cruise. That means we get invited to the free booze party on the ship!!!

We used to be invited to that party when we were Gold, but they changed that a couple of years ago and made it for Platinum and Diamond guests only.

For Carnival, it takes 75 cruising days to reach Platinum (which took us 12 cruises to do). 200 cruising days for Diamond. We may cruise more often now, but I won’t hold my breath for Diamond. Besides, Platinum gets us what we want: quick boarding on and off the ship and that booze party.

Now we’re all set for the next cruise. But I still have stuff to tell you about the last one. Specifically: tequila.

On our camel adventure in Cabo San Lucas, we were also treated to some tequila tasting. The tour guide didn’t explain how we should go about drinking the stuff, so I’m sure that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much. Especially mescal (that’s the stuff with the worm). It smelled like turpentine and burned going down. Ugh.

In Puerto Vallarta we toured two tequila “factories” and sampled lots more tequila there. They were very small and the tequila was only sold locally. If Hubby and I were regular drinkers (and wanted to mess with getting the booze back on the ship), we might have bought some, but instead we just enjoyed the samples.

It was in Puerto Vallarta where we learned HOW to drink tequila. You should inhale and exhale before chugging the shot, then inhale while you feel the burn going down. Goes a lot better this way than trying to sip the stuff, that’s for sure.

It takes seven years for the blue agave plant to reach the point where they can harvest it. They use the bulb (roots) to make tequila. They use the blue shoots (by making strips) for hats and belts. They said they don’t waste any of the plant.

Before distillation, the agave roots (called pineapples because that’s what they look like) need to be cooked. The first factory we visited cooked the agave in an oven. The second factory buried the agave in a pit and cooked it similar to how the Hawaiians cook pork for a luau. Once it’s cooked, then it’s mashed.

It takes about a week to make blanco (or silver) tequila from cooking to distillation (and it goes through distillation twice). This is the type without aging and the type I’m familiar with as it’s the one used most for mixed drinks (and it’s also the cheapest of the three).

Reposado is tequila that has aged in an oak barrel for about 3 months. It’s light brown in color and has a smoother flavor.

Anejo is tequila that has aged in the oak barrel for a year. It’s darker and similar to aged bourbon. This stuff burned going down.

Oh wait, they all burned. Well, all but the flavored ones.

The darker the tequila, the more expensive it is. That’s not because it takes longer to make, but because they lose product from it sitting in the barrel (through evaporation and absorption).

We tasted several flavored tequilas, too.

Peach was awesome. If we drank (or cooked) more often, we’d have bought some of this. Was told this was a good tequila to marinate pork in. I can believe it.

Café chocolate was very tasty (think Kahlua).

Almond was smooth and sweet, but not a flavor I was fond of.

Mandarin orange was very sweet.

Vanilla crème was good (although a bit on the thick side—it contains milk). Mix it with Café chocolate and it tasted like butterscotch. Add mandarin and you have a chocolate cherry cordial. Strange, but true!

You’d think with all that tasting we would have left the factories drunk. But I’d be surprised if what we consumed came to a total of two shots. Their cups were very tiny and they didn’t fill them half-way.

Overall, I was surprised at how many tequila types there are and how much I liked them. Hubby still prefers his Bacardi.

Our next cruise doesn’t have anything quite as interesting as tequila tasting or camel riding, but I’m sure we’ll have fun anyway.

So… Did I bore you with my tequila talk? Have you ever tried it? I’d never had it straight before, but I could see drinking a shot if I were looking for something to help me sleep (or get me warm). It is my preference in mixed drinks (I like tequila sunrises). And if I ever come across peach tequila in the store I might just buy some. You know, for cooking. Haha!

Happy Monday!



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Skipping the boarding lines is awesome!
Never a fan of tequila, but I've never liked any hard alcohol. Flavored might have been cool to try though.

JeffO said...

I understand they make fun of us south of the border for our insistence on salt licks and lime wedges for drinking tequila. I don't think I've ever done a straight shot of tequila. It's grown on me (I like kamikazes), but it still tastes a bit like burning rubber. Glad you liked it!

Stacy McKitrick said...

Alex - I love skipping long lines!

Jeff - Burning rubber, huh? I didn't get that. Thank goodness!

Maria Zannini said...

I don't drink very often but a friend brought us back a bottle of Milagro anejo.

If you've ever tried the good stuff, you'd never go back to the rock gut again. Night and day.