What You Can Learn From A Tequilera

Audrey Formisano is in-house “Tequilera” at Marriott Puerto Vallarta, a luxury resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. A native of France, she earned a degree in service and hotel management as well as her Sommelier Certification.

One would think that Audrey would be in France teaching about wine, but instead, she enjoys everything Tequila and being in the sun. She started working at Marriott Puerto Vallarta in 2003, and immersed in the native drink of her new home, Tequila, her knowledge of agave spirits grew. She earned her Tequila Certification in 2006, when the resort starting creating its own Tequila, called Tequila CasaMagna.

Audrey took the time to chat with Natasha Swords, Bonfort’s Editor in Chief on the professional role of “Tequilera” — a job title that is growing in on-premise accounts internationally — what it means and why it makes a major difference to the consumer-experience.

BONFORT’S: Plainly speaking, what is a Tequilera?

AUDREY: A Tequilera is a Tequila expert, similar to a Wine Sommelier, because my job is to open all of your senses. When you are trying out a new Tequila, you need to experience the color, the touch, the smell, the taste, and even the sound. All of your senses come together when meeting a tequila brand that’s new to you, and a Tequilera will help you absorb it completely.

BONFORT’S: Tequilera is clearly one of those jobs many people envy. How did you end up in this Holy Grail of professions?

AUDREY: I fell in love with Tequila because as a foreigner, I needed to know more about the most important beverage of the country I was living in, Mexico. I enjoyed seeing the way that Mexicans drink tequila, and for me, it was like sipping a fine cognac. The more I learned, the more I wanted to understand tequila. The more I understood, the more I appreciated it.

BONFORT’S: What are your favorite names in Tequila?

AUDREY: My favorite tequilas are CasaMagna Extra Anejo, Don Julio 70 Anejo, Cazadores Reposado, Tequila Maestro Dobel Diamante, which is a mix between extra anejo reposado and anejo, and Gran Patron Burdeos Anejo.

BONFORT’S: Tequila pairing is growing in popularity. What’s the attraction for restaurateurs to get involved in this?

AUDREY: Many consumers have a general misconception about Tequila. I am a firm believer that once you pair tequila with food, you can learn a lot and people tend to see things differently. Flavors begin to pop and you start to notice other foods that mix well with Tequila.

BONFORT’S: Where does that leave sipping Tequila?

AUDREY: I believe that sipping Tequila is the best way to appreciate it. Taking your time when drinking Tequila is all about the experience you have drinking it, compared to taking a shot. When you take a shot of Tequila, you don’t ever know the flavors of it; is it floral, herbal, smokey?

BONFORT’S: What’s your advice to licensees trying to trade-up consumers?

AUDREY: The best way to recommend a high-end Tequila brand is to know the product you are selling. It’s important to know everything there is to know about the brand, and to also enjoy it. If you don’t like a brand or type of liquor, it makes it difficult to try to get a customer to purchase it. I always tell my bartenders, you don’t have to know every single brand, but if you know the ones you like, you will be good enough to sell them.  

With National Tequila Day coming up (July 24th), I would suggest that restaurateurs help customers find new ways to appreciate it. For example, you could always surprise your customers with offering them a sample of Tequila, rather than wine during their dinner. You could also pair it with your coffee or put flames to it. Consider something unique.

The world of Tequila is constantly changing. So many new techniques have been developed in the past few years. Just one example is filtering the colors when it comes to Anejo, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Tequila makers are continuing to come up with new brilliant ideas, and it’s up to the industry to communicate that to the end-user.

Today, Audrey leads the Tequila tastings at the hotel, and supervises Marriott’s Mikado Restaurant and overseeing its wine cellar, La Cava.

“The great thing about Tequila is that it’s able to pair with almost anything. But Tequila is like a language, so I am still learning something new almost every day” Audrey concludes.

5 Amazing Cocktails From The Mind of a Tequilera
Cucumber Margarita

Ingredients:

1.05 oz Tequila

0.5 oz Orange liquor

1.5 oz Lime

2 sugar scoops

3 slices of crushed cucumber

Method: Shake and pour into glass. Garnish with cucumber.

Tequinci Fiesta

Ingredients:

6 pc nancy fruit

1 oz. Damiana liquor

1.5 oz White Tequila

1 oz. pineapple juice

1.5 oz. natural syrup

Method: Shake and pour into glass. Garnish with citric salt, orange pulp & dehydrated lime.

Pajareta

Ingredients:

1.5 oz Tequila

0.5 oz Tequila cream

0.5 hazelnut syrup

1.05 oz condensed milk

Dash of Chocolate

1 oz egg White  

Method: Shake and pour into glass

Agave Breeze

Ingredients:

1.05 oz White Tequila

11.05 oz Lemon

5 leaves of basil and smashed yellow pepper

Dash of agave syrup

Method: Shake and pour into glass

Purple Kiss

Ingredients:

Dash of agave syrup

1 ½ oz White tequila

1 ½ oz lemon juice

5 pieces of blackberry

Leaves of rosemary

Ice

Method: Shake and pour into glass with ice and garnish with blackberry

 

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Bonfort’s Wine and Spirits Journal is the original business-to-business publication for the alcohol industry. Founded in 1871 and closed with Prohibition in 1920, Bonfort’s is reborn in 2018 as a modern digital media platform that creates and distributes premium digital content daily to the inboxes of the top beer, wine and spirits buyers nationally. Each day we publish the newest product releases, tell brand stories and engage with the entire 3-tier industry through our multidimensional digital media network for fast, immediate and impactful messaging that get’s noticed.

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