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03/27/14 A’Toda Madre and Four Must-Try Tequilas

For most things in life, would you expect anything less than 100 percent? That’s what the guys behind A’Toda Madre believe, at least when it comes to tequila. “If there’s one thing I can recommend, demand 100 percent agave tequila. Life’s too short to go half-assed,” says Sante Perreras, who with brother Aljor and Juan Carlos Muñoz, a buddy since childhood in California, opened Manila’s only tequila bar in February. “Even for [tequila] cocktails, also demand 100 percent agave tequila. I think that’s where we distinguish ourselves. We don’t have anything here that isn’t 100 percent.”

Tucked along a side street in Burgos, A’Toda Madre introduces an alternative to lick-shoot-n’-pass out drinking culture through its wide selection of blancos to accompany a well-edited menu. Unlike mixto tequilas, the stuff of spring break body shots offering at least 51 percent agave tequila and a mix of other alcoholic sugars, the blanco preserves “the rawest essence of the agave plant” from which it is distilled. Uncut and minus the burn, a blanco’s flavor profile becomes distinctive. Those derived from the agave grown in Mexico’s Tequila valley are earthier, while tequilas from the highlands swing between floral and fruity. Expect even more complexity from a tequila that’s barrel-aged, especially made from the care and craft of small-batch producers.

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With design inspired by rustic San Miguel de Allende, a small city in South Central Mexico and Muñoz’s home base, A’Toda Madre encourages the savoring of tequilas you can go long with.  Certainly the sort that can be sipped amid a conversation by sunset.

With over 1,500 tequila brands out there, there’s a lot to explore. NOUS tries to narrow things down and asks the guys to choose only one bottle they’d save from a fire. One of them had to go with two.

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Maestro Dobel Tequila 

“They call it a reposado, it’s actually a blend. It also has añejo and extra añejo about it. What’s interesting about this one is they actually filter the color out. Normally as you age tequila in a barrel, through the 12 months, it takes the color of the barrel as well. It naturally gets darker. Not by adding caramel like the mixtos. It makes fantastic cocktails. I think it’s also good as a sipping tequila for the neophytes. With this, I’d make a very crisp margarita—just this with 100 percent agave nectar and fresh lime juice. A balance of sweet and sour. Very refreshing, makes me want to go to Boracay.”

—Sante Perreras

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Blue Iguana Tequila 

“It’s a very good tasting tequila—a great tequila at a good price point. This is one of the tequilas that we’re gonna try to market throughout Southeast Asia. The name, the design of the bottle, it takes me to Mexico, my home, and all the beauty that’s there.”

—Juan Carlos Muñoz

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 Reserve de la Familia by Jose Cuervo and Maracame Extra Añejo 

“For everyday drinking, I like the blanco. I enjoy the rawest essence of the agave. The taste is a little immature and harsh but you can really taste the agave plant. One of them is the Reserva de la Familia. It’s a Jose Cuervo. This is their extra añejo. It’s aged more than three years in a wooden cask. And also the Maracame Extra Añejo. This has been rated number one in a lot of competitions and both of them are bordering on a cognac taste. I had been a single malt drinker for a long time. And they happen to also be expensive bottles. These are the ones I would run out of a burning building with.”

—Aljor Perreras

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