Hayley Dixon dishes up some remixed classics, 100% agave-style

Hayley Dixon, Proximo Australia’s tequila specialist

The collection of agave spirits on backbars around the country has never been better. But just how are you going to move all that good stuff?

It pays to have a few unique serves up your sleeve, and this is where tequila — like the ones from Jose Cuervo and 1800 we’ve got here — can really shine.

We spoke with Hayley Dixon, tequila specialist from Proximo Australia, to get a few unique riffs on classics that any bartender with the will and the drive can pick up, play with, and incorporate into their repertoire. The point here is that tequila is anything but boring, and can open up whole new worlds of flavour for you if you put in the time.

We’ve used Jose Cuervo’s range of 100% agave tequila for the Threeway here, and this is something that Dixon says she is seeing more and more of in the trade.

“With 100% Agave tequilas, by law it can only be made from the blue agave plant,” she says. “I’ve seen a pretty big step towards most bartenders using 100% Agave tequilas, and a big shift towards using them as rail pours as well — they’re great in cocktails, great for shots and great for sipping, it’s good to see.”

The Jose Cuervo distillery, La Rojeña, was founded in 1812 and is the oldest active distillery in Latin America. “Jose Cuervo remains family owned and operated, and has been in operation for almost 250 years,” says Dixon. “The Jose Cuervo family has been producing tequila from the La Rojeña distillery, the first distillery ever opened in Latin America and they still produce out of that distillery today.”

They’ve been making tequila a long time at Jose Cuervo, so what you’re getting in the bottle is tradition, history, and craft. And this is the thing that you as a bartender get to do: you take that tradition and that history, blend it with your craft being the bar, and create a new experience all your own.

It’s what Dixon has done with the three cocktails we have for you here. She’s taken her knowledge of the craft of bartending and Jose Cuervo’s 250 year history of fine tequila, to produce some tequila drinks that are at the same time both familiar, and experimental. There’s a twist on a Ramos Gin Fizz here, as well as a clarified and tequila-fied Pina Colada, and yes, of course, Not Another Bloody Margarita.

As always, tweak the specs to forge your own take.

Not Another Bloody Margarita

  • 50ml 1800 Silver
  • 10ml salted pineapple & sage shrub
  • 20ml red wine and orange honey
  • 1 dash lactic acid
  • 25ml lemon

Shaken and double strained into coupette. Garnish with a lemon rose.

Holmes Milk Punch

  • 40ml 1800 Coconut
  • 20ml 1800 Anejo
  • 30ml fresh pineapple
  • 15ml fresh lime
  • 25ml Almond + Pineapple caramel 
  • split milk
  • Garnished with fresh cinnamon

This drink is made by combining all ingredients together, preferably in a large batch, adding 20ml dilution per drink to create a ‘punch’, bringing buttermilk to the boil and immediately adding it to the punch. The batch then needs to sit for 24 hours before being strained through a cheese cloth to remove the milk solids.

La Rojena Fizz

  • 45ml Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado
  • 20ml distilled chamomile
  • 20ml lemon
  • 15ml fresh blood orange
  • 25ml cumquat + blood orange oleo Saccharum
  • 1 dash lavender bitters
  • 20ml double cream
  • egg white
  • top with soda

Shake all ingredients minus the soda water over 1 large block of ice. Double strain into highball and sit in freezer for 4 minutes. Top with soda.