Food and Drink


Mexican tradition, Melbourne style

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When most people think tequila, they think throat-scalding shots, drunken dares and lost mobile phones. They don’t think of a subtle, nuanced spirit to be sipped and savoured like fine scotch. However, that’s precisely the way true 100% agave tequila should be approached, according the Melbourne lads behind boutique tequila brand Tequila Tromba.

“It started with me, Eric (Brass) and Jimmy,” says Nick Reid, who runs Tromba in Melbourne with James Sherry. We lived together in Mexico five or six years ago…when we tried the real deal—100% agave Tequila—it was pretty much the best stuff ever.”

“It’s a cultural experience, as wanky as that sounds,” says James. “It’s like when you go to France and you try the wine…or Germany with beer. Everyone in Australia knows that French wine and German beer is awesome, but everyone looks at tequila and thinks it’s the roughest rough-as-guts drink. It’s not something people think of to sip and enjoy and celebrate.”

Like the regulation of champagne, only a spirit produced according to strict guidelines from 100% blue agave in the municipalities surrounding the Jalisco region of Mexico can be legitimately termed tequila. Everything else is plain mezcal, usually made from a concoction of 51% agave and 49% sugar cane distillate. Where true tequila is sweet, subtle and smooth, its nasty step-brother tastes like paint stripper.

“Why we started is that we love tequila and we wanted to show everyone what real tequila is” says Nick. “Our job, as we saw, was to educate the Australian market as to what good tequila could be and we didn’t think the brands that were available were right to do that.”

Originally planning to import an existing Mexican brand, they found none willing that produced the quality they were after. Undaunted, they jumped in headfirst to make their own, quickly developing an appreciation for the artistry required in the process. Realising they needed help, they set about hunting down a legend of traditional tequila to fulfill their vision.

After a host of disappointing meetings with some fairly rough customers in Mexico, their dedication finally paid off with a face-to-face with the legendary master distiller responsible for Don Julio’s ultra premium drop (so good that they don’t even bother advertising the stuff—it sells itself). Impressed by Nick, James and Eric’s genuine passion for introducing traditional fine tequila to non-savvy markets he agreed to oversee Tromba’s production in Jalisco.

The rest, as they say, is history. Tromba’s maiden Blanco variety hit Australian shores early this year, quietly making its way onto the cocktail lists at such prized Melbourne venues as Murmur, Mamasita and Movida Next Door. Given its success, even more exciting things are expected when their longer-aged Reposado and Anejo varieties hit later this year and next as they reach maturity.

If you’re keen to take a bottle home Whigs Cellars in the CBD stocks it retail. It may cost a little more than the vicious stuff, but when you try it you’ll understand why.

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