BIT Blog

Au Naturel at the Chicken Ranch

Now I know what you’re thinking, but today’s tequila blog has absolutely nothing to do with an infamous Texas cathouse that was sanitized for a (shudder) musical starring Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton.  Well, maybe “absolutely” is stating it too strongly, but more on that later.

Before I moved to Mexico, I lived in Austin, Texas for 37 years, working and playing music in the city’s teeming music scene.  As you might imagine, there were a lot of characters who passed through those ranks.  Way back in the ‘80s, there was a drummer who went by the self-anointed nickname of “Ned deDrumma” (I’ve changed the first name, for reasons that will soon become apparent).  When he wasn’t in the room, he was also known as “Missile Command” for his tendency to launch drum sticks at high velocity all over the stage or practice room as they slipped accidently out of his sweaty hands.  There was no time to yell “incoming”…..you just had to rely on blind luck to avoid getting pranged by one.  Aside from the launched sticks, he was a good drummer, and had the great panache to replace one of his toms with an ancient metal minnow bucket which had “Greatest Fucking Drummer” painted across it in bold green letters.  It made quite a clamor when struck. 

One day the word went out that Ned was getting married, and that a bachelor party would be held out at The Chicken Ranch.  This was the name given to a very dodgy house that several musicians we knew shared down in South Austin, sitting on a couple of acres but still in town.  As you might imagine for a crash house shared by punk rock musicians and their friends, it was fairly unadorned and “rustic.”  Actually, it was pretty foul (more on this later), but it had the great advantage of featuring some much-needed space between the house and any neighbors.

There were going to be so many musicians at this party that the word went out to bring the amps and guitars.  Ned was going to have his drum set there, too.  So when that afternoon came, I headed over there with a bottle of tequila, an amp and this red guitar:

Everyone pitched in on some 16 gal. kegs of Shiner Bock, the de rigueur choice in those days in Austin (so much so that if you tapped the veins of any 20-something-year-old in the city, they would run dark brown with a beige head).  Once I got to The Chicken Ranch, I saw that there were already several bottles of gold tequila there (I know, I know…..but we didn’t know better than to buy gold tequila back in those ancient times).  I set up my gear over by the drum set, and looked around.  We seemed locked, stocked and ready.

A moment to describe the main house at The Chicken Ranch:  if I had to quickly come up with two adjectives that captured the structure, I would have to say “old” and “shoddy.”  It was as if someone decided that the construction budget could be shaved by leaving big gaps between the boards that framed up the house.  And by just skipping the dry-wall altogether.  So raw boards with 2-3 inch gaps between them was what you saw, inside and out.  Might have been some critters living in the walls.  The fact that the house was probably “built” in the ‘50s didn’t help matters either.  That there was no air conditioning…..in Texas…..in August…..should surprise no one.  Also, there wasn’t what you would call a lot of designer lighting in the place.  In fact, the big living room was only lit by one naked lightbulb handing down from wires that protruded from a hole in the ceiling.

And the less said about the bathroom, the better (at least there was some dark acreage outside to provide a more pristine and appealing option).

Anyway, since it was punk rock musicians and fans who lived at The Chicken Ranch, that stripe of music was quickly cranked up on the patchwork stereo as the guests started to arrive.  When the bachelor finally pulled up, a great cry arose from the throng.  Now Ned was a little older than the rest of us, and so we were a bit unsure regarding what he would allow himself to be subjected to as part of this ritualistic affair.  But when the kegs were flowing and the tequila cracked open, he dove in there with everyone else in high style.  Things ran at a fever pitch for quite a while, and then the amps were turned on and the jamming started. 

Actually, that descriptor really doesn’t really cut it.What it was, in fact, was a Big Honking Sweaty Nasty Bleedingly-Loud Power Jam.  Or somesuch.

It was gloriously awful, and between the paint-peeling volume and the cacophony of a bunch of perspiring dudes jumping up and down, it’s very likely that some of the wall critters decided to high-tail it elsewhere for the night.

In short, it was Good.

It was at this point that another car arrived, and I saw that a couple of the fellows had arranged something a little different for the night’s itinerary.  The jamming was stopped and we were all lead outside by the grinning twosome in question.  A flicker of understanding passed through the rest of the guys in the yard.  An attractive tall and leggy woman stepped out of the dented Olds 88, followed by the car’s driver. 

--a brief digression on The Napoleon Complex:  I realize that generalizing about any group of people based solely on a physical characteristic is really not a good idea because, among other reasons, the generalization very often just ain’t true when you get to know the person in question.  However, if truth be told, we must confess that in our busy lives we’ve all met short guys who seem to have a chip on their shoulder.  It seems too obvious and part of some discredited Freudian theorem, but given the macho shitheadedness that is so pervasive amongst cadres of The American Male, it’s no surprise that a short guy likely has to deal with a lifetime of crap about his stature.  And that can, it seems, sometimes have a psychological effect.

And so the…..what do we call him?......”escort” of the exotic dancer who got out of the massive Olds 88 (hmmmmm…….) was a short dude.  Pretty darned short, it has to be said.  And the comic, exaggerated swagger he used to approach us did not help dispel the impression that was forming in the minds of a group of guys who really didn’t care, generally speaking, how frigging tall another guy was.

With the much-taller girl behind him, wearing cut-offs and a t-shirt and big hoop earrings and carrying a black leather bag, the gentlemen started bellowing loud and aggressively to our little group, demanding to talk to the guys who had set up this liaison.  So the two fellows (both, unfortunately, over 6 ft. tall) stepped forward and proceeded to get yelled at in a very obnoxious manner by the shorter man.  Picture the drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket and you wouldn’t be far off.  Quite a dick, really.

Oh, did I mention that he was an off-duty cop?

Res ipsa loquitur. 

And so, with the various threats, curses, etc. by which The Groundrules were established out of the way, the party cranked back up…...the punk rock was blasted again and everyone started doing what fellows do when supplied with close to 50 gallons of beer and a tableful of tequila bottles.  The exotic dancer seemed to be comfortably in the spirit of things (which means she was a lot braver than I would have been in her shoes, driving up to a dubious location like The Chicken Ranch), and happily was able to suss out that we were not a group of guys that she needed to worry about in any way.  It was a friendly (if loud, and drink-y) vibe, and everyone was having a good time.

Except for the off-duty cop.  We soon found that his belligerent and comically-aggressive entrance was not an anomaly.  It was rather, from what we could tell, his baseline personality. But we all wanted Ned the bachelor to have a great night, and so there was an unspoken agreement amongst our crew that the short cop should be catered to, libationally and in terms of flattery and excessive deference, to that end.  And so we did, which he ate up with a Big Spoon.  “Oh, tell us more of your big, brave cop stories that feature you as the hero and everyone else as schmucks”, etc. etc.

After about half an hour, the exotic dancer signaled that it was time to do her pre-arranged show.  And so the music that she’d brought was put on the stereo, the bachelor told (by her) to sit on a rickety wooden chair in the middle of the living room (the amps being pushed aside to accommodate), and the bachelor party guests formed into a big circle around the room.

When she came back out of the kitchen, she was dressed in a spangley red sequined bikini-like get up, with a cowboy hat and a feather boa. 

“Strip to your underwear,” she commanded to Ned, “and sit back down on your hands.”

A respectful silence blanketed the crowd, heads bowed in admiration and a sense of Great Moment.  You could have heard a pin drop as…….

Nah……Actually, we all hooted like gibbons and heaped mountains of gleeful verbal abuse on the bachelor in the time-honored, traditional fashion.  Lots of clapping, bellowing and stomping of feet…….the room lit only by the one dangling lightbulb, hanging—as it happened—right above the seated bachelor…..the buffeting from the ceiling fan causing the light to sway across the room and illuminate, it must be said, a pretty striking and dramatic scene.

As the bump-and-grind music started to, well, bump and grind, the dancer called for a cup of beer for the bachelor.  This was, as you can imagine, quickly proffered.  Because she had commanded him to sit on his hands during the entirety of the performance, she pushed his chin up and poured the full beer down his throat.  He did well in this task, but would have likely done better had he expected it….and so a not-insubstantial amount spilled down his face and onward to parts south.  

So Ned was now sitting in his underwear, on his hands, hot, sticky and somewhat chagrined in front of about 30 hollering friends (and one short, scowling cop).  His lot would not improve for a while yet. 

Now some of the usual provocative gyrations around the bachelor commenced, following which the dancer called loudly for two tequila shots.  These arrived to the front in an admirably short time.  Knocking back the first one herself, she then poured the second one down Ned’s throat.  This time he was better prepared and there was only minimal spillage.  More enticing gyrations around the bachelor followed, all with repeated admonitions for him to keep sitting on his hands (which he honorably did at all times).  

Then she went into the kitchen and pulled out another stash of equipment, this time from the refrigerator.  As she walked back into the living room, from behind the bachelor, there was a surge of anticipation from the crowd as we saw that Something New was going to be employed.  Not yet seeing her, but seeing our reactions, Ned started to sweat more heavily and take on a concerned aspect.

And well he might!

Yelling for the music to be turned up, the dancer stood behind the bachelor and pulled out a spray can of whip cream.  A great huzzah arose from the assembled crowd (sans the cop).  Reaching over Ned’s head, she started covering pretty much all of him with whip cream, moving sinuously all the while.  Was it in his ears?  Yep.  In his eyes?  Certainly.  Squirted in a beer that she then poured down his throat?  Without question.  Squirted under the waistband of his boxer shorts?  It must be said….yes.

This was, needless to say, tremendous fun for the rest of us.  But when she pulled out the squirt bottle of Hershey’s chocolate syrup, we—as they say—fell out.  As she approached with the bottle, Ned’s face ran through a range of emotions in quick order……alarm……The Urge to Flee….and, finally, grim acceptance.  In a manner much like the whip cream, the syrup was applied all over the bachelor.  Was it between his toes?  Indubitably.  Was it in his hair?  All signs point to “yes.” 

“And now, the cherry on top!” she announced saucily with a gleam in her eye.  And so the jar of maraschino cherries was extracted from her bag of tricks and used to finalize the dessertification of Ned the bachelor.  It was quite a sight, but he growled at those who tried to sneak a picture and so I can only describe it to you here.,,,,,You will have to fill in the rest via your lurid imagination. 

What followed was more of the traditional snake dance until suddenly she grabbed Ned, pulled him to his feet, and dragged him outside by his wrist.  Our friends who had arranged all this, no doubt being in on the gag, had a garden hose at ready.  And so Ned was positioned in the dirt driveway, under a mighty oak, and the hose was turned on.  The dancer then ran around him and let him have it, full force.  Truth be told, he needed it and probably would have done it to himself at that point (although he certainly would have enjoyed it less). 

At the conclusion, Ned stood before his friends in all his sodden majesty, soaked to the gills and gird only in his soggy plaid boxer shorts.  There was a slight undercurrent of uncertainty from those gathered around, wondering how he would process all that had happened to him.  Was he still a Good Sport?  Would the party continue?

Well, we needn’t have worried about that.  What happened next was something we didn’t expect, but which would truly help cement this nightas legend amongst a group of guys who had their fair share of noteworthy bachelor parties. 

Ned threw off his shorts, ran buck-ass-naked into the living room, sat down at his drums, and started to play like there was no tomorrow--the swaying bulb still giving a strange German horror movie lighting effect to the whole thing.  Once I had wrapped my mind around what had just happened, I ran in (clothed), cranked up my amp and joined in on guitar.  Bass and other guitars followed suit, and soon the paint was peeling again as the Big Honking Sweaty Nasty Bleedingly-Loud Power Jambecame that much more so.  A mosh pit formed, and the dancer dove into it.  The little cop seemed about to go apoplectic until a couple of our friends took one for the team and said “hey, can you come outside with us where it’s quieter so you can tell us more of those stories about all the wild stuff you’ve done and seen On The Job?”.  Their sacrifice was mighty, and will never be forgotten. 

Decorum prevents this narrative from continuing on to the tail end of the night, but suffice to say that Ned’s bachelor party at The Chicken Range would be very, very hard to top.

Until my bachelor party six or seven years later.  But that is another story for another time.

An Iguana's Guide to the Hangover and How to Avoid It

Hangovers are caused primarily from excessive drinking. The reason you felt intoxicated last night (or right now, if that’s the case) is because you were poisoned by over-indulgence in something toxic (we’re not talking about roofies here.) Even if you didn’t fight a bouncer or lose your job, you may wish for death to end the accumulation of symptoms: headache, vomiting, dizziness, cotton mouth and so on. 

Only water can soften the blow, because a large part of a hangover is dehydration. Ever wonder why you pee so much after you break the seal? Alcohol is a diuretic which means bye-bye water. It’s used in metabolizing all that booze you wish you hadn’t consumed (or are thoroughly enjoying, not thinking of tomorrow morning.) 

When your uncle tells you he has a cure for your hangover, slap him. You may be a whiny drunk, but you’re not stupid. There is no cure. But since we are experts, we can give you a few before, during, and after tips to ease the pain.

Before

1.    Eat something. If you drink on an empty stomach you’ll pass out early and probably won’t get laid. Yes, that’s a threat.

2.    Take a vitamin B supplement, which many are deficient in anyway. Alcohol zaps the vitamin from you, which is an element of the grisly hangover.

During

1.    Drink lots of water. Don’t say that …it’s not a buzzkill. It helps add the water your body needs to process the booze. If you forget, chug a few glasses right before you sleep.

2.    Eat something. If not during the drinking itself, eat a bite right before you      sleep.

3.    Avoid drinks with pre-made mixers, high fructose corn syrup or white sugar.

4.    (This is a matter of preference, but just to present the facts …) clear alcohols have less congeners (something that makes you feel like shit the next day) than colored alcohol. White wine vs. Red. Tequila vs. Whiskey. Blanco Tequila actually has the least congeners of any alcohol.

After

1.    Drink lots of water (now we sound like a broken record.)

2.    Take a non-aspirin pain reliever. Aspirin does a number on your stomach which is probably already reeling (or will be.)

3.    Take a hot shower or (if you’re one of those lucky jerks who we’re severely jealous of) hit the steam bath / sauna. By increasing circulation you can sweat out the suffering.

4.    Avoid acidic fluids like orange or tomato juice. Avoid sodas.

Blue Iguana’s myth-busting corner - apart from the myth about the sobering effects of coffee, we’ve got a few more myths to debunk.

MYTH: If you’re hungover, have a drink. You know, hair of the dog that bit you. Lie! While it may dull the pain temporarily, it will extend the overall suffering time. It’s better to put in your time, feel well and then try your luck again.

MYTH: If you’re drunk, throw up tonight to feel better tomorrow. Lie! While it may reduce the impact of the hangover, the hangover will still come and it will still suck. Apart from that, it damages your throat and esophagus as well as gives your body a crazy pH shift (and your body doesn’t like that.) Long term damage isn’t worth it. Just pay for what you ordered.

Why Tequila is Better Than Irish Whiskey

In my last blog, I reminisced about Antone’s, which was the club where I saw so many blues legends in Austin back in the ‘80s.  In a way, this was our neighborhood bar at the time, and as such it was the scene of some notable nights out.  One that comes to mind involves the late great, ebullient Texas bluesman Albert Collins.  Albert was a one-off, for sure, who did his own thing and did it well.  We were lucky enough to see him on many occasions back in the day, but this one particular night stands out in my memory.

There were five of us that particular night, and in retrospect it should have been obvious to Bruce and I that the other three guys (Gary, Joe and Derrick) were in a bit of a fiendish state of mind.  But such a realization would likely not have deterred the two of us, in that we were young and not given to wise acts of discretion at the time. 

At the duly appointed hour, the crew piled into Gary’s dented orange Volare and drove the short distance to Antone’s.  We got to the show a bit early, per usual, and immediately bellied up to the long, battered wooden bar that ran along the left side of the club.  Bruce and I ordered Shine Bock longnecks, alternating with tequila Screwdrivers.  The other guys, however, were in the nascent days of an infatuation with Jameson Irish Whiskey and were downing shots of it at an alarming rate.  I have to say that the look in their eyes gave me a sense of foreboding.  I had seen this Look before, and wondered if we’d make it to the end of the show without there being An Incident. 

Bruce and I moved down the bar a bit.  Just to create a bit of separation, you understand, for when the club’s giant bouncer finally decided to go beyond the death stares and get off his stool by the door and come over to put the quietus on the increasingly-rowdy horseplay.

When the opening band started up, our three friends didn’t seem to pay them much mind and instead continued down their Emerald Isle rabbit hole.  It wasn’t line-dancing (thank god!), but it was getting more rambunctious down at their end of the bar.  I glanced over at the humongous bouncer and, if looks could kill, these would be three dead white boys.  I couldn’t blame him……the whiskey drinkers were now flicking each other in the ears and laughing hysterically at the resulting pain and indignation.  Juvenile shoulder punches, while the other guy wasn’t looking, were interspersed.  Eyes became increasingly unfocused.  At times, the volume rivaled the band’s. 

I sensed an iceberg approaching, but felt like my power only extended to keeping myself out of the sea.  These were not men to be reasoned with.

When the opening band finished up, Bruce and I sauntered up to the front of the stage to get a good vantage point for Albert’s show.  Based on past experience, we knew that it was going to be a good one.  Albert’s band, The Icebreakers, were great, real-deal players who had been together forever and were super-tight.  And Albert himself was a consummate showman.  He played a Fender Telecaster (using a mysterious tuning idiosyncratic to Albert alone), which is a type of electric guitar known for its high-pitched, stinging sound.  Over the course of a night, Albert would unleash endless stabbing, bent blues licks that pierced right through the mix and got the crowd more and more worked up.  Sweat would pour off him and he clinched his eyes closed with every fusillade unleashed.  He gave his all at these shows, and tonight would be no different.

As was common with the blues legends, the band came out first and warmed the crowd up with an up-tempo instrumental tune.  It cooked, popped and sizzled, and Bruce and I quickly forgot about our Jameson-swilling compatriots behind us in the club.  As the band launched into the second number, Albert was introduced and he came out firing on all six, launching javelins of sound out into the crowd from his Tele.  The energy level in the room leapt up several notches, and everyone started moving and grooving.  Fast numbers with the occasional slow blues.  Wonderful pacing, and the energy in the room kept building.

And we had a ball. 

After about 45 minutes, I thought to look back from our position at the front of the stage.  Through the crowd, I could see Gary, Joe and Derrick sitting at a big round table in the middle of the room.  I couldn’t be sure, but they appeared to be spitting on each other.  Of the many dead soldiers on the table, several were knocked over.  They seemed unsteady but determined to ride the jag straight down into the depths of the peat bog. 

I wondered if the bouncer remembered that Bruce and I came in with those guys.

One of Albert’s famous show-stoppers that was used for the last song of the night was to hook his guitar up to a 100 ft. long chord and start walking.  At Antone’s, that took the form of exiting stage left, going off the stage and out the emergency exit of the club, continuing on through the parking lot and out into the middle of Guadalupe Street, stopping traffic and playing crazy leads all the while.  Just when he started his stroll this night, I looked back and saw that the bouncer had finally had Enough and was heading to our friends’ table.  This seemed like an excellent time to follow Albert outside, and so Bruce and I—longnecks in hand--sidled right over to that side of the stage and then trailed Albert right out the door and out into the street (no doubt breaking multiple Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission regulations in the process).  When the rest of the crowd saw what we were doing (and not knowing out special motivation), they followed us out and soon there was close to 100 people standing in the middle of the main drag, screaming and hollering for Albert to take it higher.  And he did!  Beers were thrust up in the air, frantic dancing erupted, people got out of their cars on both sides of the road to join the party, and all the while The Icebreakers kept it cooking back in the club, with the sound pouring out the side door. 

Just as things were reaching their peak out in the street, I heard a commotion and looked over to see our three wayward whiskey drinkers being thrown out of the front door by the mountainous, scowling bouncer.  Seeing that as our cue, Bruce and I left the crowd and walked over to herd our friends around back to the car, sensing that whatever responsibility we might have abdicated earlier in the night could now no longer be avoided.

As you might expect for aspirants trying to qualify for the James Irish Whiskey Shot Team, the trio were not in a frame of mind to consider that their behavior might’ve had something to do with their ejection from the club.  Great was their indignation, and mighty were their protestations.  But finally we got them into the car and headed back over to Joe’s house.

The less said about the remainder of the night, the better, but I will divulge that the sad inventory of the next morning included a broken window and a broken pinky.  But I think it telling that the beer/tequila contingent behaved with great personal aplomb, while the Irish Whiskey drinkers made beasts of themselves. 

Would a change of beverage have made a significant difference?  Well, if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his ass when he hopped.

Ghost Stories

Día de los muertos and Noches de Brujas are right around the corner. What better way to celebrate than with some tequila and haunted houses. Jalisco is not only home to makers of tequila but also a few legendary haunted locations. Below we have taken the liberty of compiling a short list of these spooky places to visit this fall:

1. The Vampire Tree- During the early 19th century it was said that a mad man went wild for the thirst of blood. This man was soon to be know as a vampire and ran rampant in Guadalajara feasting off the 'sangre' of livestock and newborn babies. The townspeople were on watch during the hours of the night and finally found the vampire heading home after killing his prey one evening. Grabbing their pitchforks and torches they marched to the home of the vampire (literally like a scene from Dracula). When the townsfolk finally caught and staked the vampire they took his body to a cemetery named El Panteon de Belen. He was buried with no ceremony in an unmarked coffin. They say the ground became nourished by the Vampiric blood and a tree bursted through the coffin. If you cut a limb from the tree it will ooze with blood mixed sapping. The cemetery has been said to be haunted by a few different entities but the tree has drawn the most attention. The cemetery has been turned into a museum but several sightings and hauntings of the deceased vampire are still reported. You can only visit the museum during the day but if you can sneak in at night be sure to check out the Vampire tree.  

2.  Casa del Trébol Negro built in 1908 was a family home for several years until the Husband went mad. Legend has it that the mother and daughter were grotesquely murdered in the house by the father and the spirits today still wander the house screaming and shouting leaving blood marks in memory of their angry deaths. The mansion now is often used for real haunted house adventures or festivals in the area. If you conduct a quick google search you will find several videos of individuals and their paranormal experiences in the house. The mansion now known better as Casa Clovers, is often used for real haunted house adventures or festivals in the area. Actually, if you do a quick google search tons of paranormal home videos will pop up. We personally believe this might be your best bet for some spooks, so don't have too much tequila if you decide to go.

3. In 1805 Hospicio Cabañas was constructed. For the first few years it served asan asylum, military barracks and aprison. Eventually it was settled for the use of an orphanage. Supposedly every time a child died, the monumental clock in the building would stop. As if the clock itself was marking the end of another existence. The building has since been preserved as a classic piece of Mexican history which is open to the public. Visitors report hearing laughs, screams, cries and footsteps of children from time to time when roaming the halls. Doesn't sound too scary but an asylum turned orphanage has got to have some ghosts still hanging around.

4. Hospital Fray Antonio Alcalde y Barriga still currently functions as a hospital even though it was built in the 1700s.  Patients report several paranormal entities appearing in the hospital. But critics reason that they just may be flat out crazy from being sick. The most active sighting is a female nurse named Manuela Lozano, who wanders the Internal Medicine wing. We couldn't find much on her death but some patients swear to her sightings. You may not be able to bring in a bottle of tequila but if you are need of getting your stomach pumped after drinking too much tequila, this might be a great choice hospital to go to.

5. Last on our list isLa Casa de los Perros.This colonial mansion housed the first independent newspaper in America. The Mansion now serves a historical museum of journalism and is open to the public as well. Overnight staff and visitors have reported sightings of a woman and sometimes a man. Those more familiar to the home identify the lady asto the original owner's wife, who took on a lover and later conspired to kill her husband. They do not tell how she attempted to kill her husband or if maybe in his rage he killed her. But any love story that ends in affairs and deaths is sure to produce some ghostly activity.  

So grab your pals, some Ghostbusters gear and a bottle of tequila. We dare you to take your chances and visit these locations in the tequila state of Jalisco. Don't forget to report back to us, if you make it out alive.

5 Reasons to Drink Tequila in the Fall

We believe tequila is a drink for all seasons and we have several reasons for this. What are they? Well, if we told you all of them then we’d have no tricks up our sleeve. And what is the number one rule of a professional tequila drinker? Always keep a card hidden. However, we will share a couple of our bright ideas with you. But first thing is first. Pour yourself a smooth tequila like a Blue Iguana Reposado before proceeding.

1. Tequila warms you up. It’s a gentle burn rolling down your throat and keeps your body feeling warmer as a result. Why wear a coat when you could just drink more tequila? (Yes, this is my usual course of reasoning which leaves me inappropriately underdressed nearly all the time.)

2. If it doesn’t warm you up, it definitely makes you numb. Okay, don’t look at me like that. It’s a GOOD thing. You’re not cold if your appendages are numb, right? It may make dancing slightly more embarrassing, though we feel it’s just another reason to drink more tequila.

3. If you’re numb, you're inherently ballsier. Yep. You know that guy / girl you’ve been thinking about making a move on or maybe just talking to? That numb sensation is actually liquid courage coursing through your veins. As a matter of fact, you’re now officially invincible. Go for it. Hone right on in with all the pick-up lines you’ve got.

4. You feel no cold. You feel no fear. And luckily for you, you feel no rejection. Even if they laugh in your face, there is a decent chance you won’t care (at least while you’re drunk, anyway.) Meanwhile, you’ll be rocking that liquid shield to try with the next cute guy / girl at the bar.

5. Beyond all of the successes or failures of the night, one thing still holds true: your toasty, incorrigible ass is bulletproof, invisible and indestructible …at least in your mind. Plus it tastes good. 

 

Whiskey or Tequila?

Those Millennials have done it again. Obsessed with their pop culture and electronics, Millennials are proving to be a trend altering generation. Millennials, also known as Generation Y or the next generation, are a generation pumped up on the internet, designer parties and being the next big thing. They desire to live like the stars do, or at least take a photo that makes it seem that way. And living like a star means only the best of the best for what you’re drinking at the bar that night. And it seems that young adults in Mexico are choosing whiskey for that aspiration.

For a very long time, tequila and mezcal dominated the liquor field in Mexico. Home to the agave plant, Mexico has been deemed the official home for all things tequila. Mexicans have been enjoying the liquored treats of the agave plant for a very long time. But a recent study has shown whiskey growing in exponential popularity in Mexico. American owned company, Brown Foreman, just recently boasted that Mexico has risen to be Jack Daniel’s top market for sales. Euromonitor International reported that by 2015 consumption of whiskey in Mexico had grown 86% from the year 2010 while tequila and mescal only increased by a measly 15.1 percent in the same time. Tequila sales still trump whiskey sales over all but that may not be for much longer if the trend continues.

Either more millennials are going out than their older counterparts or all the tequila sales are being hidden in Mexico. Mark Strobel, a research analyst at Euromonitor International concludes that the growing popularity of whiskey amongst younger adults in Mexico comes from the idea that “the consumption of this drink is an aspirational position of status and sophistication, it is generally more expensive than tequila but there is also more variety of economic whiskey “. The analyst at Euromonitor has already projected whiskey sales increase by 8.5 percent, while tequila and mezcal push a smaller 3 percent.

We did a little of our own research and asked people in the town of San Miguel, GTO Mexico , a town with a statistically older population vs. Guanajuato, GTO, Mexico, a town flooded with college students and a generally younger aged population. More residents of SMA preferred Tequila while Guanajuato had a wider range of presences leaving no certain choice strikingly dominant to another. But it seemed that adults closer to the millennial generation were not as keen on drinking tequila.

Apparently whiskey has that something special that younger drinkers desire for their image - too bad the hangovers are twice as bad compared to tequila. But hey, they are Millennial, they’ll learn the hard way just like we did. Tequila may be losing the title of Mexico’s most consumed liquor, but we don't mind. Just more agave for us.

 

Sources: http://www.economiahoy.mx/turismo-eAm-mx/noticias/7849026/09/16/San-Miguel-de-Allende-en-Mexico-y-Cuzco-en-Peru-entre-las-15-mejores-ciudades-del-mundo.html

 http://www.informador.com.mx/economia/2016/683980/6/whisky-toma-mercado-del-tequila-en-mexico.htm

An Iguana's History of the Caballito

Here in Mexico, caballito is a very common word. This “little horse” refers the traditional tall, thin shot glass holding between 1 and 2 ounces of tequila. For sipping, of course. We all know tequila is not to shoot …unless you’ve clearly had way too many and the floor is starting to blur. Or you’re toting a gun.

Little horses got their name because men often found it funny to have their horses piss in each other’s tequilas when they weren’t looking. Just kidding. We only do that in the office. Really the name descends from cuernito, which means “little horn.” They removed the interior of bull or cow horns and cleaned them to make a manly looking chalice of sorts. They didn’t, however, have the option to set it down until the libation had been finished (a sneaky way to get people drunk really fast.) Considering the limited number of horns, there was a slam and pass philosophy. 

Man chalice, otherwise known as cuernito

The classic caballito holding the classic Bandera de Mexico Later, the tip was removed so a drinker could take their time, and it was this design that became the modern caballito. They do still make the traditional horn cups and I want to say, as an official statement, that if you drink Blue Iguana Tequila out of one I will consider you a bonafide badass. Just to be clear.

Recently, the CRT decided on a more uppity tequila glass, which resembles a wine glass with the classic tall stem and tapered bowl. Riedel makes the CRT approved version because it “highlights and enhances the characteristics” of a good tequila. Some tequila experts prefer añejos in a snifter because the shape traps the scents more efficiently. While fancy glasses are nice and all, they break a lot easier. Especially if you’re loaded. And down here in Mexico, little has changed. Most still proudly rock the caballito. This iguana is one of them.

For a great source of tequila know-how, visit Ian Chadwick's informative site. 

A Sublime Shot (of Tequila) From the Deep Rough Or The Bear’s Revenge

Back in the mid-90s, when people were still deigning to marry my friends, I was invited to Tim’s bachelor party out at the lake.  I was happy to get the news for several reasons, first among them being that I knew this particular bachelor party was having a hard time finding a place to roost.  Hard to imagine why someone wouldn’t want to subject their property to a loud, flailing late night bacchanal from this group of guys, but nevertheless the situation was dicey for a while.

It turns out that the soiree would take place at the cabin belonging to Ted’s brother.  We were told it was up on the hill, nestled in the trees, overlooking Lake Travis.   None of us had ever met the guy, and Ted said the place would be vacant because his brother was going on one of his many far-flung international hunting trips (which, now that I think of it, raises the interesting question of whether permission was ever actually sought in advance for the party….).   According to Ted, his brother was a “big hunter” (more on this later).   We were told everyone could crash on the floor that night so that no one had to attempt an ill-advised drive home.

This all sounded great, given that we essentially just needed a place to behave poorly without undue neighborly and/or judicial hindrance.  Just about anywhere would be ok, as long as we were left to our own questionable devices.

And so a 16-gallon keg was duly reserved, commitments were made to bring “certain films” on VHS tapes, and I was in charge of bringing the jambox and tunes.  As the date got closer, I asked Ted about this whole “hunting” thing and was told that his brother shot large animals all over the world and that the cabin contained a disturbing amount of Ted Nugent-like accouterments…..taxidermy, guns everywhere, bear hunting razor arrows with giant compound bows, a “size-able” knife collection, etc.  I remember having a fleeting moment of pause about the combination of these items with the dogged level of intoxication and merriment that I knew was going to take place, but the moment soon passed as I was struck with an idea for a performance art piece that we could have the bachelor enact, using some of the aforementioned props that would be lying about.  I had this old CRT computer monitor that was giving up the ghost, and I thought it would be a fine thing if I wrote the word “SINGLE” on a thin piece of paper in big bold letters, taped it to the monitor while it was glowing that sickly green, and then had the bachelor shoot a bear arrow into it with the giant compound bow.  I envisioned special effects-quality sparks flying everywhere in the night as we all cheered, drank, hollered, etc.  It would be a Cathartic Moment.  And if it blunted the arrow tip in the process, damaging the vile killing machine, then (karmically) all the better!

So, when the day arrived, we all took off work early and hauled the supplies out to the lake.  Loud rock and roll was quickly instigated, the keg tapped, and films shoved into the VCR.  A dilapidated strobe light (which I had bought as a kid at Radio Shack in the early ‘70s, and which was now held together with masking tape) was stuck in an upstairs window for no good reason.  It was a multi-media extravaganza!  I plugged in the CRT and it provided a bilious green glow out on the deck overlooking the trees and the water. 

And we had a ball.  I’m not saying the scene would bear up, in any way, to much outside scrutiny.  But the fifteen of us dove into the pool of bachelor party behavior with belly flops of gusto, and Tim the bachelor was made the continuing center of attention and could be seen smiling quite a bit.

When the time seemed right, I gathered the fellows together and made a big production out of taping the “SINGLE” sign onto the glowing CRT screen.  The giant (and frankly quite dangerous looking) compound bow was fetched from a corner of the living room, as was a razor arrow.  None of us had ever used one of these things before but we had seen lots of bow-and-arrows in movies and so thought, with classic hubris:  “How hard can it be?”  With two rows of beer-armed guests on either side of the projected flight path, we started lustily ribbing the bachelor and chanting “Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!” 

As he struggled unsteadily to notch the arrow and pull the brutal bowstring back, Tim’s face was covered in sweat.  Was his perspiration testimony to the difficulty of the bow pull, I wondered? Or was it in contemplation of his brave step out of bachelorhood?  In any case, with a mighty exhalation he let the long, gleaming arrow fly.  The crowd cheered as one.  The scalpel-sharp arrow tip glinted savagely in the moonlight.  The shaft rocketed right to the screen of the computer monitor with its thematically-significant sign……….

…….and bounced harmlessly off, falling un-impressively onto the deck like a small stick.

This was followed by an odd, massed deflating sound as all the men in attendance sighed at the anti-climax of my performance art concept.  The arrow was picked up and put away, along with the bow, accompanied by an unspoken air that maybe we had dodged a bit of a bullet (to mix metaphors) in terms of ricochets, drunken drives to the hospital, awkward questions about whose idea this was anyway, etc.

And so the guests put their heads down and partied with greater diligence.  The music got louder and rowdier, the strobe flashed uselessly on, and the films ran in a loop.After a certain number of hours had passed, two biological imperatives manifested themselves at roughly the same time.  People became Hungry….and…..people wanted to shoot some tequila.

Neither food nor tequila had been brought, which constituted an unforgiveable lack of planning.  But from the depths of despair, Ted shouted out that he’d found some things rummaging around the cabin kitchen.  In retrospect, this is where events took a turn toward Great Consequence.  Dark and Light……the Sacred and the Profane.  Drastically divergent gastric experiences.

To address The Hunger, Ted found several pounds of grizzly bear sausage in the freezer.  None of us had ever heard of such a thing before, much less tried it, and actually we all had some real qualms about having anything to do with such an ethically dubious product.  But given the state of libationary group mind and, of course, The Hunger, these misgivings were set aside and the sausage run through the microwave to defrost.

As these things are sometimes wont to go, people became impatient with the defrosting time and insisted that the sausages be put in the skillet on the stove while still largely frozen.  The kitchen was bare of all other food products, including cooking oil, and there was much spattering of ice crystals accompanied by the smell of burning meat.  Beer was put in the skillet as a (poor) substitute for oil.  One thing that became quickly apparent was that grizzly bear sausage is greasy.  Quite greasy.  Actually really damnably greasy.  But reason had long since fled, and soon links of half-cooked, icy yet burned sausage were being passed around on plates to the line of bleary, ravenous guys.

We dug in.

For reasons that will very soon become apparent, at this point in the narrative it is necessary to obscure the facts a bit.  Suffice to say that one member of the group, who will remain unnamed, was the first to feel the pangs deep in his nether-guts.  Beyond pangs, really.  Truth be told (and, after all, our very lives depend on truth, as Bill Hicks used to say), it was a full-on case of The Grabs.

And so this (unnamed) individual ran at half-crouch to what turned out to be the only bathroom in the entire cabin.  Mighty were his efforts, and great his distress, all of which was certainly not aided by the increasingly ill-tempered and desperate cries and bangings on the other side of the bathroom door.  But it was safely locked and, as the bards say, this too shall pass.  Eventually he emerged.

He was not well received.

Some of the stricken had been able to wait it out, albeit with superhuman powers of zen concentration.  One had run upstairs in a panic, looking for a second bathroom, and run into a waist-high Russian Boar mounted and sitting upright in the middle of the floor, which nearly scared the bear out of him when he turned on the lights. 

Some had not found the needed level of focus and had been forced to run out into the trees (which brings to mind an ironic adage about what a bear is usually doing out there…..).  Any sense of nature’s justice having been served was entirely lost on the assemblage when they discovered that the one cabin commode had been incapacitated by the ministrations of the first victim.   

In all fairness, it has to be said that the mood turned quite ugly at that point, with much unwarranted and heated abuse poured upon Patient Zero. 

*********

Things were eventually sorted out, because there really wasn’t much choice in the face of such an en masse biological emergency.  Music of a less frenetic pace was put on the box as the assembled sat tentatively around the living room and tried to regroup.  The strobe light was extinguished after some complaints about the unwelcome psychedelic accompaniment it had provided to those recently in the woods.  The films, however, played on in the same loop.

It was at that point that Ted told us what else he had found in his earlier scavenging of his brother’s kitchen.

Way back in a cabinet over the fridge, with boxes placed in front of it (no doubt purposely) to obscure it from view, was a bottle of tequila.  And this was very good tequila.  In fact, everyone later agreed that it was The Best Tequila We Had Ever Had.  My later research found it was $75 a bottle, which was quite a bit in the mid-90s!

tequila-calls-you-1258780-1278x956.jpg

This being a bachelor party and these guys being…well….these guys, fifteen shot glasses were lined up across the kitchen counter and the shooting began.  For all of us, it was our first experience trying a really good tequila.  In Texas, as you may know, we had been saturated for many years with a cynical yet effective advertising campaign that led us gringos to believe that Jose Cuervo Gold was the best tequila around.  And for some reason, for most of those years, it was just about the only drinkable tequila around Central Texas.  The boutique brands had made it quietly into the stores by the mid-90s, but weren’t really known to people of our incomes, and frankly I only discovered them as I set out to find out more, based on this fantastic blanco tequila we had that night to soothe our bear-ravaged pallets/GIs/psyches.

Now I know what you’re thinking, but if all you’d had around for a couple of decades was Jose Cuervo Gold, you’d shoot tequila, too, rather than sip it!  It was a defense mechanism, really.

But, like a diamond shining in a rough of bear effluvium, we had all experienced the special joy of a Really Good Tequila that night.  And our pallets would never be the same.It just goes to show that any group of reprobates can be rehabilitated, given the right impetus.

Hangover DNA

Last week after you stumbled home reeking of Tequila did you stop to think about the hangover battle you may be encountering  the next day. Odds are it may have occupied your thoughts for a moment or two but that was before you realized you were already over the edge of the greatest night ever (no judgement ).  Just like every other hangover you’ll fight against your better judgement to stay in bed all day and spend the next few hours crawling between  the bathroom and gulping down water with a headache that can only be described as pure hell.

There´s been some dispute as to whether or not tequila can give you a hangover.Some brands will even go as far as to say they have created a hang over free tequila while others cower in fear of ever drinking tequila again after their last hangover. So which is it?

 Were here to let you know any alcohol puts you at risk for a hangover; some more than others. Just like beer and your other favorite spirits Tequila is produced with ethanol. Excess levels of ethanol can contribute to your hangover symptoms like headaches from dehydration. Also similar to other liquors Tequila contains toxins that irritate your digestive system, even one shot causes your stomach to produce more acid than usual , that’s why the day after you get tanked your stomach hates you.

The presence of a little thing called congeners also contribute to those morning after troubles. Congeners are produced during the fermentation process and are more abundant in darker liquors. No wonder the recovery from a night of whiskey is harsher than an evening sipping on Ciroc. Along side those friendly congeners the price of your tequila can contribute to the pain of being hungover. Higher priced brands normally mean more precise distilling which means less unwanted substances floating around in your glass. 

And with all that now even DNA may be a contributing factor as to whether or not you will suffer from hangovers. Researchers in Australia fed alcohol to a bunch of twins and then studied their hangovers in correlation to their genetic factors (we know what you are thinking, why weren’t we invited!) . Identical twins displayed strong similarities in their regards to hangover susceptibility in addition researchers also determined that those who were less susceptible to hangovers where at higher risk for alcohol addiction. Over all the study reads that DNA played a factor in hangovers for about 45% of the women and 40% of the men. So you could be one of the lucky ones with the gene variant less likely to receive a hangover after a night of drinking.  

But to be on the safe side we suggest we all head out to the bar not banking on having superior hangover DNA. Steer clear of cheap booze and tequila that is not 100% agave , pace yourself, drink lots of water andnever be afraid to cut your self off early. For now Tequila is not off the hangover list but we’re crossing our fingers for the future.

Sources:

http://vinepair.com/articles/tequila-wasnt-responsible-for-your-hangover-your-dna-was/

http://www.livescience.com/47517-hangovers-genetic-alcohol-drinking.html

An Iguana Honors the Mexican Flag

Tequila has gotten a nasty rep on the Northern side of the Mexican border. Whether well-educated or not, this crude reputation as a hangover-inducing drink of craizes and loose ladies is a misconception. Mixtos really screwed up our public image and we’re here to set the record straight. Cut with all that added sugar and other “unidentified elements”, of course you took shots off your best friend’s stomach and then vomited on significant other’s face. That’s not real tequila. Real tequila is 100% agave, abides by rigid regulations and undergoes strict quality checks by the CRT. It had rules to follow (unlike you …you drunk!)

In honor of Mexican Independence day, September 16th, the iguana’s in our office want to tell you about the way we drink tequila here in Mexico. We’ve already lectured you about sip don’t shoot and how to savor the flavor to get a decent sense of the tequila and impress your friends with highfalutin descriptions like floral and spicy.

The common American shooter is served with salt and lime. While that style has lots of origin stories, today we’ll be telling you one in particular that has special significance for us folks south of the border. Pancho Villa was a folk hero, both revolutionary guerilla and bandit. He was the Mexican version of Robin Hood, except he ranked significantly higher on the bad-ass meter. Supposedly he liked his tequila with a lime wedge and coarse salt, now known to the savvy drinker as Pancho-Villa-style. However, truth be told the added ingredients covered up the foul odor of less efficient distillation methods.

In present day Mexico, most tequila drinkers imbibe a three-part drink called the Bandera de Mexico. It consists of three caballitos (tall skinny shot glasses): one with blanco tequila, one with fresh squeezed lime juice and one with a scrumptious, fiery bloody-Mary-type-mix called Sangrita. The three shot glasses make the three distinct colors of the Mexican flag: Red, white and green.

In support of the do-or-die culture that brought us the empowering libation otherwise known as tequila, let’s celebrate freedom, Pancho Villa Style. Belly up to the bar (or the dining room table in your house) and throw back a few Mexican flags.

Bandera Mexicana (The Mexican Flag)

1 shot glass of Blue Iguana Tequila

1 shot glass of sangrita 

1 shot glass with fresh lime juice

Sangrita recipe

1oz of fresh tomato juice, 1/2oz of fresh squeezed orange juice, 1oz of Mexican lime, 2-3 drops of Tabasco. Combine ingredients. Chill. For an easy and delicious substitute, use Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix

Sip the tequila. Sip the sangrita. Cleanse the palette with the lime.