Almost everyone I know has a tequila story which invariably involves one or all of the following: bouncing off walls, falling off furniture, early-onset dementia (a.k.a. can’t remember getting home) or a clanger of a hangover. In my twenties I had one particular run-in with tequila that ensured I would not go back for more for over a decade, and even now only in Mexican restaurants, with food, in moderate consumption whilst discussing the attributes of a reposado versus an anejo. My, how times change.
Cue last summer, when Monsieur and I found ourselves perusing a drinks menu at a bar in Cap Ferret. It had been a long, hot day of filing my nails (not really) at the beach and an ice cold lager was now overdue and requisite imbibement.
Scanning the list of beers, I spotted one I didn’t recognise.
“What’s a Desperado?” I asked my Walking French Dictionary, a.k.a. Monsieur,
“You.” he quipped. Ha-blooming-ha, Frogman.
“No seriously, what is it?”
“It’s a DesperaDOS,” he corrected, heavy on the last syllable, “it’s beer with tequila in it.”
As ever, when confronted by something different on a menu, as yet untried and preferably not involving animal innards, I was intrigued. I became DESPERATE to try the DESPERADOS so ordered one, tapping my feet beneath the table in impatient anticipation.
At long last my Desperados arrived, cool with condensation and deep red saloon-style branding running up its side. For some reason its overall presentation made me think of “Lucky Luke”, the cowboy who shoots faster than his shadow.
A wedge of lime sat in the bottle of the matching Desperados glass, obviously provided just in case a passer by was in any doubt as to what I was drinking. I reverently poured my recent liquid acquisition down the side of the glass, admired the perfect head and sipped. Ah, yes, just as I’d hoped, this would be a beer to remember.
The consistency was similar to a Corona, but the flavour was sweeter. Not as sweet as a lager shandy, perhaps, but sweeter in a citrussy sort of way, and, as lime doesn’t have this strong an influence on the taste of a Corona, this particular tang couldn’t be attributed to the presence of lime alone. The tequila was definitely in there, doing its work, but in a subtle, barely-there fashion, instead of a smack-your-head-in-with-force manner of a good-idea-at-the-time shot of the stuff at the wrong end of an evening. All I can say is this: it’s a very good thing that it isn’t widely available in England, or I’d be carrying this brew around in a brown paper bag.
As for the after-effects: apart from feeling refreshed in both body and spirit, there were none. Admittedly, I didn’t drink enough to bounce off walls or terrorise locals; I consumed the grand quantity of one bottle. As such, I can highly recommend tracking down a Desperados or two (can’t give expert advice on heavier consumption), especially if you find yourself near water on a balmy evening. Despite its unfortunate and misleading name, this is a truly transporting thirst-quencher. Drink it from beneath your sombrero before tucking into a cactus salad and platter of mole and you may just spot a cartoon cowboy out of the corner of one eye. I did. My first Desperados may have been consumed on the West Coast of France, but like magic it took me all the way to Mexico. At the bar price of €4.50, that was one delicious and affordable trip and as the days lengthen, I look forward to making it again. And again. And again and again and again (you get my drift).