“Chamuco” is Spanish slang for “devil” and generally refers to a mischievous person. Tequila Chamucos Reposado ($45) embraces the naughtiness, not only depicting bat-winged demons on its label, but also invoking the phrase “Si Amenece Nos Vamos.” This refers to a famous Goya etching of creatures of the night huddled together, some say on top of a nude female form, under a dark sky, chanting “When day breaks, we will be off.” Let’s hope.
This superb reposado, the brainchild of Mexican film director Antonio Urrutia (an Oscar nominee in the short film category) and glass artist Cesar Hernandez, rests in both virgin American and French oak casks. It bears a pleasing sweet, nutty nose and is exceptionally smooth and silky, with a constant agave syrup undertone and some toffee and spice notes running through.
For a reposado with such a sweet and nutty nature, I’m going to break my own rules and recommend a custom-crafted coffee cocktail for Tequila Chamucos Reposado. Frankly, most boozy coffee drinks end up being just a hot version of a milk shake, masking the source spirit in sugar and strong coffee and cream flavors. But, with a little finesse, you can make a soul-warming drink with this tequila that won’t let you forget what’s in the mug.
Demonio Marrón (Brown Demon)
4 to 6 oz. Fresh brewed coffee, enough to fill a mug (Here, a coffee note that will alarm most java-heads: you want to go for the blandest, “diner”-style coffee you can make, so you don’t overwhelm the reposado flavors. Eschew darker roasts for a standard roast and brew it a little weaker than you normally would. Ideally, an old-school percolator should be used, but regardless of your coffee brewing equipment, go for a weaker coffee flavor.)
2 x 1.5 oz shots of Tequila Chamucos Reposado
1.5 oz of whole milk or cream (to be added drip-by-drip, experimentally)
1/2 tsp. of quality pure ground cocoa (again, to be added experimentally)
– Brew the coffee and keep warm.
– Toss the tequila into a coffee mug.
– Nearly top off the mug with hot coffee and give it a quick stir; leave a tiny bit of space.
– Taste your work; the hot coffee should complement and release the tequila’s sweetness but not overshadow any bite.
– Carefully add a few drops of whole milk or cream, and take quick sips as you go; this is a critical juncture for the cocktail, as too much milk will bury the reposado flavor. Err on less is more.
– Once you’ve arrived at a degree of dairy that works, gently tap in some pure ground cocoa (not hot chocolate pre-mix, which has a ton of flavor-killing added sugar). Again, take experimental sips; pure cocoa will add an enhancing earthy, almost spicy, flavor to complement the reposado.
– Garnish with a few sprinkled cocoa grains floating on the top.
Bendiga la manana!