I met Jose "Chuy" Tovar through a Facebook inquiry he put in to me about places to find the best menudo (yes, he saw me on TV). It turned out he was the chief operating pinche-officer of Real De Mexico Tequila, a 2-year-old tequila company based in Echo Park that distributes quite possibly the best tequila you will ever taste in your life.
Not so soon after that, I invited him to my bloody 21st-birthday/backyard-punk-rock-gig party. There, he set up an impromptu cocktail bar and hand-muddled some chingón cocktails for my friends with which to chase their 40-ounce King Cobra's. Needless to say, we have been inseparable since.
Chuy is one of those all-around bad-asses. He used to be the operations manager for the Patina Restaurant Group for both LA and OC, working at Pinot Provence, Park Prive and Leatherby's Cafe Rouge. And this past Tuesday, I invited him over to Weekly world headquarters to meet Jefe Arellano and give him a taste of the Real Mexican, Real De Mexico's official cocktail.
At exactly 12:30 in the afternoon (anyone seeing a trend here?), Chuy was outside the office with a backpack full of cilantro from his mom's garden, a whole jalapeño and fresh Key limes. All this was not for his taco lunch, but for the Real Mexican!
Chuy is a stickler for perfection, and when you combine this with a passion for tequila, you get this!
The Real Mexican
4 stalks cilantro (leaves only)
1 chunk of fresh pineapple
1 round slice of jalapeño
2/3 oz. of fresh lime juice
3/4 oz. of Agave nectar
1 1/2 oz. of Real De Mexico Tequila Blanco
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1) In a cocktail shaker, muddle together cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice, pineapple and agave for 30 to 60 seconds.
2) Pour rest of tequila, then fill with ice.
3) Shake (for about 20 to 30 seconds).
4) Serve over ice, splash with pineapple juice.
5) Garnish with cocktail skewer of pineapple and slice of jalapeño.
Next week: Chuy takes me to some of his favorite OC hole-in-the-walls! Stay tuned . . .