- Food & Drink
Finger lickin' chicken
Tequila was always an 11.30pm drink for me. The first drink ordered once we were through the night club doors. Staggering with booze, lit up with the joy of drunkeness and afraid the wait in the queue might have sobered us up, tequila was what we shouted for first.
It would taste sour and musty. The swipe of salt and lime helped take the edge off, but we’d snort and gag as we banged our shot glasses down. Then we’d shout for another round, grimace our way through them and then head to to the dance floor because nothing makes you better at dancing than being drunk on tequila.
Tequila tastes like fun.
When Don Julio got in touch to see if I’d like to try a bottle of their blanco tequila, this seemed like a good way to see if tequila can be good for anything other than a black out. A cocktail masterclass at the Hotel du Vin in Brighton last year introduced me to Bloody Marias, which I loved, so there was hope.
Don Julio’s Blanco Tequila is a 100% agave tequila, which means the alcohol is a direct result of fermenting the agave. No extra sugar, syrup or odds and sods added into this bottle. Tequila aficionados apparently argue over whether blanco (or silver) tequilas are better than aged (reposado and añejo) tequilas. The argument goes that blanco tequilas are super fresh and the agave flavour is to the fore, so they are more tequila-ish than the more mellow aged tequilas. Don Julio certainly smells fresh. It’s grassy and herbal with a strong whiff of ozone. It tastes young, all green leaves and soft wood, with a round, citrussy finish.
Don Julio recommend it for mixed drinks, although you could easily sip this neat. I put my Nutribullet to good use and made myself a frozen margarita. Boozy slushies make hot weather bearable. The margarita was so delicious, I made myself another one. Then I realised I’d miscalculated the measurements when I’d swapped them from imperial to metric and had been drinking double margaritas. I fell off the sofa not long after. When it comes to tequila, some things don’t change.
Tequila is such an interestingly flavoured spirit, like whisky, that cooking with it doesn’t seem like a thin excuse for getting more alcohol into your body. “I could make a sticky, spicy marinade for chicken out of this” was my first thought, once I’d scrambled back onto the sofa. All the flavours of a margarita wrapped around a gnawable wing. And one more drink for the road.
I was gifted a bottle of Don Julio Blanco Tequila. You can buy it from The Whisky Exchange for £43.25 and other fancy off licences, too.
Lime & Tequila Chicken Wings
Serves 2-4 depending on whether they’re a starter or main
50ml Don Julio Blanco Tequila
50g caster sugar
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp pickled jalapeño chillies
A pinch of chipotle flakes
1kg chicken wings
Soured cream and coriander leaves, to serve
Finely grate the zest from the limes and juice them. Put the lime zest and juice in a bowl with the tequila and caster sugar. Stir for a few minutes to start dissolving the sugar.
Peel and crush the garlic cloves. Finely chop the chillies. Add them both to the lime and tequila marinade with a pinch of chipotle flakes and a pinch of salt. Stir everything together. Taste and add more salt if you think it needs it.
Pop the chicken wings in a bowl. Pour in the marinade. Turn everything over a few times to coat the chicken wings in the marinade. Leave them marinate for half an hour to 2 hours.
Heat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6/390°F. Grease a large roasting tin with a little oil and put it to one side. Spread the chicken wings out on the tray, keeping any excess marinade for basting the wings later. Roast the wings in the over for around 45 minutes, brushing and spooning the excess marinade over the top a couple of times. I did this twice while they were cooking. When the chicken wings are nicely browned and crisp, they’re ready.
Serve the chicken wings with soured cream for dunking and scattered with coriander leaves and a few more chipotle flakes for artistic reasons.