As a brand in Australia, Tapatio is pretty much unknown outside of the bartending community. Eau de Vie, with their comprehensive collection of spirituous liquors does not have one of these amongst their shelves. There are however two (or, at least, their were four months ago) clustered in the hanging luscious fruits at Der Raum in Melbourne.
Tapatio is not sold outside of Mexico, possibly because of a trademark dispute with El Tapatio Hot Sauce. Bottles to be found in Australia are generally wrapped in layers of clothes and smuggled across the border, the result of big brand junkets or the occasional self-funded pilgrimage to tequila’s promised land, the mountain state of Jalisco.
Tapatio is the word for a local from Guadalajara in Jalisco. It can be used to associate pretty much any person or object with that location. For any of you pertaining to be semantic etymologists, the word has its origins in pre-Colombian times, from tapatiotl, a monetary unit of the Nahuatl language, spoken by the Aztec peoples.
The tequila itself, for me at least, defines the category. Well distilled, sweet & smooth with a wonderful body of earthy agave flavour. It is worth the effort of seeking out and finding a bottle, and certainly the one to ask for if you have friends in Mexico stupid enough to offer to be your tequila mule.
You might expect that a product as good as this must have made the leap out of the market and into the rest of the world. You’d be absolutely correct. Tapatio distills another brand at its home, El Tersoro de Don Felipe and I’ll be writing about that, next week.