A lifetime of Tequila tradition here in Issaquah

As a young boy growing up in the small town of San Cayetano, in the province of Jalisco, Mexico, Agave Restaurant owner Julian Ramos was at the very heart of a proud and famous Tequila tradition.

Julian Ramos grew up in the home of Tequila

Julian Ramos grew up in the home of Tequila

As a young boy growing up in the small town of San Cayetano, in the province of Jalisco, Mexico, Agave Restaurant owner Julian Ramos was at the very heart of a proud and famous Tequila tradition.

Jalisco produces more than 80 percent of the world’s Tequila, a potent liquor that has become synonymous with the people and culture of Mexico. Indeed, the town of Tequila is in Jalisco, about 40 miles west of the capital, Guadalajara.

Jalisco is the home of Tequila because it is the home of the blue agave, a succulent plant with fleshy leaves which looks like a large pineapple and produces the sweet nectar which is fermented to become Tequila.

There are very few other places in the world that are able, or permitted, to grow blue agave. Its production has become the defining economy and trait of Jalisco, and part of the day-to-day life of the people who live there.

Ramos remembers from the age of 8 or 9 helping workers load the large plants onto mules, to be taken for processing. All around him on the high plateau they grew in the sandy, mineral rich soil.

“The agave was everywhere, and a big part of the town,” Ramos recalls. “In fact, the town’s football team was named after the Herradura Tequila. That was because the hills surrounding the town were covered with agave plants. One day, when the workers were harvesting the agave, ‘which Tequila is the agave going to be used for?’ They said ‘Herradura,’ and so that is what we called the team.”

It is this close familiarity with the history of Tequila and the traditional techniques of its making that Ramos brings to his new restaurant in the Issaquah Highlands.

While Mexican restaurants can often be a dime a dozen, offering the same standards of burritos, tacos and corn chips, what distinguishes Agave is its Tequila, and a menu which allows diners to appreciate the subtle differences in the flavors of the 95 Tequilas Ramos stocks.

Those expecting the salt and lime shots of the typical American Tequila experience will be in for a pleasant surprise.

“Good Tequila is made for sipping,” Ramos said. “You buy a $4 shot, then you need the salt and the lime, and you need to pray to God too. But the way to drink good Tequila is to sip it.”

But don’t worry, Ramos isn’t one of those liquor snobs – behind the bar at Agave you will find something for everyone.

“What is good Tequila, what is bad Tequila – it’s personal,” he said. “For me, I take an aged Tequila, and I am looking for the smell, and the after-taste. But that is only for me.”

What you will get from Ramos is an education in the fascinating history and processes behind Tequila — how many of the best brands prefer fermenting barrels of American White Oak, while others seek old whiskey and cognac barrels, each of which give the Tequila a distinct aroma and taste.

Ramos said the quality of a Tequila depends on the care that is taken in the growing and harvesting of the agave plants, the process of extracting the agave, and the time given to aging.

“The younger Tequilas, the ones that have been left for only a few months, you can see by its color – it’s clear,” he said. “This is called Silver, or Blanco. But the longer you let it rest, it acquires a deeper gold color. Due to the long period of aging, a more balanced more mellow character is conceived, with vanilla, and more complex, spicy notes on the palette.”

It is a Tequila education that has probably passed many of us by – but it’s now a part of Issaquah’s newest neighborhood.

For a perfect introduction to the wide-world of Tequila’s, Agave hosts Tequila Tuesday, where any Tequila is half price, visit during the daily happy hour.

Or try the Tequila Flights, a selection of different Tequila’s hand-chosen by Agave’s expert staff.

If Tequila is not your fancy, but you love good Mexican food, Agave boosts a great family restaurant atmosphere too.

For more information drop in to Agave at 1048 NE Park Drive, Issaquah, phone 425-369-8900, or visit www.agaverest.com.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Business

Robert Toomey, CFA/CFP, is Vice President of Research for S. R. Schill & Associates on Mercer Island.
Is cryptocurrency really an investment? | Guest column

Undoubtedly you have heard about the new form of money known as… Continue reading

Front bar at Bellevue’s Civility & Unrest (courtesy of Civility & Unrest)
Two of James Beard Award-winning chef Jason Wilson’s restaurants to reopen in October

The Lakehouse plans to reopen Oct. 12 and Civility & Unrest reopens Oct. 14.

Stock photo
Grocery store workers have right to wear Black Lives Matter buttons

National Labor Relations Board ruling against ban by Kroger-owned QFC, Fred Meyer

Big Island Poke in Renton (courtesy of The Intentionalist Facebook page)
Small-business advocacy group wants you to try minority-owned businesses and put it on their tab

The Intentionalist is opening up $400 tabs for folks to use this weekend at select businesses.

Eastside King County restaurant owners discuss challenges with U.S. Rep Suzan DelBene at Pomegranate Bistro in Redmond. (Photo credit: Cameron Sheppard/Sound Publishing)
Restaurant owners discuss labor difficulties with U.S Rep. Suzan DelBene

Experienced service and kitchen staff are reportedly hard to hire as food service reopens.

Dave and Buster's restaurant and entertainment venue looks to hire 130 people to staff its Bellevue venue, set to open in August. Photo courtesy Dave and Busters.
Dave and Buster’s hiring 130 for August opening in Bellevue

Dave and Buster’s restaurant and entertainment venue opens in downtown Bellevue on… Continue reading

Images of dishes from Issaquah’s Umi Cafe posted on the SMORS page. (Photo courtesy of Kristen Ho)
Facebook page promotes minority-owned restaurants across Puget Sound region

Miya Nazzaro used to be a member of Facebook pages that were… Continue reading

The Moe Vegan food truck serves meals at the city of Kent’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 21, 2020. Sound Publishing file photo
King County fire marshals offer regulatory relief to food trucks

39 fire authorities have reportedly agreed to standardize fire codes and inspections.

Cash Cards Unlimited partners, left: Nick Nugwynne, right: Cassius Marsh (photo credit: Cash Cards Unlimited)
Former Seahawks player Cassius Marsh cashes in on trading cards

Marsh and his friend open physical and online trading card store as collectibles boom amid pandemic.

Teaser
First large-scale, human composting facility in the world will open in Auburn

“It’s what nature meant us to do. We just do it faster.”

Whole Foods grocery store entrance (Shutterstock)
King County considers grocery store worker hazard pay for those in unincorporated areas

The King County Metropolitan Council will vote during its next meeting on… Continue reading

Screenshot
WA Democrats consider new tax on billionaires

Plan could raise $5 billion from fewer than 100 taxpayers. Detractors fear it could drive Washington’s wealthiest out of state.