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Ashly Levi - Miss Agave

Image credit: Blazin Visualz

Ironically, Bartender and Agave Enthusiast, Ashly Levi, was not always Team Tequila. In fact, she hated it, but she currently lives with a determination to change the minds of those who disdain the Mexican liquor. Now, Levi, who goes by “Miss Agave” because of her passion for agave spirits, has a blog that positively shifts the narrative about Tequila. With her blog Miss Agave, Ashly created a platform where she shares her knowledge and craft with others. She aims to break the negative stereotypes and reputation that is commonly associated with Tequila by eliminating the misinformation about the Mexican liquor.  

In 2015, Ashly moved to Melbourne, Australia, and got a job at a Mexican Restaurant with a stunning back bar that only featured bottles of Tequila. The entire selection was printed and stuck to the back of American License Plates, catching the eye and inspiring curiosity. Working at the Mexican restaurant was her first time working in the hospitality industry. Miss Agave was grateful that she was hired in an industry that celebrated community as well as making meaningful connections. She believed that working at a restaurant in the heart of the city would be the best place to meet people and she was right. Her bosses made a valiant effort to train their staff to work hard and learn fast. Initially, Miss Agave was intimidated by the new and fast-moving environment but she found safety in the lessons she learned while on the job, and along with her co-workers, was given a red binder with information about Tequila. Suddenly, she was thrust into this new world, learning the different regions where it could be found, the various categories of the spirit, and the laws that were attached to it. 

These informational packets were useful, but it was the training that changed Miss Agave’s relationship with, and understanding of, Tequila. Brand Ambassadors and owners of Tequila and Mezcal brands from Mexico would travel all the way to her restaurant in Melbourne. They brought their spirits and taught each bartender about them. They would show the bartenders slideshows and photos of the jimadores harvesting the agave in the fields to the beautiful land that is Jalisco, Mexico. Because she was born in Mexico, these training sessions and conversations gave Miss Agave a sense of pride for her homeland and a new appreciation of the liquor that originated there. Through these training sessions, she learned how to sip Tequila and what flavors to savor when drinking. She slowly developed a taste for it and it ultimately became her drink of choice. Because of this experience, Miss Agave believes that by learning more about agave-based spirits, their histories, their origin stories, and cultural impact, make them worth their respect. 

Thus, she created a blog that inspires others to give Tequila another shot.

What is the Miss Agave blog About?

My blog focuses on highlighting agave and Mexican spirits: Tequila, Mezcal, Raicilla, Bacanora, and even Sotol. Whether I am creating a cocktail or talking about a certain brand, my overall goal is to celebrate and bring attention to these spirits and educate others who may not be familiar with them. 

What do you enjoy the most as an Agave Educator?

Before I launched my blog, I noticed that almost every conversation I would have led to Tequila. Having this platform where I can reach so many people encourages me to learn more myself while I also promote the uniqueness and beauty Agave spirits have to offer. I know that I may not be able to change everyone’s mind or tastes, but I am happy as long as I am helping tell the right story and giving Tequila the credit it deserves.

Currently, you are a bartender. What do you enjoy the most working behind the bar?

 It really is an experience, and can be a rewarding one. You never know who is going to walk through that door and sit in front of you. I love the conversations and I love sharing my passion with anyone who is willing to listen. When someone sits at your bar, you are like an artist, or performer in a way while working your craft. Also, there’s always room for growth and learning.

Today we celebrate #NationalTequiladay, what are your thoughts about Tequila education in the US?

Yay, Happy National Tequila Day! 

I believe Tequila education is moving in the right direction. Working behind the bar, and even as a patron myself, I’ve noticed a wider variety of quality Tequila available. I think the combination of  Mexican inspired bars and restaurants opening up, like the “Taco Tuesday” trend, along with the numerous brands that have emerged in the last 5 years, have created more interest and inclusion for the spirit of Tequila. I do believe education is the best approach to help remove any negativity or misinformation behind the spirit. I know I am 100% biased but anytime someone tells me they don’t like Tequila, it is my mission to change their mind. I’d like to say I have a good track record ;).

What Cocktail will you be drinking today to celebrate National Tequila Day?

One of my favorite cocktails of all time is an Espresso Martini so my cocktail will be inspired by that except this cocktail will have Chai Tea instead of Espresso. This cocktail is made up of: Coconut oil washed Blanco Tequila, coconut milk, unsweetened Chai tea, Creme de Cacao, and cinnamon-infused Aquafaba. I’ve been working on Agave cocktails from home with ingredients that I have on hand! My home bar is not big enough!

What bottle of liquor do you have at home that is reserved for special occasions?

I have a bottle of Fortaleza Still Strength that I have yet to take out of the box. I don’t know what special occasion I’m waiting for, and I should just drink it. I’ll open it eventually. If there was a bottle that I would love to have at my bar that I would save for special occasions, it would be Fuenteseca 18th year.

What do you like to do for leisure? Tell us about your hobbies.

 I like to keep myself busy with work. I’m the first one to pick up or cover a shift. When I do find myself with free time I love to rollerblade, go to the beach but I’ll also just enjoy my down time during the day and then maybe visit my friends at their bars at night! Is traveling a hobby? Traveling is definitely my favorite thing to do. I pretty much always have a trip booked in my itinerary. Something I look forward to, work and save towards. Traveling is always so rewarding.

What’s next for you?

I want to get back behind the bar!  I love the rush of making drinks while chatting with guests and my coworkers. I would also love to work with more Tequila and Mezcal brands, even Raicilla and other Mexican spirits and focus on the education of these spirits with local bartenders but also with guests! From experience, it can be hard at times to give an interested customer a full Tequila lesson and tasting while working a busy bar. I have some ideas in mind to bring the educational experience to people outside of the industry as well! I also hope to make it back out to Mexico! Oaxaca is top on my list!

What’s the best way to follow your journey? Tell us how to contact you.

The best way to contact me is through my Instagram account @Missagave! Once I find a new bar to work at, definitely come visit me there. You can also contact me via email: info@missagave.me

Image credits: Blazin Visualz

RECREATE MISS AGAVE NATIONAL TEQUILA DAY COCKTAIL

Chai Tea-quila Martini

2 oz coconut oil washed Volcan Blanco

1 oz of unsweetened Chai Tea

0.5 oz Creme de cacao

0.5 oz unsweetened coconut milk

Cinnamon infused Aquafaba

Preparation

Pour all ingredients into your cocktail shaker and dry shake (no ice) for about 30-45 seconds. This will allow the Aquafaba to froth up. Add in some ice cubes and shake again for about 10-15 second. Double strain into a coupe glass!

Garnish with toasted coconut flakes

https://youtu.be/52j1Xj6fCqQ
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Best places to celebrate National Tequila Day!

El Tikiliero from Esotico Miami

When Life Gives You Lemons… Slice Them Up and Find Some Tequila 

– Our picks for Celebrating National Tequila Day in Miami

Despite the limitations associated with COVID-19’s social distancing rules, many restaurants and bars are providing novel solutions for Happy Hour. Miami’s reputation has been observed as an analogous melting pot; establishing a collective hunger for culture and tradition.

Tequila has been produced by the Aztecs in Mexico since the 1500s, and with 80 percent of Mexico’s tequila exported to the United States, we sure know how to celebrate! These are what bars and restaurants in Miami are serving up to enjoy National Tequila Day safely and deliciously.

In celebration of National Tequila Day, Coyo Taco is offering $5 draft margaritas and $7 frozen blood orange red bull margaritas. This awesome deal is redeemable at all Coyo Taco locations (Wynwood, Brickell, Coral Gables, and Palm Beach). If you’re not comfortable with outdoor dining, Coyo is also offering curbside pick-up and Margarita Gallons to go for $39.99. Simply open, pour, sip- all while staying safe at home!

Celebrating Tequila Day, Monty’s Raw Bar has created a signature Rosemary Pina-Rita’s for $10 all day. The cocktail features fresh pineapple, Blanco tequila, and rosemary essence. Monty’s Happy Hour is from 4-7 p.m. and it includes $6 frozen margaritas including mango, strawberry, and the classic with fresh lime. In honor of the festivities. Taquerias el Mexicano, the “Mexico City-style” taqueria in Little Havana is serving 2 for 1 on all tequila cocktails for their garden dining guests. Choose between their Diablo con Fuego Cocktail, Mango, or traditional Margarita

Diablo Con Fuego
Diablo con Fuego from Taquerias El Mexicano

Spanglish craft cocktail bar and kitchen located in Wynwood is offering curbside pick-up for both food and cocktails. Spanglish is offering a limited time “Chai-Kwando” cocktail, through Sunday, July 26th. This cocktail features chai infused tequila, hibiscus coconut reduction, lime, and spiced salt at 2 for $15 dollars or a bottle size for $55.

Bodega Taqueria and Tequila in Miami Beach are offering virtual happy hours from 6-8 p.m., with $5 frozen margaritas. To celebrate National Tequila Day Bodega has partnered with Casamigos Tequila to put together a tequila day essentials kit to celebrate at home. Complete with Casamigos Boston shaker, tajin, eye patches, and of course a bottle of Blanco Casamigos Tequila.

Take the party home with El Tikilero cocktail 3lts pouches to-go ( 3lts = 4 bottles 750ml) from Esotico, made with Herradura Tequila, Gem & Bolt Mezcal, fresh pineapple juice, and their secret blue agave mix all harmoniously blended together with a touch of allspice is also available on Happy Hour at Esotico Miami’s Patio.

Tequila Herradura will be offering free cocktails and giveaways at the following locations: Oh Mexico from 1 pm – 3 pm, Tequiztlan from 6 pm – 8 pm, R house from 5 pm – 7 pm and Tacology from 5 pm – 7 pm. Blend your complimentary drink while pedaling Herradrura’s bike. Participate in Tacology’s giveaway for a chance to win a Helicopter ride with Keen fly Can’t get any better than this! Don’t forget to tag us @2ozmag to be featured in our stories.

At home Recipe by Chef Scott Linquist: Passionista 

Chef Scott Linquist is a world-renown chef and restaurateur. He is currently the Chef Partner at Coyo Taco. With his unique concept development strategy and well versed in all cuisines, his beverage programs are akin to a cocktail lover’s degustation menu. 

passionista 1
Image credit: 52 chefs
  • 1.5 oz Blanco Tequila
  • ½ oz Ancho Reyes liqueur
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz passion fruit puree
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1 oz agave nectar
  • ½ oz Grand Marnier
  1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes, pour all ingredients except Grand Marnier over the ice and shake vigorously. 
  2. Strain into a martini glass. Carefully pour Grand Marnier on top (using the back of a spoon helps) so it floats, garnish with an orange slice. 
  3. Rim the glass with salt or Tajin if you prefer it.

Cheers!

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