by Chrissy Iley
I used to drink vodka all the time. It was easy. I could make martinis or delight in them being made for me. will.i.am, a few years ago, introduced me to the vodka skinny – vodka, soda, a chunk of lime. He spoke of it as a health drink.
The vodka skinnies I have to say took away some of the sensual delight and power of a beautifully crafted martini. But I can’t blame them entirely for my falling out of love with vodka. It was when I realised no one under 30 drank vodka, I knew that being accessorised by a glass with vodka in it was a sign of age. More ageing in fact than a crow’s foot, a glossy botoxed forehead, a pillow face, a trout pout or the converse – old lady thin lips.
I thought briefly I would rediscover gin. It had so many sad connotations. I drank gin and tonic in my sad college years. It always came with its promise of misery, angst and non-specific sadness.
My grandmother always used to say gin makes a woman cry as she gave me a glass of home made ginger wine which made me warm and happy.
There is something about the chemical make-up of gin or perhaps now it’s psychological, but it always makes me sad. Plus I don’t like the taste.
A few months ago I had bad news just as I was on my way for drinks and nibbles at a friend’s place. I announced my misery and said drinking’s only going to make it worse, which I felt was wise of me. Being obliterated, talking shit and then having a stonking hangover is definitely going to make things worse.
It was this friend who said tequila is a happy drink, it always makes you happy. I am not sure if she hypnotised me or it’s true. There’s something in its make-up plus I love the taste.
Margaritas definitely make me happy. They give you them on American Airlines and you don’t notice the poor service. Tequila seems to be the most exciting component in so many chic cocktails. Tequila, I am told, makes some people crazy. Perhaps that’s because they drink it in a crazy hen party way with endless boring shots.
In the middle of my flirtation with tequila I met at a health party my old friend Cleo Rocos who I hadn’t seen for years and hadn’t realised that she is tequila ambassador for the tequila brand AquaRiva. In fact she’s a tequila evangelist. In her book The Power of Positive Drinking where she discusses all forms of spirit both psychological and in a glass, she gives you the rules of how to drink tequila with no hangover.
1. Only drink only 100% agave Tequila.
2. Only ever mix it with pure natural ingredients and only drink tequila. Do not mix it with other alcohols.
This she assures delivers radiating happiness in a glass.
In the book there are some magnificent cocktail recipes. My favourite is the No Hangover Pomegranate Martini – 35mls 100% agave blanco tequila, 15mls organic agave syrup, 20mls fresh lime juice, 20mls pomegranate juice.
The book is not just about cocktail recipes; it’s full of recipes for life and all dazzlingly told. Hilarious episodes with Princess Diana in a gay bar and Elizabeth Taylor bathing her parrot are also must reads.
Her AquaRiva tequila is something of which she’s very proud. She keeps disappearing to Mexico to the distillery and has managed an 11-hour flight drinking tequila but with no hangover and no jet lag such is its wizardry.
I love the idea that tequila, so smooth and elegant and edgy, not only makes you happy but doesn’t make you fat. And I love the idea that it is being rediscovered as the go-to party ingredient.
I’ve always known Cleo was the ultimate renaissance woman, herself the perfect cocktail of clever, smart and infectiously happy, just like the drink.