The Adventures of Burt the Squirt

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But we've got to find it. Fate or felicity has brought us here. The Cuervo ladies have pointed to the horizon. Tequila's country cousins-sotol, raicilla, bacanora, worm-drowning mezcal-are made in different areas from different species of agave. Real tequila comes only from Jalisco-a Mexican state about the size of South Carolina-and a couple of neighboring hamlets.

The best tequilas are the sipping tequilas made purely from agave, like Cuervo Tradicional. Mexicans call this cien por ciento "one hundred percent" , as opposed to mixto or "tequila tequila" like Cuervo Gold, which is only 51 percent agave, the minimum allowed by law. The rest is stuff like sugar, caramel color, and other additives.

Cien por ciento comes in four grades based on age. Blanco is bottled almost straight from the distillation tank. Reposado "rested" sits at least two months in wooden barrels to soften the flavor.

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Blancos are often used for margaritas, and the others for sipping, but all can be excellent straight or mixed. Legend has it that primitive tequila was discovered by an ancient tribesman who stumbled on an agave heart that was flash-fermented by a lightning strike. However it started, tequila-making isn't very complex.

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Many locals still whip up home brew with this rudimentary technique. Of course, the process has grown more sophisticated, thanks in large part to the plus-year-old tequila superpowers: Cuervo, Sauza, and Herradura. The success of this young yanqui upstart has inspired resentment among its Mexican competitors, but there's no denying that it has introduced millions to the joys of sipping.

These days, rare is the big city without at least one high-class cantina boasting a mirrored wall of blown-glass bottles. A certified-organic tequila, 4 Copas, recently hit the market. This was a publicity stunt in which the makers dipped a bottle in "white-gold and platinum.

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But Tim and I are past all that yeah, right , so we set up our trip more like a Napa Valley wine tour. With the help of guide and designated driver David Ruiz, a well-connected year-old who retired from Silicon Valley to lead custom tequila tours, we carefully scheduled the first three and a half days and left the last two and a half free for "follow-up.

Leaving Guadalajara at A. Inside, we saw that the fermented agave traveled to the distillation tanks through an open ditch in a concrete walkway, so we didn't stay long enough to taste it. By early afternoon, we realized that a lot of tequila, including some great stuff, is produced under conditions that look pretty disgusting. We decided to spend more time drinking and less time peering at factory floors.

We became wonks, noting "slow legs" and "long finishes," "amber hues" and "hot burns. Alas, Tim forbade me to use the word ambrosia. On our second day we tasted 17 tequilas and found ourselves agreeing with the cognoscenti: The tequilas on La Ruta taste more herby, while those from the highlands are more floral.

We also developed two theories of our own. First, that tequilas produced by the big tequila houses tend to be more approachable, because they taste pure, while the product from smaller manufacturers tends to have more character, more varied flavors.

Second, that an aged tequila is the highest form of the art. In many aged tequilas, the agave flavor is buried under sweet oak, or it appears out of nowhere, a come-hither look followed by a slap across the face. But this rare five-year crescendoed through toffee, caramel, pear, and banana to a twinkling high note of slightly peppery agave, then faded back to sweet and slowly away. And did I really just say that?

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I think it's time to put down my stemware and holster the similes. It turned out not to have a single distillery. We checked in to what a woman at a corner shop told us was the only lodging in town, a single-story fleabag called, simply, Hotel. Outside, by a row of parked cars beside the plaza, a dozen local dudes were bartending "tequila tequila" drinks off the hood of a white sidestep pickup.

They ranged from fat to muscular, with bald heads and soul patches. Tim and I approached with a certain amount of gringo timidity, but it turned out the guys were dentists, lawyers, and scientists. They handed us plastic cups half filled with Squirt and El Jimador, Mexico's best-selling tequila.


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We knocked back big slugs of the mixed drink, called a paloma "dove" , and the night started taking on a logic of its own. I was dubbed Shaggy, from Scooby-Doo , the hipness of my tousled hair apparently lost on them. Sip, gulp. A four-wheeler sputtered down the quiet street, piled high with a dozen or so kids, all waving at us. It was nine-ish, we were starved, and they insisted we try spicy frogs.

The woman at the grill nearby took pity on us and offered us hamburgers.

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At P. Then, up rode a cowboy: spurs, serape, the whole bit. He swung a leg off his horse, reached under the saddle to produce two bottles of lesser "tequila tequila," and handed the reins to Tim without a word, as if Tim were some kind of equine parking valet. The bar was open again! Is 'The Shining' on Netflix? We Asked a Vet. Need a 'Morning Show' Fix? Donald Trump Jr. Which is how the whole series has gone on, pretty much: overwrought obscenity delivered as the punchline to a slow and winded setup.

This is true even without the crutch of inventive cussing to lean on. A very white, very wealthy band. Logan is a tyrant surrounded by toadies and sycophants. Logan dispatches Shiv, his secret heir apparent, to dissuade his eldest son Connor from launching a presidential bid by refusing to pay his taxes. She fails. Shiv dispatches Tom, her odious husband to whom she feels superior and is not attracted, to dissuade Logan from buying Pierce, a more respected rival media firm, so as to become to big for his enemies Stewy and Sandy to take over.

He fails. In the process he bullies and humiliates grown men into attempting to piss in a bucket and crawling around on all fours while oinking before being made to fight over sausages.

George Harrison got there fifty years ago, gang. Sarah Snook does with her under-serviced role what she does with her fabulous wardrobe.