Watch CBS News

Ask A North Bay Bartender: Your Best Tequila Cocktail

Copita In Sausalito (credit:

Jesse Bennett, Copita Restaurant

Jesse Bennett
Copita Tequileria y Comida
739 Bridgeway
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 331-7400

Jesse Bennett is Copita's manager and beverage director, serving it up in Sausalito following his Ghirardelli Square and Sonoma-based positions, including The Girl and the Fig. Bennett's passion centers on creating unique cocktail menu programs for a fast-paced crowd made of a lively mix of tourists and locals, a perfect Copita blend.

Bennett works with James Beard Award-winning chef, PBS TV host and Copita co-owner Joanne Weir, author of "Tequila: A Guide to Types, Flights, Cocktails and Bites" and founder of "Agave Girls," which brings tequila aficionados together with different producers to taste through the different levels of aging, all paired with authentic, fresh Mexican food from Chef Gonzalo Rivera.

Q: What's behind the bar at Copita...we understand there are 100+ brands of tequila? Any personal favorites?

Between blancos, reposados, Añejos and mezcals we have more than 100 brands behind the bar at Copita and so proud of the quality that they represent.  I'd love to say that our favorite brands are each and every one, but if I really had to pick and choose, I would name Corralejo, Partida, Fortaleza and Siete Leguas are among the top of the list.

Q: Why do you think tequila has developed such a passionate following in the USA?

A: Tequila is a truly delicious spirit, despite anyone who has ever sworn it off after "one of those nights." It's smooth, versatile and absorbs whatever you put with it, which is why the variations on margaritas are so much fun. A proper tequila has agave, not sugar, and is also gluten free, both stimulating the appetite and aiding in digestion.

The tequila industry is still largely family-owned. Each family produces their brand using generations-old variables, which makes it a truly unique and distinctive spirit. Each brand carries with it a special history of its own.

Q: Bartenders usually say tequila is a versatile spirit. Are people clued into tequila beyond shots and margaritas?

A: People are starting to be more aware about the breadth of this spirit, and education is a huge part of this effort. For instance, we have great success with our El Diablo, which is a Corralejo Blanco with cassis, ginger beer and lime, as well as our delicious "Pucker-up," which includes house made Meyer lemon tequila with lemoncello.

Prickly Pear Margarita

Some Like It Hot
1 1/2 oz house made spicy tequila
1/4 oz lillet
1 oz grapefruit
1/4 oz of agave
1/4 oz lime
3 turns of a pepper

Dry shake poured over crushed ice in a Collins glass. Garnish with a grapefruit slice

Copita Margarita

Barbed Wire
1 1/2 oz tequila blanco
1/2 oz luxardo
1/4 lime
1/4 pineapple
1 oz strawberry rhubarb purée
Splash of agave

Directions:Shaken and served on a rock

Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she's writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Yahoo, USA Today and on eHow.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.