By Andy J. Gordon
Tequila has grown into one of the biggest and trendiest spirits in the United States. It seems like every week a new brand launched by a celebrity, restaurateur or multi-national beverage giant hits the market. In this seemingly saturated segment, how can a small producer stand out? That was the challenge confronting Sean Conley, the creator of Mama’s Boy Infusions. Conley has years of experience bartending in Los Angeles. He knew the bad reputation of poorly made tequila and set out to change opinions. After years of tasting, mixing and refining ideas, he came up with something special. His tequila uses a unique bottling process that infuses tequila with fresh fruits and chili peppers.
At a recent pairing dinner for journalists at El Carmen in Los Angeles, Conley was joined by celebrity chef Marlon Alexander, who is an investor in the new tequila company. Alexander and Conley devised a menu that incorporated the tequila in each dish and paired it with a special cocktail. The evening started with guests enjoying “Mama’s Boy Margaritas” made with Mama’s Boy Infusions tequila. The drink was tasty and gave a hint of the underlying flavors used to infuse the tequila. Conley talked about the special combination of pineapple, mango, habeñero and serrano chilis that soak in the tequila for about a month before bottling. Conley spent a great deal of time convincing Mexico’s Tequila Regulatory Council that his product was up to their standards. The tequila starts out as a regular blanco made with 100% agave that is supplied by a reputable wholesaler in Jalisco (they make several brands of tequilas). It is shipped to Bend, Oregon where the secret combination of fruit and chilis are added to the tequila. The finished product has a pleasantly smooth, nuanced flavor profile.
At the pairing dinner, guests started noshing on tequila soaked almonds with a sweet chili lime salt to accompany the margarita. The next dish was a lobster ceviche that was really tasty with subtle flavors of pineapple and citrus. This was paired with a “Mama’s Boy Champagne Fizz” that was made with the infusion tequila. Lamb chop lollipops with grilled apples followed. It was a delicious dish paired with “The OG,” a cocktail of blended and strained cilantro, lime juice and Mama’s Boy Infusions that was really special. A spicy lemon risotto that was creamy and very lemony came out next. The risotto was matched beautifully with the “Palomama”, a grapefruit and Mama’s Boy play on the classic Paloma cocktail. The star of the night was the sea bass taco with pineapple mango chutney. The soft taco with succulent fish had amazing flavor and texture. It was paired with a drink called “Santa Monica Sunset” that is made with raspberry puree. The dessert course was bread pudding with vanilla ice cream and caramel tequila sauce paired with a “Hot Mama.” The dessert was tasty and decadent. The drink was a sweet, spicy cocoa treat that contained Mama’s Boy tequila with hot chocolate, whipped cream and a touch of spicy salt.
The pairing dinner was a successful demonstration of how well Mama’s Boy Infusions could be incorporated into fine food and drinks. The gourmet dishes were delicate and flavorful without being overpowered by the tequila. Each cocktail offered a different way of blending the tequila with quality ingredients to create tasty creations. The tequila neat is smooth with subtle flavors which allow the spirit to stand out as something different and interesting in a crowded market. Mama’s Boy Infusions is a welcome newcomer in the premium tequila class. We are excitedly looking forward to some new flavor blends from Sean Conley. If they are as successfully executed as the original, then premium tequila consumers will be in for a tasty treat.
All photos copyright Andy J. Gordon 2015© except Sean Conley photo courtesy of Mama’s Boys Infusions.