The email popped up in my inbox three days before we were going to continue our trip in Arizona, traveling through the mountain towns lining the eastern edge of the state up through the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park. We would continue along the original Route 66 and into Navajo land where the towns had names like Mexican Water (population 730) and Mexican Hat (population 34) and every menu had a variation of fry bread tacos.
My biggest regret of the trip was not buying a baseball-style cap inscribed with Mexican Hat, Utah.
The email was an invitation to meet Mark Wahlberg at Bottled Blonde in Scottsdale where he and his business partner, Aron Marquez, would be pouring their Flecha Azul Tequila. I must be on their “D” list, as the event was the night after next, the night before we were leaving.
As one of the only new world tequila brands with authentic Mexican roots, Flecha Azul was founded by Mexican-born Marquez and first-generation Mexican-American pro-golfer Abraham Ancer.
Shared core passions and friendship brought Mark Wahlberg to join the team in 2022, building upon their efforts and desire to share additive-free Flecha Azul Tequila with friends around the world.
But still, how often do you get to have Mark Wahlberg pour you drinks? When I told my husband we were invited to meet Mark Wahlberg and taste his various tequilas, he said didn’t know who Mark Wahlberg was. So I started naming movies. Wahlberg starred with Will Ferrell in “The Other Guys,” “Daddy’s Home,” and “Daddy’s Home 2.” He also was in “The Departed” with Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon that won not only an Academy Award for Best Picture but also best director (Martin Scorsese). And then there is “Ted,” the rather naughty but very funny movie about Mark and a toy bear. There’s even a casino slot game named after the movie plus a “Ted 2.”
No, my husband said he didn’t know those movies.
Well, I said, if you Google “Mark Wahlberg movies” you’ll get a list of 45 or so films he’s been in.
“What about “Entourage?” I asked about the award-winning television series that ran from 2004 to 2011 based upon Wahlberg’s life after he moved to Hollywood with his three hometown friends and hit the big time. Wahlberg didn’t star in the series, but he was an executive producer.
No, John hadn’t heard of “Entourage,” but he did know about Wahlburgers, the hamburger chain that Mark and his brothers had started.
And he did like the 1965 Lincoln Continental convertible that was parked in front of Bottled Blonde. I explained it was the car the guys from “Entourage” tooled around in L.A.
Though we arrived early, the bar was already crowded and people were lined up to get their photos taken with Wahlberg.After photos, he went behind the large oval-shaped bar and started pouring Flecha Azul Tequila.
Then he and his friends headed toward the door, stopping to shake hands with those who were close by and saying thanks for coming. When it was my turn, I put my glass of tequila down so I could shake hands and before I could reclaim it, someone had whisked it away. What I tasted, though, was very smooth and good.
Flecha Azul Tequila offers a wide variety of tequilas. Their Blanco is rested for two months in stainless steel so it mellows; Reposado is aged six months in ex-bourbon American oak barrels giving it hints of praline, vanilla, sandalwood and a subtle baking spice; Anejo ages for 18 months in ex-Bourbon barrels – six months longer than the industry standard for Anejo – and has rich maple and caramel characteristics along with pineapple cream soda, and black pepper.
Then there’s the extra Anejo with its notes of almonds and vanilla. It ages for 36 months in ex-bourbon American oak barrels, and Cristalino rests for 18 months in ex-Bourbon barrels, a process that imparts vanilla, coconut and subtle baking spice.
The goal of Fletcha Azul Tequila is to produce a premium drink that’s much smoother and complex than the types of tequilas college kids down as shots. Tequila is made from the hearts of the agave plants that grow in the Mexico state of Jalisco.
If it isn’t made there, it can’t be called tequila. I’ve been to the blue agave fields outside of Santiago de Tequila, the heart of the tequila industry. It’s where many tequila producers – both big and small – have their headquarters.
On a tour, I watched the jimadors (workers) dig up the large blue agaves and, using a coa, a long, machete-like blade on a long wooden handle, remove the heart or pinas which are then loaded onto a truck. From the fields the pinas are taken into Santiago de Tequila where they are placed in hornos, which are ovens built of either clay or brick.
Baking pinas releases the sugars necessary for fermentation. All tequila is aged between 14 to 21 days. Silver or blanco tequila is typically aged for the minimum time. For aged tequilas, reposado is rested or aged for two months to one year, anejo is aged for one to three years, and extra anejo is aged for more than three years.
Aging tequila in used oak barrels that were used for resting bourbon gives the drink a golden color.But back to the Wahlberg and the Bottled Blonde. Out on the street, Wahlberg and his friends climbed into the Lincoln Continental, posing as if they were going to drive away, but that was just for the press and fans and photos.
When all the photos were taken, the group headed across the street where their real rides – two large black SUVs – were waiting. But before they got there, Wahlberg was waylaid by a man who wanted him to sign the front hood of his car. Now this wasn’t like the Camry I drive. It was an Audi R8 with a starting price of over $200,000.
Yes, starting price.
So Wahlberg took the black marker the guy handed him and wrote on the hood of the car.
“I’m never going to wash it,” the car’s owner said to me.
“What are you going to do if it rains?” I asked him.
“It’s a permanent marker,” was his reply.I wondered if having Mark Wahlberg sign your car added to its value or not.
The following recipes are courtesy of Flecha Azul Tequila.
Cherry Filthy Flecharita
- 1 1⁄2 ounces Flecha Azul Blanco Tequila
- 1⁄2 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1⁄2 ounce Filthy Black Cherry Syrup
- 1 ounce sparkling water
- Garnish with 3 Filthy cherries
Fill a shaker with ice and combine tequila, fresh lime juice and black cherry syrup.Shake vigorously and strain into a coupe glass. Top off with sparkling water and garnish with Filthy Black Cherry.
- 2 ounces Flecha Azul Tequila Blanco
- 1 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
- 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1/2 ounce cane syrup
Mix and then top off with a splash of soda
Spicy Pineapple Margarita
- 2 1/4 ounces Flecha Azul Reposado Tequila
- 1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice
- 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1/2 ounce cane syrup
- 3 jalapeno slices
- Muddle jalapeno slices in a cocktail shaker, add ice and all remaining ingredients. Shake vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass with ice.
Green with Envy
- 2 ounces Flecha Azul Blanco Tequila
- 2 ounces fresh green juice
To prepare green juice, combine the below ingredients into a juicer:
- 1 apple
- Bunch of kale
- 1/2 cup of fresh pineapple
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 5 coins of fresh ginger (peeled and cut into circles)
Combine all ingredients into a shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a highball glass and add fresh crushed ice.
- 2 ounces Flecha Azul Blanco Tequila
- 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime
- 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
Mix ingredients together and then to off with Topo Chico, a sparkling mineral water sourced from Monterrey, Mexico. Or go with another brand of sparkling mineral water if unable to find Topo Chico.
This article orgianally appeared in the Herald Palladium.