With a slightly lighter shade and consistency than Pepto-Bismol, Tequila Rose is described as a “passionate combination of strawberry cream liqueur with a splash of tequila.” By “a splash,” they mean a measly 15 percent alcohol per volume—but to be fair, it’s silly to expect to get tanked on a liquid that looks like unicorn vomit.
The Tequila Rose brand is based in Nowheresville, Mo., and has two other flavors—java and cocoa cream—though strawberry cream remains their top seller. It turns up seemingly at random in weird places in Philly, from swanky douche spots in Old City to dives in Fishtown. It got me to wondering: What’s the common thread?
I ask a bartender at Silk City about Tequila Rose.
“I don’t know, that’s really Northeast-y,” he responds, doubtfully.
Northeast-y? Having grown up in Northeast Philly, I am a little insulted. He calls over another bartender who grew up not too far from me to corroborate.
“It’s for girls who like White Russians,” she says. “If you go anywhere in the Northeast, they all carry that bullshit.”
After calling a bunch of bars in the Northeast, it turns out that the evidence does not support this claim. Unable to get to the bottom of whether there's a pattern to which bars stock Tequila Rose, I was still determined to at least get to the bottom of a bottle of the stuff. I bought one and tried a few of the hot drinks recommended on their website. It was ... interesting.
Hot Chocolate Rose
1/2 oz Tequila Rose
1 cup hot chocolate
Verdict: Absolutely delicious, but putting strawberry milk in hot chocolate is a much cheaper alternative, and probably about as alcoholic.
Hot Banana Split
1 1/4 oz Tequila Rose
3/4 oz Banana Liqueur (99 Bananas)
Verdict: I could only smell a hint of banana, so I added another shot. This didn’t improve the taste, but it did get me a bit buzzed.
Drinking at Monk's—for the Children!
BYO Vinyl at Prohibition Taproom
A Good-Time South Philly Bar