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For Relaxing Times, Make it Tequila Time with Eric Carlson

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Hooligan Partner/Editor Eric Carlson counts nearly 100 varieties of tequila and mezcal in his personal collection, but to call him a connoisseur is a misnomer. The word carries an air of pretentiousness that simply doesn’t jive with the Eric we all know and adore.

Imbibing with him after-hours, you’ll hear no garrulous recitations of complex flavor profiles. Posturing as tequila’s equivalent to a sommelier is just too much nonsense for a guy who’s more inclined to impersonate Michael Phelps swimming, bark like a dog, or sport bizarre masks and glasses. But make no mistake, Eric is more than happy to share his wisdom of all things agave, and he’s even happier to pour you one — however you’ll have it.

Mixologist. Margarita Czar. Dude.

A mixologist in his own right, Eric has made happy hour at Hooligan a favorite pastime for clients and coworkers alike. A collective giddiness fills the air when you hear the ice shaking as the day’s end nears.

“When clients want a special cocktail, I’m more than happy to oblige — some even pop in on the way home from work.” 

Shane DeBlasio, who has worked with Eric for several years at Hooligan, likens his cocktail artistry to that of a master chef: “Eric experiments and concocts new drinks weekly. Before serving you, he usually takes a small sip to insure that it’s up to his stringent standards. In fact, one of his many nicknames is the Margarita Czar. One of my personal favorites is his El Diablo, but picking just one is like trying to pick a favorite child.”

Such margarita monikers have preceded Eric ever since saw The Big Lebowski.

“I figured I needed my own signature drink like The Dude, so I chose the classic margarita,” Eric explains, looking upon nine tequilas on his desk. “But lots of places make bad margaritas, so I’ve naturally gravitated towards top-shelf tequilas served neat when I go out – and as of late, mezcal. Sometimes you want more flavor and there are some unbelievable ones out there.”

When asked about the Holy Grail of tequilas, Eric cites two currently on his radar: Don Julio 1942 Añejo, which is aged in oak barrels; and Tears of Llorona, a $220 bottle of 100%  blue agave, twice-barreled tequila from master distiller Germán Gonzalez. He says it is supposed to be rich, complex, and more like a high-end cognac.

Eric also uses agave syrup as a sweetener in drinks like the gin-based Green Giant, his cocktail du jour, which also features sugar snaps, tarragon, lemon juice, and vermouth.

Mixology vs Editing: Shot for Shot Parallels

Eric’s combination of charm and general wackiness is but the proverbial salt on the glass of Eric the Editor the Margarita: equal parts creative talent and experience with a twist of eccentricity and a splash of personal style – shaken, not stirred.

“Like a good bartender, Eric rolls with the punches and never gets hot under his Paul Smith collar,” says Shane. “And even though he’s really a Yank, he has that British stiff upper lip game face down, so even in stressful situations, he looks calm and collected.”  

“Knowing how to make a good cocktail has always helped me,” concludes Eric. “I try to be on set for as many shoots as possible because I believe the editor is integral to the process from the outset. Wherever we travel for work, I always take my cocktail gear with me. So when you’re on set in Patagonia and you can’t get mezcal, you have Eric the fantastic editor.”