Thursday, May 4, 2017

5 Outstanding Blanco Tequilas for Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

The tequilas spotlighted here have at least two things in common—they’re un-aged, and they’re among the best sipping tequilas around. Indeed, with Cinco de Mayo looming, we strongly recommend that no shots be fired.
Licking, slamming, and squeezing may be a recipe for a good time at Señor Frog’s, but it’s no way to treat a decent tequila (rather, it’s a technique designed to disguise the taste of inferior liquid so you can drink lots of it really fast and make terrible decisions). We want you to make good decisions, especially when choosing tequila for the ultimate celebration of Mexican-American culture.

Tequila Ocho Single Estate Puerta del Aire Plata 2016
When restaurateur Tomas Estes and third-generation tequilero Carlos Camarena launched Tequila Ocho in 2008, they were the vanguard of a legion of artisanal tequila producers that summarily transformed the category. Ocho was one of the first tequila brands to emphasize terroir and include vintages and estate designates on its labels, a practice that’s quite common today. Puerta del Aire 2016 Euro 45 ($50) entices with aromas of banana peel, coriander, and menthol. On the palate you get brown sugar and dark roast coffee flavor, seasoned with a touch of basil. (

Roca Patrón Silver
For centuries, agave piñas were crushed to a pulp via cumbersome millstones called tahona, which were rendered all but obsolete by the end of the 20th century. But thanks to a rise in consumer demand for artisanal spirits in recent years, agave is once again subject to the millstone. Case in point: Roca Patrón Silver Euro 63,7 ($70), one of the smoothest and most flavorful un-aged tequilas on the market—made the old fashioned way by one of the world’s largest tequila companies. Its flavor profile is earthy, with hints of black pepper and key lime pie. (

Tequila Cabeza
This eminently mixable field-to-bottle single-estate tequila is made in Arandas in the Mexican highlands, where the agave plants are generally smaller and sweeter than in Tequila. The mosto is winter fermented in copper tanks to bring forth the agave’s fruity characteristics, which are front and center on the palate. Also evident are caramel and dark tea notes, mingled with lemon peel and a whiff of green vegetables. Swap out gin for Cabeza Euro 34,6 ($38) for an herbal spin on a Negroni. (

Fortaleza Blanco
Guillermo Erikson Sauza comes from a long line of esteemed tequila makers. His grandfather, Francisco Javier, built La Fortaleza distillery and was instrumental in the establishment of the Denomination of Origin for Tequila, which mandates that tequila can only be made in Mexico. Guillermo “resurrected” the Fortaleza brand in 2005, and before long it was a staple at the world’s finest craft cocktail bars. And with good reason—Fortaleza Blanco Euro 42,8 ($47) is as close to tequila perfection as you’ll find in a bottle. (

Herradura Colección de la Casa Reserva 2015 Directo de Alambique
Behold another flawless gem courtesy of Maria Teresa Lara, one of the only female master distillers in the tequila industry. Directo de Alambique Euro 81,85 ($90) is a limited-edition release bottled straight from the still at 110 proof and, boy, does it pack quite a wallop. The tequila is bold and fresh, replete with vigorous notes of green pepper, grapefruit, caramel, and spice. A stellar sipper that exalts the wonders of agave without the intrusion of wood. (

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