July 24th marked National Tequila Day, and while we don’t get behind every national drinks holiday, we firmly believe that this one deserves its merit. We thoroughly enjoy celebrating it too.
With sales soaring and tequila set to overtake vodka as America’s favorite spirit (according to the latest Distilled Spirits Council report), there is an abundance of vibrant and delicious tequilas bursting out of Mexico, and there has never been so much energy and excitement surrounding the category. It’s the perfect time to dive in.
With National Tequila Day almost upon us, here are five extraordinary tequilas to sip and savor, along with five essential tequila cocktails to enjoy…
Teremana Añejo – $39.99
The patiently awaited release from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s tequila, Teremana Añejo has been slowly making its way across the US since fall.
Joining the brand’s portfolio of exceptional quality, responsibly made tequilas available at an accessible price point, Teremana Añejo is made with meticulous attention to detail with only fully mature, naturally sweet blue weber agave from the Jalisco Highlands. It is slow roasted in small traditional brick ovens, distilled in handmade copper pot stills, and aged in American Whiskey barrels. Tasting notes include vanilla, roasted agave, and rich, warm oak with a sweet and complex finish. It is designed to sip neat or over ice. Each bottle is dipped by hand in black wax and hand packaged at the brand’s distillery, Destileria Teremana De Agave, in the small highland town of Jesus Maria in Jalisco.
Fortaleza Still Strength Blanco – $55.00
For years, the only way to sample Fortaleza’s Still Strength Blanco was at the brand’s distillery in Tequila, Jalisco, but it is now available in the US in limited runs.
Considered the purest form of blanco tequila, Fortaleza’s Still Strength Blanco is a more rustic blanco with aromas of fruit, baked fully-ripened agave, green olive, and earth. Slightly brighter than the brand’s regular blanco, the accents of butter, olive, earth, black pepper, and vegetal qualities in the flavor are enhanced because it comes straight from the still, without adding water; it should be sipped neat or over ice.
Fortaleza is a collection of small-batch, handcrafted tequilas made with a 140-year-old recipe passed down through the same family. It uses the traditional and labor-intensive stone crushing method, where the hand-selected roasted agave is crushed using a two-ton stone wheel, slowly squeezing its juices. Each of Fortaleza’s tequilas is fermented in open-air wood tanks and sold in bottles that are hand-blown in Mexico.
G4 Extra Añejo Tequila – $120.00
The most premium expression in Felipe Camarena’s G4 Tequila portfolio, G4 Extra Anejo Tequila, is aged for a minimum of three years in American oak bourbon barrels (in accordance with the extra añejo designation), making it an ideal entryway for whiskey and aged spirit enthusiasts.
G4 Extra Añejo Tequila is crafted using the traditional tahona method, using a recycled steamroller affectionately named Felipestein. The result is a smooth and complex, incredibly clean tequila with subtle notes of honeysuckle, vanilla and buttery oak, citrus, hints of floral, dark berries, and pure agave flavor.
G4 tequilas are distilled with 50% harvested rainwater and 50% natural spring water, which is a signature element of its creator’s process.
El Tequileño Cristalino – $70.00
A relatively new tequila category overall and very new to the US, cristalino tequila is an añejo or extra añejo tequila that has been filtered through charcoal, removing its color and enhancing its character. The taste and aroma profile are similar to that of a barrel-aged tequila, but the liquid is clear like a blanco.
Founded in 1959 by Don Jorge Salles Cuervo, El Tequileño is one of the OG tequila producers in Mexico, with a tequila-making process that has been unchanged since its conception and passed down through generations. Joining its portfolio of seven expressions, El Tequileño Cristalino was awarded a gold medal in the Spirits Business’ Tequila and Mezcal Masters this year. Rested for four months in American Oak, it features a clean and fresh palate with marzipan, light spiciness, and notes of sweet agave, tropical fruits and oak. It is best enjoyed neat or in a tall Collins glass over cubed ice and soda.
Código 1530 Rosa Tequila – $65.00
Código 1530 Rosa Tequila is made using the brand’s blanco expression as its base, which is rested for 1 month in uncharred Napa Cabernet French White Oak barrels. This enriches the natural agave juice without overpowering its delicate floral notes and also provides a naturally beautiful pink hue. Tasting notes include dark cranberries and bright strawberries met by silky agave and freshly cut grass. A delicate flavor profile effectively serves as a gateway for wine enthusiasts looking to explore the tequila category.
Código 1530 is backed by country music star George Strait and began as a private stock of tequila made using a family recipe – to be enjoyed by friends and close relatives only. On bringing the brand to market, its founders commissioned a proprietary chopper that extracts only the best juice and pulp from the first press of agave. It is distilled with Amatitán water from freshwater pools and rainwater, which has been filtered through the volcanic soil of Los Bajos and the fermentation process uses organic yeast from a small family bakery in Amatitán.
FIVE ESSENTIAL TEQUILA RECIPES
Below we’ve selected five of the most iconic or staple tequila recipes that are simple enough to either mix up at home, or chill in advance and crack open this National Tequila Day.
- 2oz El Tequileño Blanco
- 1 Whole freshly squeezed lime, for garnish
- Mexican Cola
Build over ice in a salt-rimmed highball glass. Top with Mexican cola and stir with a knife to honor the drink’s creator, Don Javier of the world-famous La Capilla Cantina.
- 2 oz Teremana Tequila Blanco
- 2oz Lemonade
- 0.25 tsp Grenadine
- 2 oz Soda Water
Method: Combine lemonade, Teremana Blanco, and soda water in a glass. Top with grenadine. Salud!
- 2 oz KAH Reposado
- 0.75 oz Cointreau
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 0.25 oz agave syrup
- Float Grand Marnier
- Salt for rim
Method: Add KAH Reposado, Cointreau, lime juice, and agave syrup to a cocktail shaker and shake, then strain into a rimmed glass filled with ice. Float Grand Mariner on top and serve.
- 1.5oz Reposado Tequila
- 0.5oz Mezcal
- 1 Bar Spoon Agave Nectar
- 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Method: Combine all ingredients in an Old Fashioned glass filled with one large ice cube. Stir until chilled. Garnish with an orange twist.
Citrus lovers will relish Cantina’s Grapefruit Paloma, which comes from the Canteen Spirits portfolio – a collection of better-for-you ready-to-drink cocktails designed to deliver ultimate and delicious refreshment on the go. Cantina’s Grapefruit Paloma leads with fragrant citrus, which envelops premium tequila with satisfyingly sparkling spring water.