When veteran TV personality Cleo Rocos couldn’t find an affordable tequila easily she decided it was time to make her own (as you do). The result is this very drinkable 100% agave tequila which is loved by enthusiasts and bartenders alike, and cemented her as the “Queen of Tequila”. Their blanco is crisp and clean with a citrusy aftertaste (look out for her recipe for a ‘hangover-free margherita’.)
As well as being some of the most beautiful bottles I’ve come across (each one is adorned with a handmade decoration by the Hichol Tribe, whose drawings the bottle’s logo is based on) this tequila is also one of the smoothest out there. Benefitting from a slower fermentation than most tequilas, and cooked in a volcanic rock oven, the result is a soft and easy-drinking tequila. Their Gran Maracame Plato has become a favourite.
There’s no escaping the rise of Casamigos, the tequila brand famously started by George Clooney and Rande Gerber and sold to Diageo (for a reportedly 10 figure sum). But I include this tequila as it still holds strong in its category and has played a large role in the recent tequila image revival. Their reposado has a particularly enjoyable oaky and caramel finish.
Thea Cummings, founder of Dangerous Don, might just be making some of most interesting and delicious mezcal I’ve tasted. After a trip to Mexico two years ago, she has committed her time to creating Dangerous Don, a coffee mezcal labelled with her father’s nickname. Distilled twice then steeped with Oaxacan coffee beans, the taste is outstanding; combining the richness of coffee and the smooth, sweet elements of mezcal. Thea’s passion is also unwavering – she co-founded and runs London Mezcal Week and has committed to responsible growth for her company.
This is an industry favourite and for good reason; it’s excellent. Papadiablo, meaning ‘Pope Devil’, has a number of varieties but it was the Especial that really blew me away. A blend of four agaves and distilled in copper, the taste is complex with a sweet and smoky aftertaste. The company draws on the mystical and sacred element of mezcal, celebrating the artisanal traditions which make up the drink’s history. The result is a range of versatile mezcals, which are all too easy to drink...
If mezcal is tequila’s cool little sister, than raicilla is their wild and fruity cousin. Pronounced “rye-see-ya” the drink has a 400-year history in Mexico and until recently was typically made in a moonshine style. Sweeter and more herbal than mezcal, the drink works well both in cocktails and sipped straight. Estancia Raicilla is light and fruity with a hint of hibiscus. I can see this having a real moment soon.
This article was first published in Issue 16 of CODE Quarterly
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