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Born in Jalisco, Mexico, Don Julio González-Frausto Estrada became the head of his household when he was just 15, after his father passed away. In an effort to provide for his family, he started selling tequila in small wooden barrels throughout his hometown. And people liked it. They really, really liked it.
Encouraged by his success, in 1942, Don Julio started his own tequila distillery called “La Primavera.” His first brand, called Tres Magueyes, was only enjoyed by close friends, but soon enough, word of his delicious tequila got out, and he made his business official.
Don Julio passionately honed his craft for the next 40 years, never afraid to embrace new methods like vertical integration, and experiment with various steps in the tequila-making process, “from the cultivation of the agave to the bottling of the final product”.
On his 60th birthday in 1985, his sons made a special tequila in his hame, and Don Julio the tequila was born. Party guests and the locals of Guadalajara loved it so much that again, popular demand encouraged Don Julio to launch it internationally, making Don Julio the world’s very first luxury tequila brand. Up until that point, tequila was merely a “farmer’s drink.”
If not for Don Julio and his passion and hard work, brands like Casamigos and DeLeon wouldn’t exist. So let’s all raise a glass to the late Don Julio González-Frausto—a great man who did a great thing for thirsty people everywhere.
Before you go digging for your Zigzags or your Rams Horn Lighter, we should clarify that we’re not talking about THOSE kinds of smoky treats. Rather, the delightfully smoky flavor of Marca Negra Espadin Mezcal($100), the delectable cousin of tequila. Hailing from San Juan Del Rio, Oaxaca, Mexico, this spirit is 100% Espadin Agave Mezcal (in case you’re not up on your mezcal trivia, Espadin is the most commonly used agave for mezcal).
Distilled by Maestro Isaias Martinez Juan, this 102+ proof ass-kicker is double distilled in copper pot stills before resting and bottling. The result is a palate of spicy pepper, with an herbal, smooth and smoky body (the best kind, after all), and a nose of wet wood, tinged with smoke, spice and a spot of mint. Sip Marc Negra Espadin on its own to enjoy its long, flavorful finish and dry, sweet, fruity flavor on your lips, or muddle it up with mint and cucumber and mix in some simple syrup and lemon juice for a delicious taste of Mexican goodness.
Your first encounter with tequila resulted in a badass scar across your chest you refer to as Pedro. But that’s nothing compared to your subsequent encounters with tequila. We know you still keep that legless piñata in a box marked “stuff from Mom’s house” (and just out of curiosity, has your girlfriend found it yet?). Through it all, you’ve remained loyal to your love for this Mexican libation, which is why you need to immediately add Casamigos Reposado Tequila($50.00) to your custom wood-carved bar. From the combined masterminds of George Clooney, bar and restaurant mogul Rande Gerber and Discovery Land Company CEO and founder Mike Meldman comes this small batch, ultra-premium tequila.
Working with a master distiller in Jalisco, Mexico, those three amigos set out to “make the best-tasting, smoothest tequila whose taste didn’t have to be covered up with salt or lime.” That’s why Casamigos (roughly translated to “house of friends”) is made from only the finest, hand-selected,100% Blue Weber agaves. The agaves are harvested after maturing for a minimum of seven years and are hand-chosen for size and quality. An 80-hour fermentation process (double the industry standard, mind you) results in a deep, rich flavor and produces tequila that is smooth with no burn. The unique flavor is achieved by using copper-line pot stills for distillation. Aged 7 months in the finest American oak barrels, you’ll instantly taste the difference. As Gerber says, “Casamigos Reposado is smooth and clean with hints of caramel, while Casamigos Blanco is crisp and clear, with subtle hints of vanilla and a smooth finish. Both are great served neat or on the rocks, and are the perfect base for premium cocktails.” You’ll just say it’s delicious. And we’re sure Pedro will agree.
You’re fond of Mexico for many reasons (recreational substances, inexpensive politicians, foam night at Señor Frogs) but nothing beats their tequila. You pretty much owe all of your high school happy endings to the spicy clear liquid. Pick up a bottle of Tequila Don Julio 70 Anejo Claro($60.00) and toast your sexual awakening along with the 70th anniversary of the award-winning tequila. Created from hand-grown and harvested blue agave plants and twice distilled, Don Julio 70 Anejo Claro is aged to perfection in white oak barrels for 18 months, and then carefully filtered for extra smoothness and clarity. With just one sip and some Bryan Adams playing on your Portable Digital Music Playeryou’ll be transported back to your 9th-grade girlfriend’s dimly lit basement.
Let’s be honest. Nights spent drinking tequila aren’t always the sharpest in your memory. (Actually, if it weren’t for the pictures in your Microsoft Surface 2, you really wouldn’t remember much at all.) Luckily, the folks at Kah Tequila($89.00-$105) have taken this into consideration, and made their tequila bottles into awesome skull-shaped keepsake collector’s items. Each flavor of tequila gets its very own decorative skull, inspired by a different Latin culture. The sweet, spicy and peppery Tequila Blanco’s bottle was inspired by the Calaveras (sugar skulls) given out on the Day of the Dead, while the ultra-high proof Tequila Reposado comes in the aptly-named El Diablo bottle, inspired by celebrations in Peru’s Lake Titicaca. The Extra Anejo Limited Edition bottle is blinged out with over 700 Swarovski crystals inspired by royal Mayan burial rituals, and inside you’ll find extra smooth KAH Tequila Extra Anejo that’s been aged for 4.5 years in American oak. We could go on, but we know you’re still laughing about Lake Titicaca.
Cinco de Mayo is way over, but this imported Tequila is just heating up. Tequila Alacran($40.00) is creating a lot of buzz, and not just from its bold and authentic flavors. The bottle it comes in is sexy and slick, with a black matte finish and scorpion mascot donned on the front. Hell, we would buy this booze just on it’s bad ass look even before we even knew it was delicious. A cross between a canteen and a flask, this dark bottle surprisingly pours out a white tequila that is as smooth as its marketing strategy.
Picture this: You’re Pee Wee Herman (just go with it). You’re in danger of receiving a serious beating at the local Satan Helper’s hangout, and you have just one last request: Tequila. But instead of the song, we’d like to suggest a glass of the purest tequila ever to meet a rocks glass—Deleon Tequila($110-$300). From a town in Mexico named after the Immaculate Conception—Purisima del Rincon—Deleon is certifiably the purest tequila on record (just ask the Tequila Regulatory Council), making its silver tequila smooth enough to sip on all Sunday long. Its innate purity means it only needs to be distilled twice, and founder Brent Hocking would rather take on Satan himself than add any chemical colorings or synthetic flavors. Instead, Deleon is aged in 150-200 year-old Haute Futaie French Oak wine barrels, producing a distinct and delicious flavor profile, making this spirit the only winner of back-to-back Grand Champion prizes at the World Beverage Competition. If that’s not enough to make you dance on a bar, then we don’t know what is.