Tequila for Christmas
When it comes to picking a spirit off the shelf to enjoy in a cocktail or neat, Aspen, both its residents and visitors, has an affinity for tequila.
While I don’t have concrete scientific evidence to back this up, yet – I plan on doing a deep dive into this for a Bar Talk column some day soon – I do have plenty of anecdotal evidence, most of which I will also save for that future column, so stay tuned.
From Aspen’s remarkably quick adoption of Ranch Water (a Texas-style, tequila-based drink made with lime, tequila and Topo Chico) this summer to the liquors prevalence at the Food & Wine Classic in September (I have never noticed more parties sponsored by tequila brands then at the 2021 Classic), tequila seems to have found a second home and fan base in Aspen.
So it seems only fitting that instead of turning to a classic eggnog or punch for this festive time of year, we turn our attentions to integrating tequila into our holiday traditions.
At the aforementioned 2021 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, I was introduced to Tanteo Tequila, and it left a flavorful impression.
Distilled, infused and bottled by hand in Jalisco, Mexico, Tanteo is 100% agave and the only tequila brand owned and operated by a co-operative of agave farmers. The majority of the brand’s tequilas are infused with locally sourced peppers – spicy jalepeño, smoky chipotle and extra spicy habanero – but for the purists they offer a higher proof blanco, which is the base for all their infused bottles.
The agave used for Tanteo Tequila is grown in Mexico’s La Cienega region, between the highland and lowland region of tequila country in the state of Jalisco. Once harvested, it is cooked in brick ovens and distilled using traditional, small-batch methods. The result is an alcohol that packs a punch, thanks to the higher proof, with notes of citrus that is complimented by the herbal flavors of the agave.
If you’re looking for Tanteo Tequila in the Roaring Fork Valley, you can find it behind the bar at White House Tavern and on the shelves at El Jebeverage.
White House Tavern
302 E. Hopkins Ave., Aspen
300 E. Valley Road, Carbondale
You can also buy Tanteo online at http://www.tanteotequila.com/shop
If you want to ease in to the brand, the blanco is a good place to start with Tanteo Tequila, but they are well known for their pepper-infused tequilas, and I love spice, so I’m choosing to kick things up a notch for the holidays, and I recommend you do the same, with a bottle of the Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila.
The first thing you’ll notice when uncorking a bottle is the strong jalapeño scent, reminiscent of jalapeños roasting on an open fire, that (for me at least) makes the mouth water in anticipation. Despite the pronounced smell of jalapeño, the heat from the peppers isn’t so overwhelmingly spicy that it sets your mouth on fire, instead it is a warming and flavorful heat that is complimented by the agave which gives it an herbal finish.
The jalapeño tequila would make a perfectly balanced spicy margarita, a good addition to your apres ski drink rotation when you’re enjoying the sunshine but it’s still winter after all and you want to be warm. However, since it’s the holidays, here are some appropriately festive jalapeño tequila-based cocktail recipes to enjoy. Cheers to toasting with tequila this holiday season!
Tanteo Spicy Fig Margarita
2 oz Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Agave Nectar
4-5 Muddled Figs
Directions: Muddle figs and combine other ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well and double strain into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with a fig skewer.
Tanteo Cranberry Punch
20 oz. Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila
20 oz. 100% Cranberry Juice (No sugar added)
10 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
7.5 oz. Agave Nectar
Directions: Pour and mix in a punch bowl. Top with lime slices, fresh cranberries and jalapeños.
For the holiday season Tanteo Tequila released Navidad, a limited batch, only 5,000 bottles were produced, of añejo tequila infused with pequin chilies, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger and cocoa beans.
Although it is sold out online, if you’re heading to or through Denver for the holidays, two restaurants in the mile-high city have a hold of Colorado’s Navidad allocation: ViewHouse and My Neighbor Felix.
ViewHouse – viewhouse.com/
My Neighbor Felix – myneighborfelix.com/