I was in New York a couple weeks ago for the launch of Rosangel, the new hibiscus flavored tequila from Gran Centenario. Naturally, when launching a tequila, your first choice would be to do it in New York in February.
During the day I attended the taping of a film about the product that will be used to help train the sales force, and that may show up on the web down the road. They flew in a bunch of bartenders from around the country to help. Paul Pacult of the Spirits Journal spoke about the product, and Julie Reiner of the Flatiron Lounge and Clover Club talked about mixology.
I sat in the back and took notes. Here is some of what I learned from Paul:
- The Extra-Anejo and Flavored tequila categories were only created in 2006 so we're really seeing the beginning of what's going to be launched, especially in flavors.
- The top five markets in descending order for tequila in the US are LA/Orange Country, New York, Dallas, Houston, and San Francisco.
- Someone from the Gran Centenario family married a Cuervo descendent so now the two companies are under the same group.
- Cooking the agave for a longer period of time in clay or brick ovens, as opposed to autoclaves, "rounds out the juice" says Pacult.
- Gran Centenario pioneered using new French Oak barrels instead of ex-bourbon.
Then as we did a tasting, Julie Reiner gave her impressions of what flavors would pair well with each tequila. She mentioned that citrus pairs well with all of it so I'll leave that out.
- For the blanco, with its notes of pickle brine, dill, and citrus peel, she said it would pair well with herbal liqueurs and flavors like Chartreuse, dill, and fennel.
- For the reposado, which has some "Christmas spice" flavors like clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon, Reiner says it would pear with apple, berries, allspice, sherry and vermouth. It would work in classic-style cocktails like a Tequila Old Fashioned.
- For the anejo, which had some nutty flavors like hazelnut and walnut, plus Mexican vanilla and to my palate a fino sherry funk, Reiner said it would work in hot cocktails, with hot chocolate, as well as with fig, pomegranate, and bitters.
- For the extra-anejo, which has some tobacco, leather, roasted banana, butter rum, and fig flavors, Reiner refused to name anything to pair with it, as it should be sipped neat. So there.
Next they filmed each bartender making a drink with the Rosangel. For a gallery of some shaker faces, see below the jump.