The blended essence of Mexican blue agave and American oak botanicals produces a complex burn that simulates the mouthfeel of your typical alcoholic tequila. Even if looks could kill, we would still risk it for the Clase Azul Día de los Muertos Tequila. It can be enjoyed as a mixer, on ice or neat. The agave mixture retains hints of barrel with a citrusy tingle that lingers in the back of the throat. Enjoy on the rocks or neat. What sets Clase Azul apart from other top-notch tequilas are the bottles—literal pieces of handcrafted art. While Clooney may not be at the helm of his company anymore, the original reasons for the success that Casamigos found are still present in their spirits today. The result is magnificent. According to local folklore, the tradition of inserting the larvae in mezcal began when a craftsman found a nest of these little bugs and, after sticking one in a bottle, he came to believe that it not only improved the taste but would also be a great marketing ploy. No pain, no gain. Like many plants, agave likely has some health benefits. An entire article could be written covering the complex chemistry know-how required to master the art of the distiller’s cut, which is why Qui Rare’s Extra Añejo is a masterclass in craftsmanship and production. One of those is agave nectar, which is often referred to as agave syrup. The bottle is inspired by bones, “meant to commemorate communication with the spiritual world,” and adorned with marigold flowers and skulls. Soon, it won’t be just Longhorn fans who will be able to enjoy this sultry newcomer. Revel’s Avila Reposado from Morelos, Mexico is looking to shake things up in the red-hot agave spirits market. A nose of vanilla and fruit with a palette of honey, vanilla, cherry, pear and orange await its drinkers. Clase Azul released this limited-edition batch of agave in an iconic bottle that truly captures the spirit of the famous Mexican Day of the Dead national holiday. For an introduction to this distilled spirit, read our guide below, which features a range of both cultivated and wild agave mezcals. Well, It Depends, Veuve Clicquot’s Collaboration with Yayoi Kusama Celebrates Strong Women, 29 Tequilas, Mezcals and Other Agave Elixirs Worth Trying This Winter, Responding to This Year of Reckoning with Generosity. Ritual Zero Proof Tequila is the primo non-alcoholic, spirit alternative on the market. Whether it’s a gift to yourself or for a loved one, these are the ultimate must-have agave-based spirits to lift up our collective spirits at a time when the Ghost of Christmas Present is not as festive as he has been in years past. Backed by NBA superstar LeBron James, who was attracted to the brand’s mission of “celebrating the strength of group…of shared passion and value,” Lobos 1707’s Extra Añejo tequila is one of the newer brands to make our list. Próspero is a celebration of women; a spirit made with all women in mind. According to CEO Chris Timmerman, “this is a deviation from other tequila brands that use aged whiskey barrels, which can muddle the flavor of the tequila.” Its distinct flavor has earned medals in four of the largest spirit competitions in the world, including the SIP Awards in San Diego and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Partearroyo’s special process—the exact recipe is a closely guarded secret—involves slow steam cooking the wild-harvested plants, then naturally fermenting them with champagne yeast. In such a short-term study, the glucose in plain sugar elevated both blood sugar and insulin levels, whereas fructose did not. Now, without further ado, whether traveling to balmy destinations or staying put, whether for your home bar or for a gift to a friend or loved one, here is Worth’s list of the 29 agave-based spirits you should get your hands on this holiday season. As 2020 comes to a close, no other gift is better equipped to help you forget the year that was than a bottle of distilled agave. Whether you are already in your favorite holiday locale, planning on traveling southward soon or just wanting to bring a little extra beach vibe to your wintery home for the holidays, Worth has just what you need to carry you and your friends through the next few months—the ultimate list of the best bottles of tequila, mezcal and other libations made from distilled agave. Avila is produced exclusively in the state of Morelos, Mexico by a group of families who have perfected their distillation processes. What distinguishes avila from tequila and mezcal is its providence. Bottled in glass that looks like it could sit on a stand in a museum, the craftsmanship is a mix of designs inspired by famed Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada who used images of death and the macabre as motifs throughout his life’s work, as well as being inspired by the Oaxaca-based tradition of barro negro Pottery. The raw fruit is edible and slightly sweet, but the natural sweetness of the fruit is intensified by heat, which also softens the fruit and makes it easier to work with. George Clooney and Rande Gerber started Casamigos in 2013 based on their love of sharing tequila at their neighboring houses in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Monk fruit sweeteners taste different from regular table sugar, and some find the taste unusual or unpleasant. To hear about Avión’s distillation process makes it sound like a pseudo-religious experience, but that zen-like patience and precision by the folks at Avión quickly pays off as soon as this magical elixir touches your lips, making it a staple on top-shelves around the world since its debut. 3-4 Tbsp Agave syrup or sweeten to taste. Tequila company Los Arango’s namesake honors Mexican Legend Pancho Villa, who fought for freedom in the Mexican Revolution. It does, however, have a more neutral flavor than honey and it is thinner. Sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contain two simple sugars — glucose and fructose — at about 50% each. That said, the GI is just one factor to consider when weighing the health effects of sweeteners. It's about 1.5 times sweeter than sugar and comes from the same plant that's used to make tequila. Its black matte decanters are all individually decorated with images from Mazahua, Wixárika and Huichol culture. Other ingredients . Even B-list celebrities, like Sex and the City’s Chris Noth (Mr. Big), are getting in on the action. Glucose is an incredibly important molecule. In general, it’s always better to look for bottles labeled “100 percent agave,” which denotes that it was made with 100 percent natural sugars from the agave plant. Had this year been like just about any year before it, right about now—at least for those of us who live north of the Mason-Dixon line—many of us would be looking forward to the holidays ahead and then, shortly thereafter, embarking on a customary mid-winter escape to locations both balmy and tropical. From the enticing floral and grassy aromas, to the first note of sweet agave fruit on the tongue, followed by vanilla, pepper and mineral notes. It’s found in various health foods and marketed as a natural, diabetic-friendly sweetener that doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels. If you leave a depression in the bottom after taking the stalk it will fill with sap, which can be used to make tequila. Tequila Patrón, for example, has a NOM of 1492. The Casamigo master distiller uses a special proprietary yeast blend and ages the Añejo for 14 months in premium American white oak barrels. One hundred percent authentic in every way, the Clase Azul brand hails from the small Mexican town of Santa Maria Canchesda and has become an international symbol of excellence in the agave spirits category. Ventura Spirits, for example, is a California-based craft distillery that has been growing and harvesting its own agave. From the superior tequila to the unique and beautifully handcrafted bottles, Clase Azul Ultra is our number one pick for the best tequila to have on hand during the holidays. The harmful effects of sugar are among the few things that most health experts agree upon. Worth taste-testers felt the Ghost Pepper varietal was best appreciated over ice, but feel free to enjoy it straight as well if you are feeling particularly adventurous. It’s too good to mix. It finishes with strong, dry notes of oak. While this sap is high in sugar, it also contains healthy fiber like fructans, which are linked to beneficial effects on metabolism and insulin (2). However, refining and processing tend to destroy some — or all — of these beneficial health effects. Reposado Tequila: Light Aging to Balance Flavors We use real mandarina juice, sweetened with cane sugar and agave to deliver that authentic Mexicano taste. On an inhale, sweet deep notes of fresh agave burst out of the bottle, giving way to a deliciously smooth, rich and, quite frankly, creamy taste profile with a big bite that lingers. Debuting in 2012, the Don Julio 1942 Añejo can be recognized by the famously slim-figured glass it’s bottled in. Qui Rare Extra Añejo is a beautifully distinct tequila that is a must-have for anyone who can appreciate precision in liquid agave craftsmanship. Like Champagne, Burgundy, Chianti and Rioja, Tequila is the name of a specific region where the Blue Agave plant is grown. The Arango brand is one rooted deep in Mexico’s history; its name honors the revolutionary Pancho Villa, né José Doroteo Arango, the legend who fought against tyranny in the Mexican Revolution. Appellation aside, there are a few other basic things that are worth understanding when it comes to the world of agave-based spirits before we dive headfirst into our list; the most important of these is the aging process, which leads to notable differences in flavor, color and potency. Dano’s Tequila’s Reposado is aged in virgin oak barrels, an unorthodox practice that puts Dano’s Tequila flavor profile in a class of its own. The harmful effects of agave — and sugar in general — have very little to do with the glycemic index but everything to do with the large amounts of fructose — and agave nectar is very high in fructose. According to legend, when he first began distilling tequila in 1942, Don Julio González-Frausto Estrada, then only 17 years old, noticed that families would place tequila bottles that were too big on the ground, as they were often obstructive—too big to have on a table or bar without blocking the line-of-sight. Tequila is a type of mezcal, much like how scotch and bourbon are both types of whiskey. An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away — Fact or Fiction. Retail Price: $15.39 / 4 pack of 12 oz cans, A portion of each purchase of every pack of Azulana Sparkling Tequila is donated to charities dedicated to supporting working jimadors living in Mexico. This is because your liver gets overloaded and starts turning the fructose into fat, which raises blood triglycerides. Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Casamigos. Photo courtesy of Compañía Tequilera Hacienda la Capilla. However, when processed into a syrup, the fructans are extracted and broken down into fructose by exposing the sap to heat and/or enzymes (3, 4). Photo courtesy of Hacienda de Chihuahua. Its function has evolved dramatically; once it was a mere vessel utilized to hold liquor, but times have changed, and the bottle is now an essential piece of every brand’s marketing. Tanteo Jalapeño cuts no corners when it comes to production, resulting in a sweet and spicy tequila that will heat up the coming winter months. Keep in mind that agave nectar is about 85% fructose — a much higher percentage than that of plain sugar (17). Its namesake is based on a Mexican lore that Tears of Llorona founder German Gonzalez heard as a young man. The final product is one that delivers measured notes of caramel and vanilla with a flavor that balances the sweetness from the agave with hints of spice and barrel oak. Fans looking forward to the Patrón Añejo 10 Años have waited 10 long years to get their hands on a bottle. Only 6,500 bottles will be produced in the first batch, so supplies are limited. Last medically reviewed on June 25, 2020. Arid Shrubland & Desert, but not Extreme Desert). Villa Lobos Extra Añejo is sweet, bold and can be appreciated either on ice with a squeeze of lime or as a base for your favorite margarita. Photo courtesy of Casa Noble. This is why high fructose sweeteners are often marketed as “healthy” or “diabetes friendly.”. 21 Missions Agave Syrups are extremely rich with rich authentic flavors that customers love. An indispensable guide to finance, investing and entrepreneurship. Photo courtesy of Class Azul. Photo courtesy of Clase Azul. The agave is slow-roasted and eventually distilled through Avión’s custom, uber-slow filtration process. Each fruit contains a lot of seeds; this is definitely not something to just pop into your mouth and eat whole. Photo courtesy of Tears of Llorona. The Espolón Añejo X has all of the desirable qualities one could want in a tequila. Reposado is Spanish for “rested,” an apropos description of Dulce Vida’s signature tequila that has been laying at rest in American Oak whiskey barrels for anywhere from 9 to 11 months. Mijenta’s newest Reposadao tequila is sweet, fruity and won’t break the bank. The sweetener commonly sold as agave nectar would be more accurately labeled as agave syrup. Unlike most tequilas, half of each Tears of Llorona batch is aged in scotch barrels, a quarter in sherry casks and another quarter in cognac barrels—all for five years before being mixed together. You’ve seen honey and agave at the store, but which one is healthier? In 2019, Mexico exported 350 million liters of tequila and another 70 million liters of mezcal. Photo courtesy of Azulana. Produced in Jalisco, the canned tequila company originally launched out of Los Angeles in 2019 with a promise to donate 8 percent of their profits to non-profit initiatives supporting jimadors and their families living in Mexico. The plant is first cut and pressed to extract the sugary sap. Had a slight dark fruit quad feel to it. There are flavors of green pepper, cooked agave sweetness, along with notes of pear, lemon and grapefruit, anise, white pepper and chili. This blue agave tequila is aged in American and French oak barrels for a minimum of 14 months, which gives it this distinct amber coloring. The differently aged tequilas melodiously combine their aromatic notes to compose a sweet song of black cherries, vanilla, honeysuckle and apples. What’s more, high fructose intake can increase your levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and oxidized LDL. 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