NEARLY 70 YEARS AFTER DON FRANCISCO JAVIER SAUZA’S NEW BRAND HELPED MAKE TEQUILA CHIC, HIS NAMESAKE LABEL INNOVATES AGAIN IN TRIBUTE TO EL FUNDADOR

BY EVAN MONROE

Late last year, Hornitos Tequila announced the launch of Hornitos Cristalino. A 100% blue agave tequila, aged and filtered to produce a crystal clear añejo, it’s the first of its kind to be made available by Sauza in the premium category.

cristalino

Now part of Beam Suntory Inc., Hornitos has a history dating to 1950, when founder Don Francisco Javier Sauza, son of the Sauza brand’s founder, launched the new type in honor of Mexican Independence Day. Determined to transform the image of tequila from the province of the rural campesinos into a spirit of the upper classes (dubbing it “the drink of romance”), he brought it to new realms with an agave robust Reposado, then a crystalline Plata, and finally an ultra smooth and aromatic Añejo. Nearly 70 years later, the company continues to push boundaries with innovations such as its whiskey barrel aged Black Barrel Tequila.

The Cristalino starts as a triple distilled añejo, aged at least 12 months in traditional American white oak casks, before undergoing a unique process that filters and gently stirs the distillate to uncover the herbal, fresh, agave forwardness typical of a Plata tequila. This process maintains the complex character and sweetness derived from barrel aging, and achieves a more balanced and rounded pro le. The final product offers honey and oral notes, with distinct vanilla and butterscotch flavors, all wrapped in toasted wood. Bottled at 80 proof and available for a suggested price of $29.99, to us, it’s best sipped neat, but can also be lovely mixed in a cocktail with club soda and fresh grapefruit, or with blood orange juice (see right).

“Hornitos Cristalino is a versatile spirit, with a complexity of flavor that appeals to tequila connoisseurs, and a smoothness that makes it highly approachable for those looking for an introduction to this liquor type,” said Malini Patel, vice president of tequilas at Beam Suntory.

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