Tequila may just be the fastest growing spirit on the market. With hundreds of bottles to choose from and categories ranging from premium to ultra premium, joven, cristalino and more it’s harder than ever to choose and even more difficult to know the distinctions between distillations. Tequila Avión is making a name for themselves by producing high end sipping tequilas, and now, with a little artistic flair. Their newest release, the Reserva Cristalino, may be the most painstakingly made tequila yet. The tequila itself is made in small batches in Jalisco, Mexico using agave grown at high elevations. That elevation lends itself to heartier plants that have richer, better tasting sugars when roasted. Tequila Avión, despite being created in 2009, went on to win award after award in the 2011 and 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and haven’t stopped since.
“Passion, distinctiveness and authenticity are at the heart of Avión,” said Craig Johnson, Vice President of Marketing, Agave Portfolio at Pernod Ricard USA. Attention to detail is key which is why the distillery in Jesús María was so carefully considered. “As a brand committed to creating a single origin tequila from the highest elevations in Mexico and embodying the best craft processes, we’re thrilled to expand our Reserva Range with the introduction of Avión Reserva Cristalino.”
The partnership with Tequila Avión and LA based artist Gustavo Zermeño, Jr. felt like a natural pairing. His piece, “Manhattan Beach,” which will be sold until November 21 as a limited release print through the Beyond the Streets gallery, is an homage to where he came from in Venice Beach. “There’s a lot of classic cars but that stems from the low rider community. The people that I put into the paintings are people that inspired me growing up.”
The partnership soon took on a deeper meaning for Zermeño. “When they originally reached out to me it was to create some artwork together. They flew me out to Mexico and gave me a tour and the distillery happened to be 30 minutes from my hometown.” He continues, “we would visit there twice a year my entire life. It felt like it was meant to be, kinda, like a surreal experience. It all just falls back on community.” Community is everything and the melding of Mexican roots with Los Angeles beach culture is impossible to separate for Zermeño.
“I love doing different skies, sunset and sunrise.” Zermeño says. “For some reason the LA ones, I don’t know if it’s the smog or what, but they’re just super vibrant and colorful and beautiful and I think that’s what captures the essence of Los Angeles in my pieces. And the palm trees!”
So how does Zermeño enjoy his tequila? “Either straight up or with Topo Chico or something. I grew up drinking beer a lot and the older I got the worse the hangover got so, especially drinking a good tequila, you feel good.”
The limited edition of 100 Giclée print measures 18 x 24 inches but is only available until November 21st at BEYONDTHESTREETS.com while supplies last. The print may be limited, the newly launched cristalino from the Avión Reserva collection is here to stay.
While cristalino may be a newer designation in the ultra premium tequila category, it’s certainly worth checking out. For Avión, it’s an opportunity to work with the best ingredients and distilling practices available. Those highland agaves are first roasted the traditional way, slowly and in brick ovens, for three days. The resulting liquid is transferred to open stainless steel tanks to ferment before being double distilled in small batches in pot stills. The next step is an extended aging in American oak barrels for at least 12 months before a bit of blending with some extra añejo, carbon filtration and bottling. The carbon filtration removes the color but leaves the smooth flavor and rich, roasted agave notes that are worth exploring.