Añejo. Blanco. Reposado.
Any tequila lover would tell you these are the three main variants on shelves across the country. However, bar and restaurant owners – as well as those at home – are beginning to make room for one more: cristalino.
Introducing El Mayor® Cristalino, a clear choice in more ways than one.
What Is a Cristalino?
The short answer is an añejo tequila that undergoes a special filtration process that extracts its color until it’s clear again. To understand its nuances and how it bends expectations of traditional tequila, you have to go a little deeper, especially when it comes to the thoughtful craftsmanship at El Mayor.
The typical cristalino process begins much like any other tequila – with agave. At El Mayor, we use only 100% Blue Agave (more later on why that matters). Once the agave is selected, the hearts of the agave head to the distillery to be cooked and fermented. Then, the tequila begins its aging process.
Now, you might be thinking that this is nothing new. And you’re right. Once aged, the tequila is an añejo. The next step, though, is where the añejo leaves its cocoon and becomes something uniquely different.
There’s no magic wand for turning an añejo clear. And there certainly isn’t anything artificial.
Instead, the finished añejo is carefully filtered through ultra-fine charcoal, removing the golden brown color. The result is a stunningly clear tequila that maintains the robust character of an añejo while delivering the crisp finish of a blanco
A cristalino truly is the best of both worlds.
Why Cristalino? Why Now?
Cristalino has been popular in Mexico for years, but recently it has been a growing trend in the United States. Over the last year, more and more big-city bars are pouring cristalino for curious patrons who, unbeknownst to them, are about to briefly confuse their eyes and taste buds.
A tequila that looks like this doesn’t taste like that.
That’s fair. A blanco buff likes blancos for a reason. An añejo fan likes an añejo for a reason. But it’s not always black and white. Good tequila always has a place, especially when it creates an entirely new experience. And with customer curiosity at an all-time high, cristalino is rising at the perfect time.
Its unique taste profile not only appeals to tequila lovers, but it also delivers a perfect balance of flavor and finish for those looking to foray into the world of tequila.
Four Generations In The Making
It takes a significant amount of patience, especially with a new product, to find the sweet spot we set out for. That perfect array of flavor, finish and color.
Like every tequila in El Mayor’s award-winning lineup, only 100% blue agave is used to ensure unmatched flavor and purity. Our agave is hand-selected and crafted using the time-honored Jica Jima process. Autoclave ovens are used to cook the blue agave for 24 hours at low temps, and we use a light touch when pressing to ensure we capture the best of the best. Before even bottling or aging, El Mayor tequila is personally tasted and approved by fourth generation master distillers.
Once approved, it is then aged between 18 and 36 months to develop the distinct character and color of our award-winning añejo. Only then does it begin its journey to cristalino through charcoal filtration.
A New Experience for Many Tastes
Once El Mayor Cristalino makes its way to you, the aroma of cooked agave with oak notes greets you, as well as hints of vanilla and complex fruity undertones with herbal notes.
As you pour the remarkably transparent tequila into your favorite cocktail, neat or on the rocks, your mind tries to prepare you for a blanco experience. But when you taste the full-bodied oak notes with dry fruits and vanilla hue, and the fresh finish of herbal and citrus notes, you realize it all was just a welcomed misunderstanding.
Four generations led us to this point, where you take your first sip of El Mayor Cristalino and realize that there’s always more to discover.
More on the El Mayor Difference
You already know about 100% blue agave and how it’s essential to crafting an exceptionally pure tequila, but in order to grow the best blue agave, you need the best conditions – perfect conditions. That’s why our agave is only grown in the rocky volcanic soil of a Jalisco estate, yielding a higher sugar content to create a superior product. There, it’s nurtured for up to seven years until it’s matured completely and can begin its process to a bottle of El Mayor.
Once hand-selected and slow-cooked, the agave juice is fermented with a family-owned yeast strain, converting the agave sugars in alcohol. Next, distillation.
We employ a double distillation process, using a combination of heat and pressure in copper-lined pots to extract the richest part of the spirit and preserve its flavor. Once this is achieved, it yields our blanco tequila. It could be bottled as-is, or aged further to become reposado, añejo or extra añejo.
We then age our tequila way beyond industry standards – from nine months up to three and a half years – in American white oak barrels.
Our finished tequilas are bottled in our family-owned, particle-free bottling facility. We rinse each bottle with tequila before filling to provide a consistent taste, and very steady hands apply every label. By this point in the process, each and every bottle has endured over 100 individual quality checks, ensuring a flawless bottle is leaving the facility.
The elegant balance of El Mayor Cristalino delivers a premium experience for sipping or mixing. It opens up exciting opportunities for bartenders, both professional and amateur.
Below are a couple of our favorite cristalino creations – and remixes.
The Side Car
2 oz. El Mayor® Cristalino Tequila
½ oz. Dry Curacao
½ oz. Grapefruit Juice
¾ oz. Lemon Juice
The Old Fashioned
2 oz. El Mayor ® Cristalino Tequila
¼ oz. Tonic Syrup
¼ oz. Red Vermouth
Dash of Bitters
A New Place on The Shelf
Añejo. Blanco. Reposado. Cristalino. Only time will tell if cristalino will be a new regular among tequila lovers, but if the last year has been any indication, El Mayor Cristalino may just be the latest clear choice.