Crafting Espanita’s premium tequila starts in the Highlands of Jalisco where Blue Agave plants are hand-harvested once they’ve reached their highest sugar content. Many other producers harvest from plants that have only ripened for five to seven years, but Espanita knows truly premium tequila is only made from agave harvested at its peak ripeness. That’s why Espanita allows its Blue Agave to mature over nine to 12 years before harvesting. In turn, Espanita tequila imbibers are rewarded with a spirit that has a sweet, fruity, floral, agave-forward flavor profile and inviting citrus aroma.

After harvest, the ripe Blue Agave is taken to the family-owned distillery where it’s slow-baked in a traditional stone oven for 72 hours to naturally bring out toasted sugar and fruit notes. Juice from the roasted agave is then naturally fermented for seven days before being double distilled in small batches inside traditional alembic pot stills. Every individually numbered and signed bottle of Espanita tequila is made from 100 percent pure Blue Agave with zero chemicals introduced during the production process.

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Espanita Blanco is bottled straight from the stills, while the Espanita Reposado and Espanita Añejo are transferred into ex-bourbon American white oak barrels for aging. Espanita Reposado spends six months aging, where it takes on a warm golden color and sweeter, nuttier flavor. The 18-month aging process of Espanita Añejo imparts complex characteristic flavors such as creamy toasted marshmallow, fresh grass, and honey, making it the perfect tequila to sip on the rocks or mix into delicious cocktails.

However, since sipping perfect tequilas calls for serving the perfect pairings, we’ve rounded up our favorite premium Espanita tequila cocktails and food pairings using all three expressions — Blanco, Reposado, and Anejo. Each pairing is crafted in a way that complements the spirit, cocktail components, and dish to create the perfect trifecta of taste.

ESPANITA BLANCO: Salty, citrusy, and spicy

When the night is young, reach for a bottle of Espanita’s youngest and most pure agave expression, Espanita Blanco. This tequila has no problem carrying strong flavors such as red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, salt, or lime. As such, it’s the perfect pair for starter dishes that whet the appetite — think guacamole, briny raw oysters, mango salsa, watermelon, and feta salad, or even a red onion, arugula, and grape tomato salad. You can even break out the Blanco at brunch and pair it with a spicy, bubbling skillet of shakshuka.

Espanita Blanco’s intense roasted agave flavors and bold, zesty nose make it an ideal match for acidic and spicy tequila-forward cocktails. Naturally, Espanita Blanco was made to add into the perfect Margarita.

Suggested Espanita Blanco cocktail and food pairings:

Sublime Margarita and fresh guacamole

Enhance the roasted agave flavors of the Espanita Blanco tequila and the salty and acidic notes of a Margarita with a fresh guacamole dish. Espanita Blanco pairs well with appetizers with fresh, crisp flavors. The Blanco, being the most pure expression of the Agave plant — zesty, bold and flavorful — can easily carry flavor combinations with strong spicy or acidic ingredients such as lime, jalapeño, tomato, and cilantro.

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Ingredients

● 1½ ounces Espanita Blanco tequila ● ¾ ounces Arrogante Damiana Liqueur ● ¾ ounce fresh lime juice ● ½ ounce simple syrup ● Lime wheel for garnish

Directions

1. Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. 2. Shake well for 10 to 15 seconds until combined. 3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or rocks glass filled with fresh ice. 4. Garnish with the lime wheel before serving.

ESPANITA REPOSADO: Slightly sweet, mildly acidic, and sweet herbs

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Espanita Reposado is aged for at least 18 months in oak barrels, imparting the influence of barrel aging over the flavor of this tequila. The result is a strong agave flavor with slightly sweeter notes. Pair this vibrant, smooth, and fruity tequila with cocktails and dishes carrying slightly acidic and citrusy flavors such as red grapefruit, sweet and fragrant herbs like basil, or mild cheeses like mozzarella — all excellent choices. Espanita Reposado’s subtle smoky, nutty, and herbal flavors are also perfect complements to savory dishes featuring grilled pork, garlic, grilled seafood, and spices like ginger and cinnamon.

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Suggested cocktail and food pairings using Espanita Reposado:

Heavenly Paloma with grilled shrimp skewers

Fire up the grill, skewer some shrimp, and shake up this zesty, citrus-forward cocktail for a heavenly pairing. We love the way the red grapefruit and lime juice in the Heavenly Paloma give a bright boost and add a touch of sweetness to the grilled shrimp without taking away from the delicate flavor of the shrimp itself. This is the perfect combo for outdoor summer barbecues that last into the night.

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Ingredients

● 1½ ounces Espanita Resposado ● 1½ ounces red grapefruit juice ● ½ ounce fresh-squeeze lime juice ● ½ agave nectar

Directions

1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. 2. Shake well until combined. 3. Strain into a chilled rocks glass filled with ice. 4. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Sage Heaven with fresh roasted or grilled vegetables

Roasted and grilled vegetables of all kinds pair well with the warm, slightly sweet, and faintly smoky flavors of Espanita Reposado, while the tanginess of the fresh lime juice and ginger juice in the Sage Heaven help brighten everything up. This is an excellent pairing as a simple but delicious side dish, but you can also add in grilled ripe plantains or roasted, caramelized sweet potatoes to make it a filling and fresh, vegan-friendly main dish.

Ingredients

● 2 ounces Espanita Resposado ● ¾ ounces agave syrup ● ¾ ounce fresh lime juice ● ¼ ounce fresh ginger juice ● 5 raspberries ● 3 fresh sage leaves

Directions

1. Muddle ingredients (except tequila) in a shaker tin. 2. Add Espanita Reposado tequila and a handful of ice. 3. Shake well. 4. Strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice.

ESPANITA ANEJO: Sweet, dark fruits, stone fruit, vanilla

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Spending 18 months aging in ex-bourbon American oak barrels gives Espanita Anejo an overall sweeter flavor with notes of vanilla, roasted nuts, and caramel. This tequila is often sipped, enjoyed over time, over ice or neat. The barrel aging also gives Espanita Anejo a smokier nose and taste, making it a natural star in bourbon or whiskey cocktails. In order to fully appreciate the complexity of Espanita Anejo, pair it with decadent dishes such as desserts.

Old Fashioned with baked Camembert drizzled with honey

A fine aged tequila deserves to be served next to a fine aged cheese. In the case of an Espanita Añejo Old Fashioned, opt to pair the cocktail’s fruity, sweet, and velvety notes with rich aged French cheeses like baked Camembert drizzled with honey.

Ingredients

● 2 ounces Espanita Añejo tequila ● 1 Demerara sugar cube ● 2 dashes Angostura orange bitters ● 2 freshly peeled orange strips

Directions

1. Place the sugar cube in an Old Fashioned glass and squeeze one strip of orange peel over the top. 2. Add Espanita Añejo, bitters, and several chunks of ice. 3. Stir well to combine, chilling all the ingredients. 4. Squeeze the second orange peel slice over the top of the drink and then drop in the glass before serving.

Star Over Manhattan with flan custard and fresh berries

Pairing a punchy yet sophisticated cocktail such as the Star Over Manhattan with a rich and creamy dessert like flan custard is the perfect way to close out any meal. The sweetness and vanilla undertones of the Espanita Añejo will accentuate the flavors of the flan, while the herbal notes of the sweet vermouth, aromatic kick from the orange peel and bitters — and perhaps a sprinkling of fresh berries on top — add another layer of depth to the dessert.

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Ingredients

● 1½ ounces Espanita Añejo tequila ● ½ ounce Carpano “Antica Formula” sweet vermouth ● 1 Demerara sugar cube (optional) ● 1-2 dashes of Angostura bitters ● 1 orange peel strip

Directions

1. Combine the first four ingredients into a mixing glass and then add 3-4 large ice cubes. 2. Stir until cold, keeping the viscosity intact. 3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 4. Lightly squeeze the orange peel slice to express the aromatic essential oils and then drop into the glass before serving.

This article is sponsored by Espanita Tequila. To learn more, visit coral-beachresortsharjah.com. Photography: Steven Karl Metzer / Food Styling: Adrienne Blumthal

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