Live Dangerously: New premium tequila debuts at watering holes islandwide
There’s a new tequila hitting Maui bars, and it’s called Peligroso. New to California and Hawaii markets, Peligroso has also set its sights on the Southwest and is set to debut in Arizona and Nevada later this month. A premium tequila, it’s available in Silver, Reposado and Anejo. Peligroso is also seeking organic and kosher certification for its distillery in the highlands of Atotonilco in the Mexican State of Jalisco.
Premium tequila is a growing segment of the alcohol market, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., seeing an annual increase of about 9 percent since 2002. So when a trio of successful California entrepreneurs got together to create a premium tequila, they focused on the best 100 percent blue weber agave distillate and bringing a high quality beverage to your glass. New to the tequila industry, the partners have taken three years to refine and develop Peligroso.
In order to be recognized as a tequila, a beverage must be made in the Mexican states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit or Tamaulipas, with distilling regulated by the Tequila Regulatory Council of Mexico. The agave plant has an eight- to 10-year maturation rate. Once a mature plant is harvested, it’s roasted and juiced, and the juice is then fermented and distilled twice. There are several types of tequila: silver or white, which are not aged; gold, which may have coloring or caramel added; reposado, or “rested” tequila, aged a minimum of two months; anejo, aged a minimum of one year but less than three years; and the extra anejo, aged a minimum of three years in oak barrels.
Forget memories of slamming tequila in your college days (or last night). Premium anejo tequilas are sipped in snifters sans salt and lime. Silver premiums are mixed with fresh juices and herbs to create cocktails like Peligroso’s Spa Margarita (on the menu at the L.A. Ritz Carlton), which features agave sweetener, cucumber and basil. Not all tequilas are created equal. Look for tequila that is clearly marked on the bottle 100 percent agave, or you’ll find a mix that may be composed of up to 49 percent other sugars. The difference in flavor is apparent; 100 percent agave tequila is more complex and vegetal than other grain spirits.
Peligroso means “dangerous” in Spanish, and the Peligroso team identifies itself with living life on the edge, a spirit of adventure. This translates into extreme sport sponsorships and pairing Peligroso with adrenaline. To put it into the Maui perspective, think of it as a tow-in tequila. Bring a bottle to Jaws, for after the sesh. In fact, my first visit to the Peligroso Facebook site felt like I’d stepped into the boys’ club: surfing, c-words, hot chicks, gratuitous hipstamatic usage and tequila-goggle jokes. It wasn’t a bad place to be, kind of familiar. Typical stuff you’re going to find at the Ho‘okipa pavilions.
With the advent of anejo sipping, now more than ever is the time to enjoy tequila, even dangerously.
Find Peligroso at the following Maui spots: Banyan Tree and Alaloha Lounge at the Ritz, RB’s Steakhouse, Charley’s Saloon, Milagro’s and Leilani’s