Until a trip to Mexico last week, I have never quite grasped the concept of premium, sipping tequilas. While I’ve always dug margaritas in almost any flavor, well tequila shots have lead to far too many bad incidents that I tried to avoid My Mexican Cousin at all costs. With the number of 100% agave Reposados and Anejos now on the market in the United States growing daily, I knew I couldn’t avoid exploring the finer end of the spectrum any longer. My first purchase, a Partida Reposado.
The Partida label was created in 2006 by a San Francisco investor, Gary Shansby. The distillery, found in Guadalajara village of Amatitan, uses 100% Blue Agave that is cultivated for 7-10 years until the piñas are perfectly ripened and the flavors are fully developed (Note: young agave is often used in tequila, though its generally more tart and acidic). Partida distills the fermented liquid twice, first to purify, then to smooth it out.
While in Mexico, I sampled all three of Partida’s tequilas: Blanco ($50), Reposado ($55), and Anejo ($60). I tried them with dinner, after dinner, and nowhere near any meal at all. The blanco is clean and clear, though its better for cocktails than sipping. I definitely prefer the other two, which are aged in once passed American oak whiskey barrels purchased from Jack Daniel’s in Lynchburg, Tenn. The Reposado – a double gold medal winner at the 2006 San Francisco World Spirits Competition – is soft and elegant. Sipping it and then tasting a bit of lime is heavenly and refreshing. So far, it is my tequila to beat. The Anejo, which is aged for 18 months (12 months more than the reposado), is heavier and richer. Partida began recently offering an Extra Anejo called Elegante ($350), which is well out of my price range though still for some reason tempting.
-1 1/2 oz Partida Blanco Tequila
-1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
-3/4 oz Partida Agave Nectar
-3/4 oz Water
1.) Shake all ingredients with ice in a shaker.
2.) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or over fresh ice into an old-fashioned glass.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.