If you are serious tequila Baby, your bar cart is full of the Holy Trinity of the Agave Spirit: Blanco, Reposadoand añejo. But there is an emerging category that piques the curiosity of spirit lovers: Cristalino, aged tequila filtered to remove the amber tint so the blanco looks perfectly clear, but sips (and smells) like añejo. These bottles pack deceptive amounts of depth.
Gran Centenario Became the latest brand to launch ultra-fine Cristalino, the fastest growing category of tequila in the United States. With hints of apple and oak baked from a brandy barrel, the Gran Centenario Cristalino (suggested retail, $79.99 for a 750ml bottle) is an especially good bottle to have on hand for sipping and recreating classic cocktails.
Gran Centenario uses añejo and additional añejo tequilas to express cristalino, a first for a historical family purse. Perennial tequila blended in Calvados (apple brandy) casks is finished for at least two months. Traditionally, crystallinos are filtered through activated charcoal to remove the color, but Gran Centenario filters its liquid with Mexican silver to give it impeccable clarity without altering the taste.
On the nose, crystallino has the aroma of sweet cactus and caramel with a hint of vanilla, oak and apple. Tasting notes include cooked aloe vera with hints of vanilla bean, baked apple, and oak. It is packaged at 40% ABV.
“The hints of baked apple in Gran Centenario Cristalino Tequila are a pleasant surprise, as it’s not a flavor we often encounter in tequila,” says Gran Centenario Brand Ambassador and Head of Advocacy, Jaime Salas.
He recommends drinking cristalino elegantly or on the rocks with a touch of lime to enhance the taste profile. But the beauty of Cristalino’s style for tequilas, he says, is their versatility. Given the Gran Centenario Cristalino’s bright notes, it works well in refreshing cocktails like highballs with a seasoned twist, and can also be enjoyed in a more soulful, old-fashioned remake—or this distinctly inspiring Negroni tequila.
Gran Centenario Cristalino Tequila Clear Negroni
- 2 oz of Gran Centenario Cristalino Tequila
- 0.75 oz Lilette Blanc
- 0.25 oz of ginger liqueur
- Garnish: lemon peel
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.
- Stir and pour into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with lemon peel.
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