Laura Crago, a Senior Instructor for SoulCycle and brand ambassador for Lululemon, shares her can’t miss vitamin-packed blueberry cocktail recipe for a healthier margarita that will have you leaping with joy.
I love tacos, great tequila, and even more so love a cold, perfectly shaken, 100 percent agave tequila to make a delicious margarita with! I recently tried Azuñia Tequila for the first time, and my lips were singing for more. I didn’t need to add a ton of sweet and sour mix. In fact, I didn’t add any! Instead, I mixed in my daily go-tos, shook them with ice and added a splash of my favorite club soda and – voila! The Honey Blue blueberry cocktail was born. I should mention that I was a bartender in New York City before my journey into the fitness world. Mixology was a passion of mine just so you know I’m not your average margarita drinker and this is not my only recipe.
Working out for a living – teaching 10+ high-intensity cycling classes a week – means eating right is part of the job description, it’s survival for the fitness instructors, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a margarita from time to time. The key is what you’re putting in it. What are you putting in your margarita? How does clover honey, freshly squeezed lemon, blueberries topped with Q Mixers Club Soda for those perfect bubbles sound?! Well, let me tell you, it’s pretty tasty and has so many benefits to boot:
Blueberries —> High in Antioxidants Lemons —> Beneficial levels of Vitamin C Raw Clover Honey —> Clover honey has minerals, such as zinc, copper, magnesium, potassium, and manganese, as well as high levels of B vitamins, vitamin C, and calcium. There are 64 calories in a tablespoon of this honey, but no fat or cholesterol. Since there is no processing, most of these nutrients are fully retained. YAHOO! Club Soda —> Unflavored carbonated water is hydrating, and I love the bubbles! Plus, Q Mixers doesn’t add anything but the carbonation and Himalayan salt to their club soda!
I believe in balance. Although it’s not always easy to find, it’s necessary, and therefore I think everyone should try this blueberry cocktail recipe and sip it slowly with some friends, tacos, and great conversation because if I’ve ever had a tequila drink that encouraged me to relax this is it.
How to make the Honey Blue Blueberry Cocktail
2 oz Azuñia Blanco Organic Tequila
Handful Fresh Blueberries
2-3 Lemon Slices
1 tsp Raw Clover Honey
Splash of Q Mixers Club Soda
Rock Salt, for garnish
In a cocktail shaker, muddle handful of blueberries, 2-3 lemon wheels and clover honey to taste.
After ingredients are muddled, add plenty of ice and tequila.
Strain mix into mason jar glass filled with fresh ice. Honey rim the glass and dip in rock salt for a nice salty sweet flavor.
Top with Club Soda, a few blueberries and lemon wheel. ENJOY!
If you’re more of a tequila sipper try my favorite way to sip.
Cragoʼs Cinnamon Orange Shot:
2 oz of Azuñia Organic Blanco or World’s Best Reposado chilled in a shot glass. (I prefer Blanco.)
1 Orange wedge sprinkled with cinnamon
Sip the tequila then eat the orange! YUM!
I encourage you to sip responsibly and remember that the cool thing to do is to sip and enjoy with friends and always have a designated driver.
Find Laura in real life at SoulCycle La Jolla or on Instagram where she shares inspiration and motivation (and fun) for creating a healthy and balanced life.
Azuñia Tequila*, a premium, organic, estate-crafted tequila has now signed up more than 33,000 people in its rapidly expanding No Plastic Straws 365 Challenge. To meet the heavy interest, the fast-growing, sustainably farmed tequila brand is adding to their initial pledge of providing a reusable, recyclable stainless-steel straw to the first thousand people who signed up by allocating hundreds of straws to future participants in the program, as randomly selected.
“The average American uses 1.7 plastic straws a day, so we thought why not go after that and see if we can just do better, join together on a fun initiative and make a difference,” said Azuñia’s Managing Director Joe Giansante. “So far, collectively we’ve pledged to eliminate 20,000,000 plastic straws from use in 2019, and counting! If placed in a line, that is enough plastic to stretch from Los Angeles to Boston, and headed back to Chicago! Small personal changes can pay big dividends when we get together, and it really fits with Azuñia’s farm and family heritage. Our brand is one of the few tequilas on the market that is organic, sustainably farmed and uses no chemicals or additives, so why not take it a step further with this effort.”
This voluntary grassroots initiative is aimed at bars, restaurants, and individuals eliminating the everyday use of plastic straws, or replacing them with a reusable and recyclable straw that individuals can carry with them and use as needed. The “365” represents the number of days in the year to reinforce the idea that making a small choice like refusing the use of one straw every day for one year can collectively make a significant impact.
Initially, Azuñia planned to give reusable straws to the first 500 people who accepted the “No Plastic Straws 365” Challenge, then increased it to 1,000 in November of 2018 when the response was positive as demonstrated through a steady stream of sign-ups. Since then, the campaign has taken off through Word of Mouth on social media and through communities and forums of eco-conscious bloggers and their loyal followers. Thanks to these tight-knit groups’ and individuals’ dedication to this cause, Azuñiahas over 33,000 sign-ups for the challenge to date, eliminating over 20 Million* harmful plastic straws from U.S. oceans and landfills.
Not only has the No Plastic Straws 365 Challenge taken off beyond expectation, so has the Azuñia brand, which has nearly doubled in size over the last two years. One of the main drivers is a hospitality industry application of the metal straw concept by providing straws to bars and restaurants as part of its signature cocktail program, the Azuñia Orgánica or Organic Skinny Margarita. Made with USDA-certified Organic Azuñia Blanco or Reposado tequila, Azuñia Organic Agave Syrup and lime juice, the simple but refreshing and low-calorie cocktail is served in many locations, such as Tocaya Organica, with the reusable straw.
Azuñia Reposado recently won the “World’s Best” designation at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The 10-year old brand prides itself on being Honestly Authentic – staying true to its roots of farming the land properly, without additives, to produce the finest agave plants by a family owned farm on the slopes of Volcán de Tequila. In fact, all four of Azuñia’s products – Blanco, Reposado, Añejo and Azuñia Black, its Private Reserve Extra-Aged Añejo have won multiple gold medal awards, most notably the prestigious spirits competition in San Francisco.
*Azuñia Tequila’s #noplasticstraws365 seeks to reduce the number of single-use plastic straws. On average, every person in the U.S. uses 620 plastic straws per year. That’s 620 fewer straws for every one person who accepts the #noplasticstraws365 challenge.
Azuñia is smooth, clean craft tequila with authentic flavor from the local terroir in every sip. It is the exclusive export of Agaveros Unidos de Amatitán and its second-generation, family-owned-and-operated Rancho Miravalle estate, which has created exceptional tequila for over 20 years. Made with 100% pure Weber Blue Agave grown in dedicated fields of the Tequila Valley, we harvest by hand and roast the organic agave in traditional clay hornos to ensure authenticity and depth of flavor. We then finish with a natural, open-air fermentation process and bottle onsite in small batches using a consistent process to deliver field-to-bottle quality. For more information, please visit https://www.azuniatequila.com. For media inquiries, contact Jenn Barber, jbarber(at)azuniatequila(dot)com, 760-331-7914.
Aaron DeFeo, a partner of Little Rituals in Phoenix, Arizona, shares his favorite holiday rituals.
The holiday season proffers so many of our great culinary traditions; from pumpkin pie and honey ham to Chinese cuisine on Christmas Day. For me, though, it’s always been the drinking rituals that make the holidays so special. The holidays are a time for friends and family, and no spirit says family more than agave. Steeped in centuries of tradition, and toasted by friends all across the globe, agave spirits and agave-based beverages have been long-tied to celebration. So, when the temperatures drop, I’m still inclined to reach for a good mezcal or tequila—just not necessarily in a margarita.
The Occasion: Family Gatherings
The Perfect Ritual: Hot Apple Cider
Few flavor combinations are as harmonious in the booze world as baked agave and apple. Add the spice of a great cider made with real apples, and you’ve got an instant winner. Grate some real cinnamon on the top of the drink as a perfect finishing touch.
I recommend using Azuñia Reposado, as the fresh roasted agave flavor—along with playful butterscotch and caramel—plays much more into the apple and spice than a richer, fuller and more oak-influencedañejo.
For the cider, depending on the part of the country you live in, there will more than likely be a local farm that is selling their version (often at the local supermarket), if you don’t feel like going through the whole process. But these are holiday rituals, and part of what makes these drinks so enjoyable is the prep work. Cooking apple cider makes your home or bar smell like a winter lodge, and you can’t beat that. Not to mention that by making apple cider yourself, you can adjust the recipe to accommodate dietary needs, such as kosher guidelines. Another great part of apple cider is that if you have members of your family who are too young to drink or simply choose to abstain, the delicious cider can be served sans tequila.
This version punches up the traditional cider by adding a touch of Madeira for richness, agave nectar instead of brown sugar, and pears, which boost the apple in accentuating the agave flavor.
8 apples (your favorite varietal)
4 pears (Bosc or Anjou)
3 quarts filtered or spring water
1 cup Madeira (semi-sweet)
½ cup agave nectar, or to taste
Peel of 1 large orange
4 ea. cinnamon sticks
6 ea. star anise
2 Tbsp allspice berries
½ Tsp citric acid (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS: This is best made in a slow cooker or in a pot on the stove on low. You need to cook the entire mixture for about 3 hours, then mash up the fruit and continue cooking for an additional hour or two. The idea is to break down the fruit thoroughly.
Once finished cooking, it is critical to fine strain the mixture, as the pulp and pectin from the fruit doesn’t make for as appetizing a drink.
NOTE: if you don’t have the time to cook it down, you can omit the fruit and use a combination of two parts apple juice to one part pear nectar, though you will still need to simmer the rest of the ingredients for at least 30 min.
To make the drink itself:
1 part Azuñia Reposado Organic Tequila
3 parts apple cider
Combine in an insulated cup and add a cinnamon stick with grated nutmeg for garnish.
The Occasion: Holiday Parties
The Perfect Ritual: Hot Toddy
A good hot toddy can be hard to find, even though many bars offer them nowadays. Often times recipes erroneously call for adding fresh citrus juice to the glass—a step not recommended when using 180°F water, which will cook that citrus and bring out the bitterness. Besides, what we’re after when making a toddy isn’t citrus juice, but rather the oil of the skin to brighten up a drink; much like a hot old fashioned. Early versions of the toddy would include a spirit, water, and sugar only. When boiling water wasn’t available, a hot poker called a loggerhead or flip-dog was used to heat drinks a la minute. Not shockingly, this combination of water, sugar and a spirit aren’t quite as appetizing without a spritz of zesty citrus oil.
Making toddies at holiday gatherings has always been a ritual of mine, and as the temperature (slowly) drops here in Phoenix, we’ll find ourselves making hot toddies for our guests at the bar, as well as at any evening-time gathering of friends. Perfect your next batch of this cozy cocktail with the ultimate Hot Toddy guide from our friends at Prestige Decanters.
Azuñia Hot Toddy
1.5 oz Azuñia Añejo Organic Tequila
.5 oz rich chai demerara syrup*
4 oz hot water
INSTRUCTIONS: Combine AzuñiaAñejo and rich demerara in a cup. Add very hot water (tea or hot coffee temperature) to the mixture and stir lightly. An electric tea kettle is PERFECT for this. Express the oil from an orange peel over the surface of the drink and discard.
*Chai Demerara Recipe
800 g raw Demerara sugar (or turbinado, like Sugar in the Raw)
NOTE: if you don’t have a way to measure weight by grams, just measure to the best of your ability one part of water and two parts of demerara sugar.
In a pot on the stove, heat water to almost boiling, turn off the heat, then add tea bags. Let steep for as long as 15 min. Once a strong, dark and fragrant tea has developed, slowly mix in the demerara sugar, while bringing the heat up. Keeps stirring until the sugar has dissolved completely, then remove the tea bags with a ladle. Before the mixture boils, turn off the stove and let syrup cool naturally. You may also set the pot in an ice bath to cool more quickly. Bottle once cooled and refrigerate. This should make enough syrup for more than 60 cocktails.
The idea here is to make a super-strong tea into a syrup. That way, you can make these for the entire cold season without having to brew tea each time. The syrup will last for months if kept refrigerated.
The Occasion: Daytime Drinking
The Perfect Ritual: New Year Punch
If you are like me—and you live somewhere that is perpetually warm during the day, daytime cocktails are the perfect respite from holiday shopping, or when you just want to relax and enjoy time off. For bartenders, usually, our holiday day off tends to be New Year’s Day, when we can escape the craziness of the night before and recover with something refreshing.Punch is the ideal beverage that allows a host to take a step back and actually enjoy the party after all the prep work is done.
New Year Punch
1 part lime juice
2 parts Velvet Falernum (if you can’t find Velvet Falernum, use REAL Ginger Syrup instead)
3 parts Azuñia Blanco Organic Tequila
4 parts hibiscus tea
Angostura bitters or other aromatic bitters to taste
In a large punch bowl, combine citrus, falernum, Azuñia Blanco and hibiscus tea. Stir well, adding aromatic bitters until a cinnamon spice is evident, then add large chunks of ice to the mixture to dilute and chill. Garnish with edible flowers such as orchids. Ladle and serve over ice in old fashioned-sized glasses with ice.
NOTE: If you cannot find hibiscus flowers, there is a fantastic tea by TAZO called Passion®, which has orange peel and rose hips as well. This makes for an excellent substitute.
Azuñia would like to thank Aaron for sharing these seasonal drink rituals with all of us. To learn more about Aaron’s bar, Little Rituals, and to read his full biography, please read on.
Our “Home is Where the Heart Is” competition sought the stories and flavors of tradition expressed in a cocktail. We asked for expert mixologists to show us the flavors, memories, and traditions of their hometown, reflecting their roots, home, and the traditions that make it special. And the entrants answered our call.
On December 10th, the Elite 8 competitors gathered at Mi Corazon in Los Angeles to mix their drinks and to tell the story that inspired it. Clare Ward, of Hippo LA, walked away with the Grand Prize pack including a SaloonBox Cocktail feature, a Licensed to Distill video feature, and a $500 VISA gift card. In second place, taking home a $250 VISA gift card and a bottle of Azuñia Black, was Mike Nardelli of Toca Madera. Rounding out the top slots, were Sherwood Souzankari of Bar Tiki Tiki, and Christopher Barragan of Petit Trois Le Valley, who impressively tied for third, each taking home $100 VISA gift cards and bottles of Azuñia Black.
A Big Thank You to Our Judges
This cocktail contest wouldn’t have been possible without our fantastic industry experts, Charity Johnston, Beverage Director for the Madera Group, Charles Lew, Restaurateur, and Aida Mollenkamp, founder of Salt and Wind Travel. They lent their expertise – and refined palettes – to determine the winners based on visual appeal, creativity, and of course, taste.
“That’s a Perfect Mix!”
Steve Hytner, host of “That’s Gold” podcast, stopped by to talk all things tequila and interview the contestants. Relive the revelry with Steve and Rich on their episode “That’s a Perfect Mix!“
Introducing the Elite 8
Our cocktail contest finalists created 8 very inspired drinks and told heartfelt and meaningful stories through their drinks.
Here are there Elite 8 finalists and their cocktails, in order of competition appearance.
Chad Austin – Lono / Instagram: @ChaddAustin
Growing up in the California desert and spending much of my time with friends, their families took me in like their own, and I got to experience a lot of great Mexican culture. As a young fat kid, Sundays at the raspado shop was my favorite.
Home to me both has to speak to the ingredients of my ethnicity and what I experienced as a child. I feel you can’t describe “home” without what your parents gave you growing up, and those ingredients will best bring back nostalgic feelings of home after the years you spent away from it. My cocktail is based off hot chocolate. Though possibly terribly made from my parents, it is core to what I associate to the warmth of “home.” Also, for my ethnic twist, I’m going with Szechuan peppercorns. Spice in spiked hot chocolates isn’t uncommon, but I feel I can elevate that idea to a higher level with Chinese spices.
2.0 oz Thai Chili Infused Azuñia Reposado Organic Tequila*
One of the best family stories centers around my Great, Great Grandmother Petra. Even into her 100’s she would take a shot of Tequila and start stomping her feet from the wheelchair when the music started. The family would say, “mira su zapateando” (look at her stomping). After her second shot, she would rise and dance!
The second part of this cocktail inspiration centers around my Grandmother Nina, Petra’s Granddaughter. Granny, my endearment for Nina, would often take me into Old San Fernando for various treats. On hot days, we would seek out a Raspado or Snow Cone. During one of these trips, I asked about a peculiar candy on the shelf. She explained it was a Tamarindo Candy Spiced with Chili Pepper. I couldn’t fathom a candy with spice, but I was intrigued. It shocked and disgusted me. I pondered the unique flavor for weeks, and upon our return, I asked for another candy. She snapped at me, saying, “you spit out the last one,” I told her this time would be different… I have been hooked ever since!
Zapateando (The Stomping)
2.0 oz Azuñia Reposado Organic Tequila
.50 oz Hibiscus Infused Combier*
.50 oz Blood Orange Juice
.75 oz Lime Juice
.75 oz Arbol Chili Tamarindo Syrup**
Tajin for a Crusta Rim
Espelette Spiced Candied Blood Orange***
In a mixing tin, add all liquid ingredients and shake for proper dilution.
Double strain into a Tajin Crusted Double Old Fashioned Glass with hand-cut ice.
Garnish with the Spiced Candied Blood Orange
*Hibiscus Infused Combier:
Steep 1/2 cup Hibiscus with 375ml of Combier for 2 hours. Strain and set aside.
Boil water and dissolve sugar. Lower heat to simmer and add Pods. Allow softening for 45 minutes. Strain out undissolved pieces and return liquid to a low simmer. Add Arbol Chiles and simmer for 10-15 minutes and check for a medium Scovel heat level. Strain and set aside.
***Candied Blood Orange Garnish:
0.25 inch Blood Orange Slices, 1 cup water, 1 cup cane sugar, Espelette Pepper. Boil water and dissolve sugar.
Lower heat and simmer with sliced blood oranges for 45 minutes. Stir gently so as not to ruin fibers of the oranges. Remove and place in warm area to air dry overnight with a light cane sugar dusting and a pinch of Espelette Pepper.
To me, home is where I learned to love hospitality, coming from a middle eastern household, there’s a lot of emphasis on treating people who come into your home correctly, almost as if it is their house. That being said, growing up I watched my parents host many many times inviting people into our house and bringing out either tea, or a bowl of fruit, or pastries, for them to enjoy while conversing. That being said, I heavily relied on my experiences as a child and a palate that’s heavily reliant on middle eastern flavors to create my cocktail.
An Open Door
1.5 oz Azuñia Blanco Organic Tequila
.75 Persian Black Tea/Orange Blossom Syrup*
.50 Lemon Juice
1 Small Egg White
Combine all listed ingredients above in shaker tin.
Add ice and hard shake for 10 seconds.
Strain out ice.
Continue shaking to whip egg white inside a cocktail shaker.
Fine strain into tea glass.
Apply orange oils from peel to top of the cocktail and serve alongside an orange slice.
* Persian Black Tea/Orange Blossom Syrup*: Combine 1 tablespoon of black tea and 2 dashes of orange blossom water with 8 ounces of boiling water, allow to steep for 25 minutes. Strain liquid and add 8 ounces of sugar to create a 1:1 syrup.
Mike Nardelli – Toca Madera (2nd place) / Instagram: @mikenardelli17
When I think of flavors that remind me of home, I think of biking to my local corner store in New Jersey after school and getting Lemon Lime Italian ice. I wanted to create a cocktail that had the nostalgia of my roots on the east coast with a nod to my Italian heritage by adding basil because there has never been a shortage of basil in any home I’ve lived in. Pimm’s represents the endless summer, paying homage to my life in Los Angeles.
I incorporated my two favorite drinks of choice, Tequila, and Wine. Azuñia is a special brand to me since they use organic farming practices and I thought what could be better than pairing it with one of my favorite Organic reds, Chateau Moya, an old world wine with a new world flavor profile from Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux. The Chia seeds represent my growth wherever I am planted I am able to establish roots. All of the ingredients mentioned are things that can always be found in my home wherever that may be and undoubtedly where my heart is.
Louisville, Kentucky despite being a reasonably large city rarely makes national news. Except for one day every year. Kentucky Derby Day. The nation tunes in to watch ‘the most exciting two minutes in sports’ and take part in the fanfare. Most people don’t know that There is a 2-week long festival leading up to the race which brings together everyone in the community to participate in one big party. Whether it be watching fireworks, or the steamboats race, going to the chow wagon down at the river, or going to the Pegasus parade to see the marching bands, people from all over the city and the state come together to have a good time and celebrate our favorite time of the year.
Everyone consumes “Derby Pie,” and everyone’s mom and grandmother have a recipe they hold dear. It’s a fairly simple dish, a chocolate and walnut pie loaded with butter. But nothing takes me back to all the memories with friend and family over the years quite like the sweet buttery chocolatey taste. The Azuñia Reposado is the perfect canvas with its caramel, vanilla, and butterscotch notes. To achieve the buttery, creamy texture I made a “Derby Pie Cordial” with softened butter, brown sugar syrup and allspice. A bit of Nocino, a liqueur made from walnuts and orange and lime juice to balance out the sweet. This drink reminds me not just of my family but my whole community and the joy of the time of year that Derby Season brings.
Pour over crushed ice in Classic Pearl Diver Glass.
Garnish with Small Rose and Mint Bouquet.
*To Make Derby Pie Mix:
1 oz melted chocolate, 1 oz softened butter, 1/2 oz brown sugar syrup, 1/4 oz allspice.
Whip all ingredients together until smooth.
Austin Buscher – Viva Madrid / Instagram: @gentlemanandaballer
The smell of fresh-cut pasture grass always reminds me of the farm I grew up on in Illinois. The slightly sweet, slightly bitter smells of cut grass immediately bring back memories of being younger in the middle of summer and helping my dad and neighbor bring in the hay. I tried to emulate this smell by incorporating fresh watermelon and paprika.
It’s a weird combination, but something about the matrixing effect of these two smells always takes me right back to the family farm, listening to cicada’s hum and hearing the drone of a hay mower in our back pasture. If you’ve ever been to Tom Sawyer’s Island in Disneyland, they do a fantastic job of piping in this smell to recreate the experience of being on a Midwestern farm in the summer. I think that Azuñia Reposado does a great job of starting to re-create this experience, and I tried to encapsulate the whole sensory feeling of being on the farm where I grew up in a glass.
2.0 oz. Azuñia Reposado Organic Tequila
0.75 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
0.75 oz. Paprika Syrup*
4 bar spoons (about 2 oz.) fresh-cut watermelon cubes or spears
Spritz of orange blossom water
Lime peel garnish
Add all ingredients to a Boston shaker except for the orange blossom water.
Muddle the watermelon into the liquid ingredients.
Shake for about 20 seconds.
Spritz the inside of a chilled daiquiri glass with orange blossom water.
Strain the cocktail through both a Hawthorne and a tea strainer into the prepared glass.
Garnish with a fresh lime peel cut to look like blades of grass.
* To make the paprika syrup, set 500 grams granulated sugar and 500 mL water on the stove top. Simmer until clear. Add 2 tablespoons of paprika (about 20 grams), 1 teaspoon of dried marjoram, and 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper. Simmer (but don’t boil) for about 15 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. Take away from heat and let sit for about 20 minutes. Strain through a tea strainer to remove spices.
Ramon Aguirre – Nuno’s Bistro & Bar
Growing up in my hometown of Puerto Vallarta my mom made homemade jarabes from the tropical fruit in our backyard. One day I was tired of picking fruit, helping her and taking the jarabes to the local paletaria (ice cream shops) and she told me “one day you’ll thank me for teaching you how to make the jarabes.” As a tribute to her and what she tough me, I call this cocktail La Reyna del Sur.
Azuñia would like to thank Mi Corazon Mexican Restaurant for hosting this exciting event. Their bartenders created a delicious drink menu worthy of a prize. And the food was phenomenal, as well. Thank you for taking such great care of the Azuñia family. If you’re in the LA area, please stop by and give them some love.
To bring our line up of single-estate tequilas home, visit our Where to Buy page.
Eco-friendly cocktails have arrived in bars near you. We’ve teamed up with Fox Restaurant Concepts to bring a featured drink, the Rhubarbe Paloma, to The Henry in LA and Phoenix. As partners in our #NoPlasticStraws365 campaign, Beverage Director, Mat Snapp creatively curated the fruity libation to be served with a reusable and recyclable metal straw for you to take home. The Henry locations in Phoenix and Los Angeles will be giving away 2,000 of the metal straws to customers who order this featured cocktail, while supplies last.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to partner with Fox Restaurant Concepts in such a fun and engaging program for the consumer”, said Azuñia Tequila Managing Director Joe Giansante. “Producing organic, sustainably farmed tequila is extremely difficult and rare – but in doing so we ensure an authentic product and timeless brand for our customers. Partnering with a company like Fox Restaurant Concepts on a reusable straw cocktail is a natural for us given their engagement in the communities they serve and our collective ‘best in class’ practices when it comes to pure, fresh, real ingredients and extreme care in the overall process.
Azuñia’s Reposado was recently awarded the “Best in the World” designation with a Double Gold at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Consistent with the organic and sustainable process, Azuñia launched its “No Plastic Straws 365” campaign in August to engage consumers in a fun and easy program challenging individuals to make a simple change that collectively would make a significant impact on unneeded plastic waste. FRC already offers sustainable straw alternatives – such as biodegradable corn-based straws at all of their concepts.
Snapp, who has led the beverage program for 7 years as part of his 14-year tenure with FRC, curated the “Rhubarbe Paloma,” to be the featured cocktail for the campaign. The Paloma-inspired beverage is the ideal drink to represent both Azuñia and FRC’s commitment to sustainability. The effervescent cocktail uses fresh and organic ingredients and comes with the Azuñia reusable metal straw for guests to take home. The straws are best used by carrying in a purse or in the car for daily consumption of any beverages. It is believed the American consumer uses an average of roughly 600 plastic straws per year. 2000 consumers taking the pledge would amount to the reduction of as many as 1,200,000 plastic straws, annually.
The promotion, beginning September 22, 2018, is available at The Henryin Los Angeles, CA and Phoenix, AZ. It will run through December or until supplies last.
To make the Rhubarbe Paloma at home:
1.5 oz Azuñia Organic Blanco Tequila
2 dashes Grapefruit Bitters
.75 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
.5 oz Giffard Rhubarb Liqueur
1 Lime wedge
Splash Organic Club Soda
Hibiscus Salt for Garnish (25:1 Salt: Hibiscus Powder)
Moisten the rim of a Collins glass with the lime wedge and salt the rim with hibiscus salt.
Fill with ice.
Add all ingredients.
Top off with a splash of club soda.
Serve with a sustainable straw, such as metal.
If you aren’t in the LA or Phoenix areas, you can still participate. To get your straw, take Azuñia’s No Plastic Straws 365 challenge. The first 500 people to sign the pledge will receive a bent metal straw made from incredibly durable, smooth, non-allergenic food-grade stainless steel.
On average, U.S. Consumers use as many as 500,000,000 plastic straws daily.
We think we can do better – together! Join Azuñia Tequila, other leading beverage brands, bartenders, and friends and be a part of a small change that can lead to extraordinary results.
Why say “no plastic straws?”
Currently, an estimated 100,000 marine mammals, and many more thousands of sea turtles, fish, and birds, die from plastic debris each year.
The amount of plastic in the oceans can cover almost 500 million square miles and is growing.
Accept the challenge, and say “no plastic straws” every day for the next year to act against plastic pollution, one straw at a time! *
We can all make a difference.
At Azuñia Tequila, we’re proud to produce USDA-Organic products without chemicals or additives and have a deep heritage of sustainable farming. We honor that heritage by doing our best to connect our values to yours. In keeping with our commitment to our artisan and honest process, we’re leading this initiative, with the hope of reducing millions of plastic straws that are thrown away across the U.S. every day by encouraging people to choose to make a small change.
Stainless steel straws are a great reusable, recyclable alternative to plastic straws*.
Take the #noplasticstraws365 challenge.
Twenty-one million and counting! Together, that’s how many plastic straws we’ve pledged to eliminate from our landfills and oceans. We hope you feel as good as we do about this because, without your participation, we couldn’t have made such a positive impact!
Not only have we reached our initial goal – we blew right past it! Thank you! We’ve already sent out over 1,000 Azuñia Tequila re-usable, recyclable stainless steel straws to the first people who signed up for the challenge. And we will continue sending out hundreds more of the environmentally-friendly straws as randomly selected from those who signed up after we met our initial goal.
We can’t thank you enough for your thoughtful participation in this challenge! Keep an eye out on social for more ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
Accept our #noplasticstraws365 challenge by clicking “Take the Challenge.” Your action will encourage others around you to join in! Together we can reduce the unnecessary build-up of billions of straws in landfills and the ocean.
While supplies last. We ship within the U.S. only at this time.
Download and Share the Challenge.
Share the #noplasticstraws365 challenge with your friends! It’s an easy way to multiply our impact.
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Are you with a bar, restaurant or brand who believes we can do better? Find out how to partner with us to bring the No Plastic Straws 365 challenge to your establishment.
We know many of our friends in the disability community require a straw to drink, and we are sensitive to this. Our program is voluntary, and we’ve ensured our partners have straw options available for everyone. We are also committed to providing a reusable, recyclable bent metal straw to any person with a disability, should they want one, by contacting us at [email protected]
Running total! Updated Weekly.
21,474,320 Less Straws*
*Azuñia Tequila’s #noplasticstraws365 seeks to reduce the number of single-use plastic straws. On average, every person in the U.S. uses 620 plastic straws per year. That’s 620 fewer straws for every one person who accepts the #noplasticstraws365 challenge.
Tequila has been rooted in Mexican culture for centuries. Its origins date back to the 1600s when mass production of the distilled spirit began. Tequila production and its reputation have evolved a lot over the past 400-plus years. As with much pre-internet history, misinformation is often perpetuated. While truth-seekers piece together tequila history, we want to delineate between fact and fiction when it comes to our favorite distilled spirit by debunking 7 of the biggest tequila myths.
Tequila Myth #1 – Tequila makes you crazy.
One of the most common tequila myths we need to debunk is the unfounded idea that tequila makes you misbehave. The hard-cold truth is that it’s not the tequila making you crazy. The setting, your mood, and sugar have more influence on how wild your night gets than the actual tequila. By choosing a premium, organic tequila and using fresh, seasonal ingredients you can avoid one of these triggers.
Tequila Myth #2 – Tequila is made from cactus.
Agave may look like a cactus, with its spiny leaves and all, but, despite the rumors, it’s not. Succulent, yes. Cactus, no. Not to mention, they are actually part of the asparagus family. With over 130 species of agave native to Mexico, Weber Blue Agave was selected as the source of distilled spirits for its high natural sugar content and short maturity time. As a bonus, it’s also breathtakingly beautiful, relatively hearty, and drought-tolerant.
Tequila Myth #3 – All Tequila is created equal.
The label may say “tequila,” but that doesn’t mean it’s premium or distilled from Weber Blue agave. Unless the label reads “100% Blue Agave”, we recommend putting that bottle back on the shelf. Anything less than 100 percent blue agave is a “mixto,” which can add up to 49% of fermented cane sugar, the ingredient that adds to the likelihood of a hangover.
Mixto is a cheaper, less flavorful version of tequila and contains food dye to give it its golden hue. This mix of artificial coloring and higher sugar content is a certified headache-maker. Also, please pass on the bottle with the worm. The creepy crawler is butterfly larvae and serves no purpose other than a marketing ploy. Tequila brands started adding the worm in the 1950s to lure consumers to pick one tequila over another. Authentic tequila has been produced for over 400 years with no worm.
Tequila Myth #4 – Tequila is the only drink of Mexico.
Tequila may be the most popular of the agave drinks, but it’s not the one and only. The rising popularity of Mezcal, tequila’s smokier cousin, is vying for coveted space in the alcohol market. This is for a good reason. Mezcal can make a delicious cocktail, particularly when mixed with authentic tequila.
Agave drinks expand even beyond tequila and Mezcal. There are several alcohols made from the bountiful agave in the vast lands of Mexico. Pulque is undeniably the original agave drink of Mexico as it dates all the way back to the Pre-Hispanic period. This “agave wine” also known as Pulque is the fermented juice of the plant and was reserved only for a particular class of people. Pulque, Sotol, and Raicilla may not have the contemporary reach of tequila or mezcal, but they all have an integral role in the history of Mexican agave drinks.
Tequila Myth #5 – Margaritas are the original and only tequila cocktail.
We don’t have to go too far to dispel #5 in our tequila myths countdown. While people are always searching for the best authentic margarita recipe, they’ll also come across tequila mules, Añejo old fashioneds and original craft tequila cocktails like the Spanish Daisy. As far as the margarita being “the OG” tequila cocktail, the not-so-straightforward history of the margarita will tell you that it actually evolved from “The Daisy.” But despite your newfound knowledge, we bet you don’t love the margarita any less. It’s refreshing, delicious and when you have a simple margarita recipe to start from, it can be endlessly inventive. Add your own local, seasonal ingredients to enjoy one any time.
Tequila Myth #6 – You can only serve tequila with salt and lime.
Lime isn’t the only pulpy fruit to squeeze into your tequila. We love lemons to enhance the flavor of our tequila, too. Or take it another step further and try a Sangrita. Not to be confused with Sangria, Sangrita is served alongside premium tequilas. Try one of our favorite Sangrita recipes made with seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. Better yet, try them all to make sure to dispel this myth.
Tequila Myth #7 – If it’s gold, it’s got to be good.
Gold jewelry and gold medals are “the best” as it pertains to gold. However, gold tequila is not. Big tequila companies often add food coloring to get that “signature” yellow color, tricking you into believing it is top shelf tequila. More often than not though, it’s a mixto tequila and therefore not worth adding to your bar.
The distinct amber color of an authentic premium tequila like Azuñia comes from the aging process. Blanco tequila is not aged, and therefore clear. We age our Reposado and Añejo up to eight months and eighteen months, respectively, in American Oak barrels, to give them varied amber colors that darken depending on time spent in the barrels. An extra-aged Añejo like our Black is rested 2 years in American Oak resulting in a deep amber color, the embodiment of its richness and sophistication.
Pic: Public 74
Just Call Us the Tequila Myth Busters
Have another tequila myth to bust? Let us know. Our primary job is to create honestly authentic tequila. And we hope that in doing so, we can also impart a little tequila knowledge.
There is something extraordinary about this time of year, and if it were up to us, summer would last all year long.
The days are longer. The sun is warmer. The water looks a little bluer. And the drinks are just better. We’re not saying the drinks you enjoy in any other season aren’t phenomenal. But, cocktails that embody an eternal summer are downright fun.
How can you not smile a little wider when you sit poolside with a tequila tiki drink in hand? That’s right, “tequila tiki drinks.” It’s not just rum (and a tiki mug) that makes a tiki drink.
It’s Not All About that Rum in Tequila Tiki Drinks
It seems like rum’s always been number one when it comes to tiki cocktails. Admittedly, it’s the spirit most typical of the island-inspired drinks. But it’s not the only one.
Gin makes an appearance in several traditional tiki drinks like the Rangoon Gimlet, the Suffering Bastard, and the Saturn.
Vodka shines in the most popular vodka tiki drink, the Chi Chi. And while we can appreciate the beauty and deliciousness of gin, vodka, and whiskey tiki drinks, it’s tequila tiki drinks that are the star of this story.
These are a Few of Our Favorite Tequila Tiki Drinks
The devil is in the details in this tequila tiki drink. A tempting mix of Reposado tequila, crème de cassis, lime juice, and ginger beer, the El Diablo is a traditional drink that deserves to fill any tiki mug.
Make the El Diablo:
1.50 oz Azuñia Reposado Organic Tequila
0.50 oz Crème de Cassis
0.50 oz Fresh Lime Juice
2–3 oz Ginger Beer
Combine all ingredients, except ginger beer, in a shaker and shake.
Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass.
Top with ginger beer
Garnish with lime wedge, fresh blackberries, and candied ginger.
Vicious Virgin #2
A quintessential blue tiki drink, the Vicious Virgin #2 proves that you shouldn’t judge a drink by its color. It’s a spirited blend of fresh citrus, BG Reynolds’ Orgeat, Blue Curaçao, rum, and blanco tequila. Be mindful, with that boozy mix; it’s a cocktail that bites.
Make the Vicious Virgin #2:
0.75 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1.50 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
0.50 oz B.G. Reynolds’ Orgeat
0.25 oz Blue Curaçao
0.75 oz Light Rum
0.75 oz Azuñia Blanco Organic Tequila
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake.
Strain into a rocks glass.
Garnish with fresh citrus slices.
The Margarita’s Polynesian cousin, the Yellow Boxer, is a delightful tiki drink perfect for batching for your next pool party. Mixing tequila, fresh citrus, and BG Reynolds Lime Cordial with crushed ice makes it just like the boozy snow-cone you’ve always wished existed.
Make the Tequila Boxer:
1.50 oz Azuñia Blanco Organic Tequila
0.75 oz Each Fresh Orange and Lemon Juices
0.75 oz BG Reynolds Lime Cordial
8 oz Crushed Ice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake.
Pour into a rocks glass and top with more crushed ice.
Garnish with fresh citrus slices.
Trader Vic’s Matador Trader Vic’s Matador is the simplest tequila tiki drinks on our list. With only three ingredients, Blanco or Reposado tequila, pineapple juice, and lime juice, it is quite possibly the best one to consume under a large umbrella (with a tiny umbrella) on a hot summer day.
Make Trader Vic’s Matador:
2 oz Azuñia Blanco or Reposado Organic Tequila
3 oz Pineapple Juice
0.50 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake.
Strain into a rocks glass.
Garnish with fresh citrus slices
Just Add a Tequila Tiki Drink Maestro
Now you have all of the ingredients you need for an eternal summer celebration. Invite some friends over, batch a refreshing tequila tiki cocktail, then relax, sit back, tiki and chill.
And if you’re lucky enough to be joining us in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail 2108, hit up our poolside event with American Beverage Marketers – “We’re more than just Diablos & Sunrises: Tequila in a Tiki Oasis”. World famous bartender, Jason Asher, will be mixing up drinks and talking all things tiki at the Hotel Monteleone rooftop pool.
Jason, a Scottsdale, Arizona-native, began his career working in restaurants throughout high school and college. His trajectory from bartender to mixologist crossed California and Arizona. In 2010, Jason won the prestigious GQ Bombay Sapphire’s “Most Inspired Bartender” nationally. He has been featured in numerous national publications, including Esquire, Imbibe, Tasting Panel, Food & Wine, GQ, and Saveur. In April 2013, Jason was awarded “Top 100 Culinary Trendsetters” by the Scottsdale Culinary Festival. He is an owner of Barter & Shake Hospitality Group, which and manages Arizona-based Century Grand Cocktails + Dining and Tiki Speakeasy-esque Undertow.
What a year it’s been! And it’s only the first week of May!
First, we announced a new partnership with Total Beverage Solution that expands distribution of our tequila to the East Coast. And now we struck DOUBLE GOLD at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC). Our premium estate-crafted organic Reposado led the SFWSC awards with “Double Gold – World’s Best” designation. AzuñiaReposado is expertly made with USDA-certified organic, 100-percent Weber Blue Agave. It’s then rested for eight months in American Oak barrels. Presented to the few entries that receive Gold Medal ratings by each of the 48-member judging panel, Double Gold is the highest honor.
Silver medals winners include our organic Blanco, a pure, un-aged tequila that offers a clean floral nose with hints of agave and lemon. Also awarded Silver is our Añejo, aged eighteen months in scraped and fired American Oak barrels for hints of vanilla and caramel. Rounding out Silver winners was our Azuñia Black – a premium extra-aged, double-barreled special reserve Añejo for the tequila aficionado.
A Truly Noteworthy Win
Our offices are still buzzing from the news. Over 2,200 brands entered their spirits at the SFWSC awards. These entries represent the highest number of entries in the 18-year history of the competition. Over 45 experts in the industry, including acclaimed critics, mixologists, and restaurateurs blind-judged each expression individually.
“We are thrilled to be awarded Double Gold at the world’s most respected and acclaimed spirits competition,” said Joe Giansante, managing director. “The entire Azuñia team takes immense pride in not only providing a premium tequila to our customers – but also one that is sustainably farmed, organic, and true to the heritage and traditions of the Tequila Valley region where our agave grows today. It is especially gratifying to be able to honor our partners at Rancho Miravalle in Amatitán, Mexico, where so many work tirelessly and meticulously to farm the best agave and make the best tequila in the world.”
Pic: The Cocktail Portal
SFWSC Awards Aren’t the Only Awards We’ve Won
Our multi-award winning organic Reposado is exceptional for sipping or mixing in cocktails. Cultivated from 100-percent Weber Blue Agave, it is the essence of an honestly authentic tequila. The agave roasted thirty-six hours in traditional clay hornos, fermented naturally with wild-borne yeast. Our Reposado is twice distilled and rested for eight months in American Oak barrels. As with all Azuñiatequilas, no additives or chemicals are added to speed up the process. The light agave aroma, hints of butterscotch and wood, and slight vanilla finish make the organic Reposado stand out against its competition. Check out all of the medals our Reposado has earned over the years.
Pic: Element Shrub
Take Home the Winning Reposado
With so many cocktail options, our Reposado belongs on your home bar. Our partners at Liquorama.net have a perfectly appointed tequila set for you or the tequila lover in your life. Included in the gift set is a 750 ml bottle of Double Gold Reposado, a bottle of our 100% Weber Blue Agave Syrup, and a branded lime squeezer. Order one today. We can’t wait to see what award-winning cocktails you create.
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and Glendora, Calif. – April 16th, 2018 – Azuñia Tequila*, a premium, organic, estate-crafted tequila and exclusive U.S. export of Agaveros Unidos de Amatitán has formed an alliance with Total Beverage Solution (TBS) of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina to manage the fast-growing brand’s national expansion throughout the U.S. Market. Through the arrangement, Total Beverage Solution will add all Azuñia products to their current robust inventory of brands for sale and distribution throughout the Midwestern, Southern and East Coast Markets.
“With Azuñia experiencing record growth in the West, and with increasing demand for our pure, authentic premium products, partnering with Total Beverage Solution to maximize a truly national presence was the next logical step in our nine-year evolution,” said Joe Giansante, Managing Director of Azuñia. “By working with an established and capable, full-service supplier like Total Beverage Solution, led by high character, industry veterans who share our beliefs and values, we are truly excited about the platform for growth and working with TBS to solidify our brand’s position as the leader in sustainably farmed, organic, authentic tequila.”
Azuñia’s U.S. distribution began in California and has since grown quickly to other western states including Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado. In the last two years, Azuñia has moved into Texas, and Florida and other states on a limited basis through a partnership with Landry’s, Inc. The partnership with TBS will expand the top shelf tequila’s availability to New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington D.C., the Mid-Atlantic states the South, Illinois, and the Midwest.
“We are excited to bring Azuñia’s high-quality tequila to our customers. Azuñia’s authenticity is evident in the flavor of its products, and we’re eager to add an Estate grown, organic tequila to our portfolio.” explained Dave Pardus, CEO of Total Beverage Solution.
The tequila brand offers four styles: USDA-Certified Organic Blanco, USDA-Certified Organic Reposado, Añejo, and Azuñia Black, its 2-year Extra Aged, Special Reserve Añejo. Each style showcases the crest of its second-generation, family-owned-and-operated Rancho Miravalle estate, which has created exceptional tequila for over 20 years on every label.
Azuñia joins other outstanding spirits in TBS’ portfolio, including cocktail essentials Amaro Montenegro, Select Aperitivo, Limoncello di Capri and Ron Abuelo. Azuñia tequila will soon be available nationwide through Total Beverage Solution’s distributing partners. For samples or more information contact [email protected]
About Azuñia Tequila
Azuñia is smooth, clean craft tequila with authentic flavor from the local terroir in every sip. It is the exclusive export of Agaveros Unidos de Amatitán and its second-generation, family-owned-and-operated Rancho Miravalle estate, which has created exceptional tequila for over 20 years. Made with 100% pure Weber Blue Agave grown in dedicated fields of the Jalisco Valley, we harvest by hand and roast the organic agave in traditional clay hornos to ensure authenticity and depth of flavor. We then finish with a natural, open-air fermentation process and bottle onsite in small batches using a consistent process to deliver field-to-bottle quality. For more info, please visit www.azunia.com.
Total Beverage Solution has earned a reputation for the company’s market expertise and proven sales results by creating value and demand for exceptional brands. Total Beverage Solution provides full-service front and back of house support dedicated to helping both foreign and domestic alcohol brands enter and navigate the US beverage market. For more visit: www.totalbeveragesolution.com