Milagro aims to change tequila’s sullied reputation
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Tequila has a bad reputation among liquors, one burnished by dozens of movies and even the enthusiastic participation of many of its producers. Daniel Schneeweiss thinks this is a shame, and along with his partner Moises Guindi, he’s trying to do something about it by bringing Milagro tequila into places where its popular image is to knock back shots of the drink like it’s a medicine whose sole purpose is to cure sobriety.
Tequila’s good name has been sullied, Danny says, by “mixto,” the drink that’s carried the name tequila here for generations, and whose closest equivalent would be some potent blended whisky sold by quantity, not quality. In Mexico City, where Schneeweiss grew up, you can find the stuff if you want it, but it’s a lot easier — and pleasurable — to sip a decent silver tequila, or an amber-tinted reposado made with the same care that goes into a single malt scotch. “If a company makes a good silver,” Schneeweiss says, “there’s a good chance that they make a good anejo or reposado.”
“What’s completely distorted by Mexican tourism spots is tequila,” says Arturo Anhalt, a boyhood friend of Schneeweiss’ from Mexico City whose Toronto restaurant — also called Milagro — carries a full line of tequilas. “People slam it, they get really drunk on it and they have a horrible experience with tequila. ... But no, tequila is made to sip, and made to enjoy.”
To that end, Milagro’s reposado is aged in Jack Daniels’ bourbon barrels. Tequila picks up the flavour of wood quickly, so the oak gives the drink a peppery flavour. The anejo, at the top of the regular line, is aged for 18 months in oak — six months more than Mexican bylaws stipulate as a minimum — and has the full woody taste scotch drinkers would appreciate.
It is, unfortunately, harder to find in Canada, but Schneeweiss hopes to change that soon and banish tequila’s grisly reputation forever.