Our featured tequila brand for the months of August and September is the colorful Olmeca Altos! Produced at Destileria Colonial de Jalisco in the town of Arandas, Altos uses only highland agaves to make their juice. Behind the brand are two very well respected gentlemen in the spirits world, particularly tequila of course – Jesus Hernandez and the late Henry Besant.
Jesus was born in Jalisco but moved to California, our home state, at a young age to become an architect. When the call of the agave came for him, he decided it was time to return to Arandas in 1994 to build the distillery and be a leader in the creation of the CRT. Jesus now acts as Maestro Tequilero for all Olmeca Altos products and is a wealth of knowledge, happy to share with us everything he knows when we get to see him. He loves riding ATVs through the agave fields and leading blind tastings to improve the tasting abilities of visitors from the industry.
The cocktail industry has been in a state of sadness and great loss since Mr. Besant passed away in March of 2013 at the young age of 40. Henry was a leader in the London cocktail industry and took that skill to unite bartenders and mixologists worldwise with the Worldwide Cocktail Club. After working with Olmeca to found the Altos brand, Besant created the Tahona Society, a 2 day bartender tequila education program, traveling world wide.
Tequila Olmeca Altos has distinct artisinal highland characteristics of bright pepper and citrus. The agaves are selectively harvested by jimadors, cooked in authentic stone clay ovens, and milled in the traditional tahona method. Well almost traditional – instead of pulling the stone with mules as many tequileros did in generations past, theirs is mechanically turned around and around in the pit. Then a proprietary strain of yeast, hand selected by Jesus, is added to the mosto to ferment and create a low percentage agave beer or wine. From here it is distilled twice and put directly into the bottle if meant to be a blanco, or rested for 8-10 months in barrels if it is a reposado!
Finally, we love Altos because they are our partners in raising funds for the UCSF Children’s Hospital each baseball season! 20% of all proceeds from our Mt. Diablo cocktail go directly to the kids! So come on in and drink up, it’s for a good cause!